PUT AN EGG ON IT Eggy recipes from the up­com­ing cook­book of Nikau Cafe’s Kelda Hains



BREAK­FAST SHIFTS are a killer – and I speak from ex­pe­ri­ence here. For a cou­ple of years in the early 2000s I worked at Nikau Gallery Cafe in Welling­ton; known for the ab­so­lute de­li­cious­ness of its break­fasts and es­pe­cially its egg dishes. Chef and co-owner Kelda Hains says eggs are an il­lus­tra­tion of the cafe’s ethos of mak­ing sim­ple, eth­i­cally sourced food, but to cook them well is chal­leng­ing as they re­quire a del­i­cate hand with tem­per­a­ture con­trol. And be­cause the food is pared back, it means there's noth­ing to hide be­hind, so the qual­ity of the in­gre­di­ents has to be paramount. Here Kelda has gen­er­ously shared a few of her recipes that are go­ing to fea­ture in the new Nikau cook­book.

Nikau Cafe is due out mid-Oc­to­ber and will, I be­lieve, have a le­gion of wait­ing fans who have been flock­ing to their doorstep for the last 19 years. And who wouldn’t be ex­cited, when there is a whole chap­ter devoted to the de­li­cious­ness of eggs…



A boiled egg is pow­er­ful – all by it­self, it can trans­form a salad into a meal. Try blanched, room tem­per­a­ture as­para­gus or green beans; cau­li­flower in vinai­grette; or roasted red pep­pers. This boiled egg salad is an­other step along the path to a sat­is­fy­ing meal. With the ad­di­tion of herbs and a dress­ing, and per­haps some well toasted sour­dough and some bit­ter greens, lunch is at hand. The dress­ing for this salad is made by adding vine­gar to cream. The acid­ity thick­ens the cream to a per­fect con­sis­tency. I find it a lighter and more in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tive to may­on­naise. Any vine­gar will work but I do find my­self reach­ing for my bot­tle of chardon­nay vine­gar more of­ten than not. Acidu­lated cream is also re­ally good on a cu­cum­ber salad, or with the crisp leaves of cos let­tuce.

1 tea­spoon vine­gar or shal­lot vine­gar ¼ cup cream 1 ta­ble­spoon salted capers 1 ta­ble­spoon chives, dill, tar­ragon, or pars­ley 4 x eight-minute boiled eggs toast and rocket to serve (op­tional)

Stir the vine­gar and a pinch of ground black pep­per into the cream, and set aside for 10 min­utes. The vine­gar will thicken the cream as it sits.

Rinse the capers, and soak them in cold wa­ter to re­move the salt. Drain, chop and add to the cream with any herbs you would like.

Peel and chop the eggs. Cut each in quar­ters, then across each quar­ter. Place in the bowl, on top of the dress­ing. Turn them gen­tly, once or twice, try­ing to avoid break­ing up the eggs too much. Serve on toast with rocket, if de­sired.

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