Here is a dish that isn’t cooked quite as much now as it was back in the
1960’s, but could be a good standby when store cupboard basics are all you have
to hand.

To serve two people
You will need:

    3 large eggs.
  • 2 large, thick slices of either white or brown bread, weighing approx
    4 oz, 110g.
  • 3 or 4 small thick slices of lean cooked ham, weighing approx 3
    to 4 oz, 75 to 110 g.
  • 2 to 3 oz, 50 to 75 g, of mushrooms.
  • 3 sticks of celery,
    1 and a half oz, 40 g, of margarine.
  • 1 and a half oz, that’s one and a half rounded tbsps 40 g, of
    plain flour.
  • 3 quarters of a pint, 15 fl.oz, of milk,
    a little salt and pepper.
  • chopped fresh parsley to garnish.

Heat the oven to moderate, Gas Mark 4, 350 f, 180 c, 160 fan.

Grease a small, deep-sided ovenproof dish with a little butter or margarine.

  1. Wipe and break the mushrooms into small pieces.
  2. Wash then chop the celery into bite-sized chunks.
  3. remove the crusts from the bread by holding the corner of a slice between
    the thumb and first finger of one hand while gently supporting it with
    the other. Lightly pinch and peel back the crust, which should come away
    quite easily if you use your other fingers as a guide to make sure that not
    too much bread comes off too!
  4. Discard the crusts, then make the bread into crumbs, either
    by rubbing it through the coarse side of a grater with a plate underneath to
    catch the crumbs or by breaking it into small pieces and dropping it into
    a liquidizer, blender or food processor on high for a few seconds.
  5. Put the eggs into a medium sized saucepan, cover with cold water and
    bring to the boil. Do not cover the pan with a lid.
    Let the eggs bubble steadily until they are really hard-boiled which should
    take about twelve minutes. Just turn down the heat as the eggs come to
    the boil so that you can feel the handle of the pan vibrating and hear them
    bubbling gently.
  6. While the eggs are cooking, melt almost all the margarine, that’s 1 oz,
    25 g, in a small pan, add the mushroom and celery and cook slowly for
    10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent any sticking.
  7. Now blend the flour into the pan until its mixed in well, and
    cook gently for about half a minute.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the milk gradually, stirring all the
  9. Return the saucepan to the heat, bring it to the boil stirring it constantly,
    until you feel the sauce thickening, then turn down the heat to simmer. Add
    salt and pepper to taste then gently simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes
    to heat it through.
  10. Break the ham into small pieces and add them to the greased ovenproof dish.
  11. When the eggs are cooked, take the pan from the heat, put it
    into the bottom of your empty kitchen sink and let cold water run over it
    continually until the eggs are completely cool, for about 5 minutes.
    Then shell the eggs when they are cold, as the shell will come
    away much more cleanly and easily. Hold an egg, pointed end
    down and give it a sharp tap on your worktop, hopefully the shell will peel
    quite easily, taking the thin membrane below with it too, so that
    you are left with a completely smooth, shell free, egg.
  12. Slice them fairly thinly, either with a sharp knife, or a purpose
    made egg slicer and add to the ham in the ovenproof dish.
  13. Pour the sauce over the ham and eggs and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly
    over the top of the dish.
  14. Dot with the rest of the margarine and cook towards the top of
    the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes by which time the breadcrumb topping
    will be crunchy to touch and golden, and you should be able to hear the
    sauce sizzling.

As a variation, you can sprinkle a couple of ounces 50 g, of grated
cheese on top of the sauce before adding the breadcrumbs.

serve with a few chopped cherry tomatoes and garnish with chopped fresh parsley
if you wish.

This dish is ideal to have for supper.
Enjoy it,