In One Good Meal, we ask cooking-inclined creative people to share the story behind a favorite dish they actually make and eat at home on a regular basis — and not just when they’re trying to impress.
Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffery met in 2011, when she was 19 and he was 23, while skiing in Canada; when she returned to Brisbane, Australia, and he to London, they started a long-distance romance. On Sundays, they would Skype. Because of the time difference, “one of us would always be in pajamas,” Jeffery says. The ritual caught on: When, years later, she graduated from university and moved in with Jeffery and his three roommates in London, Sundays became a kind of sacred lounge day, Goddard often wearing one of Jeffery’s button-up shirts instead of pajamas. “One day, Joel was like, ‘Enough,’” she says. So they went to Selfridges to see what other pajamas were available — and were surprised to find few styles they liked for under 400 pounds.
Thus the seed was planted for their now five-year-old brand, Desmond & Dempsey, which sells women’s, men’s and children’s cotton pajamas that are joyfully splashed with brightly colored, vaguely nostalgic prints and retail for $180 a set. After an exhaustive process of trial and error, Goddard and Jeffrey produced samples and opened a small online store in September 2014. “Mom bought one, Dad bought one,” Jeffery recalls. “But then it was super exciting when the first person we didn’t know bought a set.”
Jeffrey, now 32, and Goddard, 28, who married in 2016, often eat breakfast together at their Brixton apartment before walking to work. Goddard usually oversees the cooking, favoring a recipe she inherited from her mother, which she has lovingly dubbed “spiffy eggs.” She makes it regularly on Sunday mornings, and occasionally at the Desmond & Dempsey offices for the weekly lunch they have with their 10-person team. Not long after starting the company, “when we didn’t know what the rules were,” Goddard says, the couple invited an interested buyer from the department store Fortnum & Mason to their apartment and served her Goddard’s special eggs. It was an unconventional approach, but it worked — she picked up the brand.
For Goddard, the baked egg dish — which includes pumpkin, Parma ham and crumbled feta — is appealing not only because it is delicious and filling but also because it’s made in a single pot and easy to clean up. (Still, Jeffery jokes that when he cooks, he cleans up; when Goddard cooks, he still cleans up.) Below, the recipe for the dish, which lends a sense of occasion to a day of rest.
Molly Goddard’s Baked Eggs
1 large pumpkin (or butternut squash)
4-5 organic eggs
3 sprigs of rosemary
5 sprigs of thyme
5 oz. sheep’s milk feta
8 slices of Parma ham
3 teaspoons of flaky sea salt
A loaf of sourdough bread to serve
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the pumpkin into approx. 1-inch cubes, then place in a roasting tray and cover with the salt and rosemary. Cook for about 1.5 hours, or until the pumpkin is soft, with darkened edges. Remove and transfer into a ceramic baking dish.
3. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the pumpkin slightly to cover the base of the dish. Make four individual indentations, where the eggs will sit, in the corners of the dish. They should not touch.
4. Break the eggs into the indents.
5. Scatter the Parma ham around the dish evenly. It should be gathered in chunks between the pumpkin and eggs.
6. Crumble the feta over the top and sprinkle on the thyme.
7. Put the dish back in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
8. Smother the sourdough bread with butter and place under the grill until lightly browned. (“It always tastes better grilled than toasted,” says Goddard.) Serve the bread separately or place a scoop of the eggs and pumpkin on top.