Sunday, 29 November 2009

Fritatta with potato and cooked greens

Lunch in ten minutes. One potato, one hanful of leftover cooked greens, three eggs. Easy.

Chop a potato into small dice and fry in olive oil until golden over a low heat
Stir in a small hanful of cooked cabbage or sprout tops, or use raw spinach or rocket, and allow to heat through and season well
Add three eggs, lightly beaten. Although it seems counterintuitive if you beat the eggs too much the frittata will be tough. Pour over the eggs and mix quickly with the potato and sprout topsCook on the hob for a minute or two then cook th top by putting in under the grill for a minute more. This is just a good cold, and wonderful packed lunch food.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Butternut squash soup

I'm sorry I have neglected you of late, little blog. I have been horribly busy so either haven't had time to write posts, or haven't eaten anything worth writing about. Poached eggs on toast have become a staple of mine, along with the exciting variation of poached eggs on marmite toast, but I imagine you all know how to poach an eggs.

If you don't: slide egg into barely simmering water, cover and leave on the lowest possible heat for five minutes. You should also read what Delia has to say on them in How to Cook, in fact everything she has to say on eggs. There are some especially interesting parts on how an eggs changes as it becomes older, and what it can best be used for when it is really fresh, middling, and a few weeks old.

Beyond poached eggs I have totally fallen in love with this butternut squash soup. It's so intensely savoury it almost tastes meaty, but it doesn't even use chicken stock. I've recently discovered Kabocha squash and I imagine it would work just as well here.

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
Two cloves of garlic
A finger length piece of rosemary
1 scant tsp smoked paprika

Fry the onion gently in butter until it begins to turn translucent. While this is cooking chop the garlic and rosemary as finely as you can - you could use a garlic crusher but I don't think they're worth the hassle of washing up. Add this to the onion and cook until it smells fragrant, then stir in the paprika, cook for one minute then add the squash.

Cover with water and simmer until the squash collapses when you prod it with a wooden spoon, probably about fifteen minutes. Blizt with a stick blender (or any other sort of blender, or put it through a mouli if you prefer to do things traditionally). Eat, for lunch, for a late night snack, or even for breakfast.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak poses something of a dilemma to me. It is wonderful, and every time I eat it I vow to do so more often, but it also should be made from leftovers and I rarely have leftover cooked potatoes and cabbage.

True, it is possible to cook it from scratch but that just seems wrong, and also not in the spirit of what is a very good breakfast food. I don’t mind a bit of light cooking in the morning, I sometimes enjoy it, but peeling potatoes and cooking cabbage would be a step too far.

But this morning I found both the require ingredients, and it was clear what breakfast would be, although this is the sort of thing that works well at any time of day, particularly as a late night snack.

Heat a good layer of fat in a frying pan. I never tried but I think that in the same way that goose fat makes roast potatoes almost improbably crispy, it would do the same thing to the potatoes in bubble and squeak (does anyone know which is which?). The next best options are bacon fat (from frying a few rashers in the pan) or butte rand a drop of oil.

Squash the potatoes so that some of them are almost mashed and others are still in small pieces. Mix with roughly chopped cooked cabbage, a small handful of each per person. If the mixture is soft and sticky enough you can form it into a cake, if not, no matter (mine didn’t).

Place it in the sizzling fat, lowered to a medium heat and leave for at least there minutes or so to form a crust on the underside. If you’ve made one large patty then you can try and flip it over – good luck! If not just turn all the little bits over and let them brown on the other side.

Bubble and squeak was traditionally eaten with leftover roast meat, but is also very good with sausages, bacon or fried eggs. I like to fry eggs in a lot of oil – it acts a conductor of heat and it comes up towards the sides of the eggs then it makes the edges go brown and lacy. To cook the top of egg I spoon a bit of the fat over and then put a small saucepan lid over the whole egg for one minute. The heat then gathers underneath it and acts a bit like an oven to cook the top of the white.

Cut into the yolk and let it run through the crunchy and soft potatoes and cabbage. A bit of ketchup or chilli sauce can work well here and you must eat it with a cup of tea. If you’re really hungry or carb-loading, it’s rather good on toast.