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.

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