Gatto di patate

Gatto_di_patate

More comfort food – this time an Italian potato cake, based on a recipe in today’s Guardian, by Rachel Roddy. You get lovely warming, buttery, cheesy potato with a layer of melted, slightly chewy, cheese in between. I served mine with lightly cooked broccoli. Enough for four people.

  • 750g mashed potato (I baked some largish potatoes, and removed most of the cooked potato, so I could use the skins as a separate snack)
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • 35g butter
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml milk (or a mixture of milk and cream)
  • 80g provolone cheese (or mature gouda, or emmental)
  • 125g mozzarella ball
  • A little olive oil (to grease the baking dish)
  • 1 tbsp finely ground breadcrumbs

Mash the potato together with the parmesan, 25g of butter, grated nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Lightly beat together the eggs and the milk, and mix into the potato mixture.

Cut the provolone and mozzarella into small (0.5cm) cubes.

Grease the inside of an oven proof dish (I used a square earthenware dish about 21cm square) with the olive oil. Place half the potato in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with the cubed provolone and mozzarella. Place the remaining potato on top and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and dot with the remaining butter.

Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, at 180C (Gas Mark 4), or until the top is brown and crispy. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Potato and cheese dumpling topping

Potato_Dumplings.

If you’re after comfort food in this cold weather, here’s a quick recipe for topping a casserole or even a couple of tins of baked beans. My casserole was made from onions, garlic, chilli, celery, carrots, butternut squash and tinned tomatoes. But this would also suit a beef stew. I think chicken might be better without the cheese – in that case, I’d leave out the cheese and substitute double cream for the milk (to maintain the fat content), or use soft cheese instead of grated cheddar (and initially add less milk, so that the mixture is not too wet). Enough for 3 people:

  • 250g mashed potato made with 30g of butter
  • 120g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 60g finely grated cheddar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 90ml milk

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix in the grated cheese and parsley. Mix in the mashed potato using a fork until it is well integrated.

Heat the oven to 180C (Gas Mark 4). Your casserole or beans etc needs to be hot so heat on the hob or in the microwave if cold.

Mix the milk into the dumpling mixture, and using your hands, place golf ball sized pieces of dough on top of the casserole.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until the dumplings are risen and starting to brown.

Serve as it is – nothing more is required!

Cardamom rice pudding

This can be easily made in a microwave, which means you won’t have to scrape all the burnt bits off the cooking dish afterwards – enough for 4:Cardamom_Rice_Pudding

  • Seeds from 30 green cardamom pods finely ground
  • 70g pudding rice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pint milk

Mix all the ingredients together in a microwaveable (lidded) dish.

Bring to the boil (this took about 6 minutes at 900W).

Stir, and cook for about an an hour at 150W – stirring at 20 minute intervals.

Pour into a plastic storage container, allow to cool, and keep in the fridge before serving.

I served this with strawberries and orange segments, seasoned with black pepper.

Green chilli rarebit

Chilli_rarebite1

I also made chilli rarebit with large green chillies.

Enough for 2 people:

  • 2 large green chillies (deseeded and finely sliced)
  • 100g mature cheddar (finely grated)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 8 very small slices of rye bread (toasted)
  • Black pepper

Mash the chilli, cheese and milk together with a fork. Spread the mixture evenly over the slices of toast.

Grill until the cheese starts to brown. Dust with black pepper and serve.

Mash with kale and cheese

Kale&Brie_Mash_Tile

This is the ultimate in comfort food. The recipe is based on one from Waitrose Kitchen magazine for March 2015. This is a very simple dish, which can be eaten on its own. But it would also go well with poached eggs or sausages. Enough for 2 people:

  • 100ml milk
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 500g potatoes (peeled and cut into 2cm chunks)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 20g butter
  • black pepper
  • 100g shredded kale (with tough stalks removed)
  • 4 spring onions (cut into 2cm lengths, and split in half lengthways)
  • 50g brie (thinly sliced)
  • 20g cheddar (grated)

Heat the milk, to boiling, with the thyme. Cover, and leave to infuse.

In a saucepan, cover the potatoes, bay leaves and garlic with cold water. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain, remove the bay leaves, and return to the pan. Leave, uncovered, over a very low heat, for about 5 minutes, to dry the potatoes.

Mash together the potatoes, garlic, 10g of butter and the milk (having removed the thyme), and season with black pepper. Keep warm.

Heat the remaining butter in a large pan. Add the kale and spring onions and stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the kale is just about cooked. Stir in the mashed potato and the cheeses.

Serve.

 

Soda bread

Something based on an Irish recipe for St Patrick’s Day.

Soda_Bread_Tile1

This is adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth David in English Bread And Yeast Cookery. This amount makes one small loaf (enough for 4 people). It is an easy way of producing homemade bread in a short time.

Soda bread is leavened chemically – a much quicker alternative to yeast leavening, using the reaction of soda (an alkali) and yogurt and lemon juice (acid). It is essential to keep these two ingredients apart until you are ready to bake the bread.

  • 300g plain wholemeal flour
  • 3/5 of a level tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 140ml natural yogurt
  • 140ml milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Warm water (if the mixture is too dry)

Heat the oven to 230C (Gas Mark 8). You will also need a floured baking tray and large heatproof glass basin (to cover the loaf in the oven – this promotes a steamy atmosphere which helps the loaf to rise).

Sift the flour and soda together in a large mixing bowl.

In a jug, mix the yogurt, milk, lemon juice and olive oil.

Pour the liquid into the flour and mix as quickly as possible (add warm water if necessary – you need a dough which will stand up on its own, but which is not too crumbly).

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and form into a round, making it as high as possible.

Place on the floured baking tray, and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife.

Cover with the large heatproof glass basin and place in the oven for 30 minutes. It will be cooked when a skewer inserted into the loaf, comes out clean. If the loaf needs some further time to cook, remove the glass basin and return to the oven until cooked.

Allow to cool before serving. It’s delicious warm with butter. Freezes well, and can be revived in the microwave.

Served here with chicken liver paté.

 

Pea fritters with roast tomatoes and hot smoked salmon

This recipe is my adaptation of a recipe in Waitrose Kitchen magazine of February 2015. Serves 2:

For the roast tomatoes:

  • 8 small tomatoes (halved)Pea_Pancakes
  • Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Black pepper (a few ‘turns’)

For the fritters etc:

  • 100g frozen peas (defrosted – use the cheap peas for this recipe)
  • 2 spring onions
  • Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (for cooking)
  • 150g pack of kiln roasted salmon (flaked)
  • Soured cream

Place the tomatoes halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper. Shake together the thyme, garlic, sugar, oil, lemon juice and black pepper, in a small jar, and drizzle over the tomatoes. Roast at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for 20 to 25 minutes, until they start to char.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.

Place the peas, onions, mint, egg and milk in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Add this to the food processor. Once the mixture is smooth, spoon it into the frying pan to make 4 even fritters. Cook over a medium heat (2 minutes either side) until golden.

Serve with the tomatoes and the flaked salmon, with a dollop of soured cream.