Saturday, September 20, 2008

What the Future Brings

With a day such as this, brunch is always an option, so here are a few suggestions if you feel inclined to cook. The first recipe being a variation of Hash Browns, using parsnips or other seasonal root vegetable mixed in with the potato. They can be frozen, and also best served with a brunchy breakfast such as bacon, eggs and tomatoes.
Seasonal Hash Browns: makes 4 (F)
12 oz (350g) waxy potatoes (salad spuds such as Charlotte)
10 oz (275g) parsnips or turnips etc
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, beaten
seasoning to taste
3 tblsp sunflower oil
Peel the potatoes thinly, and coarsely grate. Do the same with the other chosen root vegetable. Mix together and place in the centre of a clean tea-towel, pick up ends of towel, twist round and squeeze as much of the liquid from the vegetables as possible. Then tip them into a bowl.
Stir in the onion, garlic, egg and seasoning (spice them up a bit if you wish), then divide into four and shape into flat cakes. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes for about 5 minutes on each side until golden and tender. If the pan is small, fry in two batches. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with grilled bacon and tomatoes, and fried or poached eggs.
to freeze: after cooking, cool then interleave with foil then bag up and freeze for up to a month. Reheat by unwrapping, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, brush surface with oil and bake from frozen at 190c, 375F, gas 5 for 15 minutes.

Not quite sure where to place this next dish. Has a leaning towards Mexican (tortillas), and although called tostadas if made into a sandwich with a tortilla either side of the filling (both sides heated - and served cut into wedges) it would then be called a quesadilla. In all truth the open tostada looks more like an Italian pizza, and if the filling was put on half the tortilla and the other half folder over (then turned so that both sides are heated), it would be almost a calzone. The filling has a resemblance to the our Ploughman's Lunch and am now beginning to wish I had never started analysing it in such depth. Better get on with the recipe and you decide how you would like to prepare it and suggest giving it a name chosen by yourself.Y
You name it Tostedas: makes 2
2 x 8" (20cm) flour tortillas
few drops olive oil
2 tblsp mild pickle or chutney (mango would be good)
5 oz (150g) cooked chicken or ham, shredded
4 oz (100g) grated hard cheese (cheddar etc)
2 spring onions, chopped
Brush one side of each tortilla with a little oil, then place oil side down on a baking tray. Spread with the pickle then scatter over the chosen meat and finish with a layer of cheese and onions. Bake for 8 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6. Serve cut into wedges and eat hot.
variation: to make quesadillas put the oiled side of the tortilla down on the base of a heated frying pan and spread the filling on top (in any order), place the second tortilla on the top, brush the surface of this with oil and when the cheese is beginning to melt, turn the lot over and cook for a few more minutes, then remove to a plate, cut into wedges and eat like a sarnie.
Note: small versions of this (still using flour tortillas) could probably be cooked in a sandwich toaster.

Time (as ever) is moving on too fast, so will leave you with one easy brunch recipe - although may have posted something similar a few months ago. As canned fish is used, sardines, pilchards, mackerel, salmon would also work.
Tuna Melts: serves 2 - 3
200g can tuna (any sort) drained
1 shallot or 3 spring onions, finely chopped
4 tblsp mayonnaise
3 slices granary or wholewheat bread (toasting thickness)
2 - 3 oz (50 - 75g) grated cheddar cheese
pinch paprika or ground black pepper (opt)
Flake the tuna and mix with the onion and mayo. Toast the bread under a grill, then spread on side with the tuna mixture, making sure it reaches to the edges. Scatter the cheese on top and return to the grill and cook until the cheese is melting and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with chosen pepper (if using), cut each toast in half and serve.