Monday, September 27, 2010

Fishing for Compliments

Now that I've learned how to put photos on this site there is no stopping me. Sometimes I feel that almost anything will do a long as there is a picture to look at it. So yesterday decided to show how far one medium potato and one shallot could go (including in the first picture 'other things' that will be later mentioned).

You may remember that the other day I was photographing various empty jars and cans and suggesting various uses for these - even though they could legitimately go into the bin for 'cans' and the bin for 'glass' and not end up on a waste tip.
Forgot to show my 'flour sifter', this now seen above (with yellow lid). It is a small clear and solid plastic tub that once held something to do with cake-making (candied peel?). I heated a metal skewer and stuck it through the yellow plastic lid as many times as you can see (above) to make holes. When the tub is filled with flour, this is then able to be sifted through - as you can see from the forefront of the picture.
For this use it was necessary to push the skewer through from the underside of the lid to give a smooth finish so that the flour would fall through without being trapped by the rough edges of the plastic (now on the outside of the lid). If they were there just for ventilation, it wouldn't matter which side the holes were made.

I didn't need the flour when making supper, but it's there anyway just to show the effect when the tub is shaken. What I did wish to show was the medium potato and shallot used for supper - despite the small size, these - when sliced on the mandolin ( the veggies leaning on this) - it made quite enough to serve two..

The photo above shows the potato once it has been sliced (yes, all that from the one potato), with the shallot on the right of the picture. These were to be turned into 'potatoes dauphinoise', this dish normally cooked in the oven, but yesterday decided to cook them in a shallow pan on top of the hob (thus saving fuel) . A little double cream was poured into the pan, half the potatoes laid into the cream, slices overlapping. The shallot sprinkled in top, plenty of black pepper for seasoning, and the remaining potatoes again overlapped on top. A little more cream poured over and a glug of cold water, thenthe lid placed on. Left to simmer for a while - checked and found a little more water needed to be added - then lid replaced and cooked until the potatoes were tender and the cream almost absorbed (the water having evaporated). Grated Parmesan cheese was sprinkled over the top and popped under the grill to brown.
Served with hot poached salmon and green peas the 'dauphinoise' was much enjoyed by Beloved (he likes anything with cream). Myself just had the peas and potatoes, and have to say the spuds were very 'rich' in flavour, so did need plenty of seasoning (pepper) to offset this, but the creaminess would have complimented the salmon (which I didn't have) . Realise now that maybe some tartare sauce or horseradish cream could have been added to the cream before cooking to give the 'sauce' even more bite.

The mandolin is a very useful piece of equipment. I have had mine for umpteen years - just a cheap plastic one that had a spike-guard that could be pushed into whatever is being sliced - this protecting fingers (only that I have mislaid so have to be very careful). If buying a mandolin, always go for one that has a guard for the blades are so sharp they could easily slice into a finger. There are two sets of back plates with mine, and depending upon which is use you can get very thin slices, or some slightly thicker (the slices of potato shown were the thicker ones). Also - if the plates are turned round, the other sides will cut potatoes into chips, again thick or thin. Maybe newer mandolines can do much, much more. Mine being around 50 years old, it is pretty basic.

Eggy Bread and Beans: serves 2
1 egg
2 tblsp double cream
salt and pepper
1 x 450g can baked beans in tomato sauce
4 slices toasting bread (pref wholewheat)
2 oz (50g) or slightly less, grated cheese
salt and pepper
oil for frying
Beat the egg with the cream and add seasoning to taste. Heat the beans in a pan until hot and bubbling, then remove from heat.
Dip the bread into the beaten egg mixture and fry in a little hot oil in a frying pan until light gold on both sides. Remove and place on a grill pan, spooning over the hot beans and covering with the grated cheese. Grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melting and bubbling. Serve immediately.
variation: fry small button mushrooms and place over the beans before adding the cheese. Or spoon scrambled egg under the beans and cheese before grilling. Or do the lot if you wish for a more substantial meal. Served with a side salad the full monty would make a complete and very cheap meal for there is plenty of protein in the egg, beans and cheese, and carbos in the bread.