Aside from the whole oven debacle, this has been a cooky sort of a month. It’s something inevitable about cold weather, dark evenings, and that feeling that you’ll never be warm again that comes from spending far too much time standing on train station platforms. It needs to be warm, it needs to be slightly mushy and have just a hint of the right sort of stodgy. And if at all possible it needs to be something that I can make the night before to be shoved in the oven by the first person through the door on work days. All of which means I’ve mostly been cooking our staples; stew, spaghettis carbonara and Bolognese, and anything that goes with mash. But there has been time for a little experimentation.
Enter Hachis Parmentier, The recipe you really should make, which, in complete contradiction of the title, is not from the internet, but from the Little Paris Kitchen cookbook.
Or as we call it in our house – stripy shepherds pie. It ticked all of the boxes; it tastes delicious, it was perfect to defrost frozen toes, and I’d not only made it the day before, but washed up the chopping board too.
I know the stripes look fiddly but there’s something rather satisfying about making them. The orange is roast butternut squash, mashed up, the cream is ordinary mashed potato and the green is coloured with a combination of finely chopped parsley and spinach. It was meant to be just parsley, but the dim light of my phone reflected onto my herb garden revealed only a passing approximation of a parsley plant. I’m not quite sure what happened to it as it used to be maurauding around the planter but alas, there were only a few fronds, enough to turn the mash that “apple white” so beloved of 80’s paint charts, but not really green. So spinach from the fridge it was, and the result is pleasantly verdant without making the whole dish taste spinachy.
We ate every last mouthful, which with a rather neophobic three year old, is somewhat of an achievement.
The slightly experimental recipe
The idea of no-knead bread is both intriguing and slightly disconcerting; I mean I like the kneading part of breadmaking, that’s what attracted me in the first place, well that and eating bread fresh from the oven dripping with butter, but kneading lets you pummel all of your frustrations out into the dough, and the more angst, the better it is.
But time is not always on my side, and tiny fingers filch the dough when I use the traditional method, so I thought I’d give this No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread recipe a whirl.
I started it before breakfast, and baked it after supper the same day, and it was delicious; very sourdough-esque without having to keep a little pet starter in the fridge and remember to feed it and revive it in time to make a loaf. Definitely one to repeat.
The recipe I googled 20 minutes before supper
Pork Escalopes with Lemon Butter sauce . It was one of those evenings when I just wanted to cook something new, and for this was Google invented. It’s the third recipe down if you Google Pork Escalopes, and the first where you’re likely to find all of the ingredients in my fridge and store cupboard on any given evening.
It is also crisp, lemoney, yummy, and quite fun to make with a tiny sous chef if you let her do the dipping in the egg/flour/breadcrumbs.
And for this week
Soup. Carrot and lentil soup. I’ve made a couple of prototypes at Kitty’s request and as she practically inhaled both versions so I think it might be worthy of a little write up; I just need some more carrots, and a sunny day to take some pictures for the recipe.