Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Potato Rosti for Breakfast (and not making a hash of it for once)

Come the morning on weekdays, I gulp down a smoothie, I'm never hungry first thing but if I don't eat, the lure of croissant perfume they pump out of M&S at Green Park will get me every time. Even if I remain strong I have to walk past an Eat and a Pret. So I am screwed if I don't eat before I leave the house. People look at me in horror when I tell them my breakfast smoothie contains a raw egg, my boss told me to try it and I've never looked back. Come the weekend however, there is generally a naughty lie in,  more time and often a little hangover to deal with. The weekend demands a fun breakfast, something you don't have time for during the week, something to kick off two days off in style. But who has the foresight to plan breakfast??! Generally not me, which is why we often end up with soft boiled eggs and soldiers which is a little bit fun, but not overly exciting.

I have been put off making rostis ever since I attempted it with a non-non-stick frying pan. It tasted ok but it was anything but a rosti. I tried again with a new pan and won. It couldn't be simpler. A load of grated spuds with a bit of onion thrown in for good measure, squished in a pan, fried to a crisp, with a poached egg lobbed on top. I mostly have spuds and eggs. No fancy ingredients needed for this one.

Feeds 2. Peel and grate two large potatoes, and one large onion. Put all your gratings into a clean tea towel and squeeze the hell out of it over the sink. Amazing how much liquid comes out. This, you do not want in your rosti, mainly because it won't be a rosti. When as dry as poss, mix in a bowl with plenty of seasoning. Heat plenty of olive oil in a NON STICK frying pan and divide the mix into four. Plop each on in the pan and squidge down with a spatula. After a few minutes have a careful, sneaky look at the underside, you want golden brown, not light brown or indeed dark brown. Flip over, cook the other side (add more oil if it's mostly been sucked up) and serve with a poached egg on top.

There are a multitude of ways to pimp this, just go for it with whatever you have in your fridge/cupboard. I liked it simple. But with harissa on the side, obviously.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Surprise Indian Style Seabass

'On train home. Have you eaten yet? x' was the text I read as I stumbled out of the Bikram studio last night. Which really meant 'What's for dinner?'. Sweaty and tomato-like I had a 20 minute walk home to concoct a dinner plan, I had to use the sea bass fillets in the fridge and was going to roast them on potatoes with a bit of harissa to jazz them up. 'Eurgh. That sounds weird.' Said the Boyfriend, who spent the next 5 minutes hopefully suggesting curry. By the time I got home I had it sorted. Oven on, jump in shower, dress, rub a load of cubed potatoes and cauliflower with spices and roast, pan fry the fish with some more Indian bits and pieces, and bosh. No-one really wants to cook at 9pm knackered from a Bikram class but there wasn't really any choice, and it was really quick and easy, and I even got a 'That was really delicious!' from the Boyfriend, so that's why I'm sharing this recipe. I DONE A RECIPE ALL BY MYSELF!

Feeds two porkers. Pre-heat oven to 190c. Cube a couple of medium sized potatoes (don't bother peeling) into cubes no larger than 2cm and cut up a cauliflower into florets. Don't chuck the soft inner leaves, they're the best bits when they go all browned and crunchy. Slice two garlic cloves length-ways, not too thinly. That's important, otherwise they burn and go bitter. Put all this in a large baking tray and sprinkle over a teaspoon each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garam masala, half a teaspoon of tumeric and salt, one finely sliced red chili a generous glug of olive oil and mix well (hands are best, but then I still have yellow nails and look like I smoke 200 a day so use a spatula if you like). Roast for 20 minutes or so, turning a couple of times so it doesn't stick. You want it to the potatoes to be cooked through and the cauliflower a little browned but with a little bite still. Take two fillets of sea bass and rub with a mixture of the following: half a teaspoon of ground cumin, ground coriander and a pinch of salt and pepper. When the veg is just about ready, heat a non-stick frying pan, add a splash of oil and fry skin down for two or three minutes to make the skin nice and crispy. Turn over and cook for a further minute. Serve with the potatoes and cauliflower, a sprinkling of chopped coriander, and if like us, you need a bit of green, some cooked sliced cabbage tossed with a little fried garlic and mustard seeds.

This was one of those happy experiments that I will cook again. Not like my un-happy experiment the other day (a horrible mess of soggy noodles and cloying peanut butter which was so inedible it actually went in the bin).