Tag Archives: potato

Ain’t Potato the Sweetest Thing.

2 Oct

As you can see, I have an uncanny knack for appropriating song lyrics. A high point (or low, depending on which way you look at it) was when my flatmate and I changed the lyrics to ‘California Gurls’ (sic) by Katy Perry and instead made the song about California rolls. We even proposed taking it to our local sushi joint so they could frame it on the wall. Look, it made sense at the time.

So OK, I might not be destined for a lifelong career in lyric appropriation (if there is such a thing) but I can show you how to make a mean quiche. And ultimately that will take me further than wailing at the top of my lungs about how I know a place where the sushi’s really fresher.

Quiches are so easy and, in their most basic form, only take a matter of minutes to whip up. The extra bonus is that they stretch for days, making excellent cold lunches. I was lucky that I had the time to make my own pastry but by all means take the cheat’s way out and just use store-bought shortcrust. The filling can be chopped and changed according to what you like and what you can afford. Ham, chicken, cheese, herbs, tomatoes and various other vegetables make wonderful additions. And don’t do what I stupidly did and spend $2.50 on a single sweet potato – use pumpkin as a cheaper substitute.

I can assure you that this quiche is so good, the club can’t even handle it right now. I really don’t know what that means.

Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Quiche.

Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Quiche

Serves 3-4 (for days)

Pastry:

1 3/4 cups plain flour

125g chilled butter, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp iced water

Filling:

2 TBSP olive oil

500g sweet potato, peeled and diced (or pumpkin)

1 large brown onion, peeled and sliced into rings

1 tsp brown sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 TBSP dried mixed herbs

salt and pepper

1. In a large mixing bowl, rub together the butter, salt and flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add the water and combine to form a dough. You made need to add more water or flour, depending on the consistency of the dough. It should resemble play dough.

3. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. In a medium saucepan, place the sweet potato and enough water to cover it. Add a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil.

5. Remove the sweet potato from the heat when it is just cooked through and drain. Leave to cool.

6. In a medium fry pan, heat 1 TBSP of the olive oil.

7. Add the onions and fry until soft.

8. Add the sugar and keep frying until the onion caramelises. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

9. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a 22cm pie dish or tart tin.

10. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out until it’s big enough to cover the dish/tin.

11. Line the dish/tin with the pastry and place in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.

12. Whisk the eggs with the milk and herbs.

13. Add the cooled onion and season to taste.

14. Remove the pastry shell from the fridge and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

15. Remove from the oven and cover the pastry with the sweet potato. Then pour over the egg mixture.

16. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.

17. Serve.

Advertisements

Seriously Simple Soup.

30 Aug

When times get tough, soup is what’s called for. It’s nourishing, nutritional and tasty (I searched desperately for a synonym for ‘tasty’ starting with ‘n’ to keep the alliterative ball rolling but only thought of ‘nommy’, which probably doesn’t even exist and, if it did, would just be plain ridiculous. But anyway). There’s something comforting in a bowl of hot soup. Memories of bad days and general teen angst are brought back by the only cure all: my mother’s chicken and vegetable soup. Potato soup will forever remind me of my Ukrainian grandmother. Pumpkin soup will always conjure up the first time I made soup myself, as a naive 12-year-old who thought adding cheese was a good idea.

Following the bake-a-thon, which proved to be fantastically therapeutic, I decided to up the healing ante and make some chicken and corn soup for my dear flatmate. Admittedly I’ve always been wary of the stuff – finding the varieties available at local Chinese restaurants strangely comparable to glue. An excess of corn flour (and Lord knows what else) means I’m always left with that claggy mouth feeling and a bowl of unfinished gloop. But I decided to persevere, if only for the sake of household peace.

Searching through recipes for the soup, I was saddened to find that most of them contain bacon, shallots, sesame oil, ginger and chicken breast – things that, sure, probably make the dish undoubtedly delicious, but things that I certainly can’t afford for one lowly meal.

So we KISSed – and for all of you that know us, no, this does not put to rest those rumours – by Keeping It Simple, Stupid. We omitted pretty much everything and made it a very basic, but nevertheless flavoursome, dish. By all means add the aforementioned ingredients to make it even better but, if the only thing at your disposal is a few tins of corn and some low-grade meat, go with my option.

Chicken and Corn Soup.

Chicken and Corn Soup

Serves 2

2 chicken legs

1 400g tin of corn kernels

1 400g tin of creamed corn

2 cups of chicken stock

1 TBSP soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger powder (optional)

2 eggs (optional)

salt and pepper

1. Place the chicken legs on a roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast them for around 30 minutes in a 200C oven, turning occasionally for even browning.

3. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. In a large pot, place the corn kernels, creamed corn and chicken stock.

5. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.

6. Add the soy sauce and ginger powder and season to taste.

7. Using your fingers, tear the meat off the chicken legs and add to the soup.

8. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat.

9. Ladle into bowls and stir an egg through each one.

Let’s Toast to the Roast.

24 Aug

Nothing beats a good roast dinner. It covers all the major food groups (protein, carbohydrate, vegetable… sometimes) and tastes utterly delicious. It’s easy to prepare, doesn’t require loads of time devoted to it and, best of all, stretches for days with leftovers. Beef can be used for sandwiches, stews and stocks; lamb for, well, the same; and chicken for all of the above as well as pasta and salads. The roast really is the best all rounder.

There are so many different flavour options when roasting meat. You can go Moroccan or Indian with spicy marinades and rubs, Italian with herbs like basil and oregano, French with garlic or tarragon, or Australian with funky brown lacquer and bready stuffing. But I like to keep it simple with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Again, the roast’s diversity makes it an almost perfect meal.

Now when purchasing your chosen meat, don’t be daunted by the seemingly expensive price tag. Sure, the meat might set you back 10 to 20 dollars, but when considering its long life and versatility, it really is worth it. You can always pick up meat on special and, if you’re really desperate, buy one of those two-chickens-for-5-dollars deals. I did once, and, although they were tiny and the meat almost non-existant, bar the chewy scraps found on the thighs, they managed to satisfy my roast craving.

But do go for the best you can afford. On this particular instance, we were lucky enough to have two other people putting in for the chicken and decided to go free range. The quality of the meat is considerably better – producing a more tasty and moist end result. It’s also a more ethical, chicken-friendly way to go.

As a side note, I apologise for the retro, ’70s era-looking photo. Fixing up the effects of bad fluro lighting is quite hard.

Retro Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken.

Garlic and Lemon Roast Chicken with Herbed Potatoes

500g potatoes, washed and chopped into quarters

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP dried mixed herbs

1 medium-size whole chicken

1/2 a lemon

7 cloves of garlic

50g butter

salt and pepper

1. Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and add the potatoes.

2. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, covering the saucepan with a lid.

3. Once the potatoes are almost fully cooked (there should still be some resistance when pierced with a fork), remove from the heat and drain.

4. Place back in the saucepan with the olive oil and herbs and season well with salt and pepper.

5. With the lid on, shake the saucepan around to coat the potatoes. This will also give them a rough surface for roasting, which produces a crisper exterior. But seriously, make sure you hold on tight to that lid. A hot potato to the face can hurt.

6. Preheat the oven to 200C.

7. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and squeeze the lemon juice all over it.

8. Place the squeezed lemon inside the cavity, along with the cloves of garlic.

9. Peel back the skin on top of the breast and stuff half the butter down each side. Basically the butter will be between the skin and the meat.

10. Rub the remaining butter all over the chicken. As well as producing a nice crisp skin, it’s very therapeutic.

11. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

12. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken and place in the oven.

13. Roast for around 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin browns and the potatoes are crisp.

14. Serve.