What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 14 March 2014

Omelettes, part 2

I don't pretend to make authentic Spanish tortillas or Italian frittatas, but they are very much easier than traditional French omelettes.  Quite apart from anything else, you can keep them waiting, and even eat them cold if you would like (if you get it right - and I find mine tend to fall apart - you can take them on picnics).

The idea of these omelettes is that they are stuffed full of vegetables. They have way more vegetables than eggs. Spanish ones must contain potatoes and onions, but may also contain things like peppers, chorizo (okay, that's not a vegetable, but hey?), tomatoes.... whatever.  Italian ones just contain vegetables.  It's probably not a good idea to use too many vegetables that render a great deal of juice when cooked, although one or two.  But choose a selection of vegetables that you like: onions, peas, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes (cherry tomatoes work well), chunks of butternut squash, maybe chopped aubergine or courgette, maybe chunks of carrot or parsnip... maybe a root vegetable omelette would be nice (must try this!).  You might want a green vegetable omelette in the spring - perhaps peas (or mangetout if you can get them that haven't been flown in from Kenya), baby broad beans, broccoli florets, asparagus tips or maybe a green pepper.

Whatever, you chop your vegetables into small pieces, and cook over gentle heat in a lidded frying pan - use cooking oil of some kind.  Stir occasionally, but keep the lid on as much as possible to let the vegetables cook mostly in their own steam.  If you're using frozen vegetables, thaw and slightly cook them in the microwave.  If you're using bacon or chorizo or even mini-sausages, add them and cook them, too.  When the vegetables are cooked, pour on a couple of eggs that you have whisked until they are all one consistency, seasoned, and maybe added some grated cheese to.  Keep the heat low, and keep the lid on the pan.  Cook gently without disturbing it until the eggs are set through.  Cut into wedges and serve - perhaps with bread if you haven't used potatoes (I am incapable of eating anything eggy without some form of carbohydrate, a relic of having grown up in the 1950s!).

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Omelettes, part 1

When you think of an omelette, what comes to mind?  For many of us, it's the iconic French omelette, filled, perhaps, with cheese or mushrooms, or ham.... but perhaps it's an Italian frittata or Spanish tortilla that comes to mind.  They are very different animals, and I like - and can cook - both, so I thought I'd do a post on each.  There is also a souffl√© omelette, which is as eggy as the French kind, but cooked more slowly, like the Spanish/Italian kinds....

So for a traditional French omelette.  First of all, you prepare your filling - if it needs cooked, like mushrooms or tomatoes, then you cook it; grate your cheese, chop your ham or herbs.... 

One egg is possible, two ideal and three, frankly greedy!  Whichever you choose, choose a pan to suit, and for these purposes, a heavy cast-iron pan, Le Creuset or a clone thereof, is ideal.  It doesn't want to be too big.

Whisk your eggs until they are all one consistency.  Add salt and pepper.  Now heat your pan, and add a knob of butter.  The pan should be very hot, and the butter will sizzle.  Listen carefully, and as soon as it stops sizzling, pour in your egg.  Using a fish slice or spatula, pull the set bits away from the side, allowing more liquid egg to run underneath.  When it is just not quite set on the top, add your filling, fold it in half using the spatula/fish slice, and tip on to a plate.  Serve immediately with bread (and butter, if liked, and perhaps a salad).

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Easiest pancakes ever!

I used to struggle dreadfully making pancakes, but these days I tend to make galettes au sarassin and we will have a "galette complete" for supper tonight, with eggs, lardons and cheese, and I shall add some mushrooms because I like them and a side salad. Anyway, they are easy enough, but this is even easier, full of protein and very delicious:

 Per pancake:
 c 50-75 ml water
1 heaped tablespoon gram flour.

 Er, that's it!

You can, of course, season this to taste with salt and pepper, maybe some chilli and garlic.... and if you want to make it really lush, add 1/2 tablespoonful of tahini.

Whisk this together thoroughly. Lightly grease a frying-pan, and cook in the usual way, over a medium-hot heat until the top surface looks dry, and then turn it over and cook for a further minute or so.

This is vegan and gluten-free; I have seen it called a "vegan omelette". You can fill it with things like tomatoes and onion, or sliced avocado, or whatever you fancy, really, but it's very nice on its own.

Edited to add: try spreading it with hummus and rolling it up! That is seriously lush....