Tag Archives: nigel slater

A Spanish omelette, as inspired by Nigel Slater

If you’ve broken the eggs, you should make the omelette.
~ Anthony Eden

In “The Kitchen Diaries” (page 117), Nigel Slater wrote about his version of a Spanish omelette – “lighter and crisper than the traditional one that uses thick slices of potato”, and which incorporates parsley, mint and tarragon.

It sounded delicious, and through some unplanned, beautiful coincidence, I had exactly those herbs in my fridge right as I read this page and found myself hungry. The tarragon was a complimentary gift from the kind man at the farmers’ market, and I had some mint and parsley left over from a dinner last week. I also had potatoes and eggs – whee!

I skipped the flour and broiling my omelette, and replaced six chopped scallions with a clove of garlic, some diced onion and a sprinkle of paprika (to suit what was in my pantry), and had myself a lovely late lunch while it poured outside.

And on that wet note, the lovely summer sun has departed, leaving crazy rain in its place. But not all is dismal: I attended my first rainy barbeque last night, at my friend Cam’s place. The meat was excellent, as was the company, and there was dancing and crazy conversations… the rain shall not take away the joy of summer.

    Spanish omelette
    Inspired by Nigel Slater
    Ingredients:
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 potato
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    2 tbsp diced red onion
    paprika
    salt
    pepper
    olive oil
    parsley leaves, chopped
    tarragon leaves, chopped
    mint leaves, chopped
    Method:
    Grate or chop the potato into matchsticks. Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add in the diced onion and fry till fragrant and lightly golden.
    Stir in the garlic, paprika and potato, and sauté for approximately two minutes. Then add in the eggs and scatter the herbs in a single layer over the omelette. Swirl the pan gently so you don’t trap puddles of uncooked egg in the omelette.
    Leave to cook for a few minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary, and flip the omelette if you can manage it (I haven’t quite mastered this). When the eggs are cooked nicely on both sides and the potato pieces are tender, move the omelette carefully on to a plate, add salt and pepper to taste and tuck in.
    Yields one serving.

Poached pears and Charlie Brown

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
~ Dr. Seuss

What to do with Monday Blues:

Kick them into a corner… let them whimper.

Open every window and blast “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (link via one of my favourite blogs The Breakfast Bachelor).

Get down on your knees and scrub the floor à la Cinderella.

Wash your hands, like hygiene really matters.

Peel and poach some pears.

Make some chocolate sauce.

Talk to the Paul of your universe (he is my macchiato-and-noodle-loving, way-talented-at-dancing, kinder-than-your-Gran friend who also helped me, via long distance email, to pick the photos you see on this post tonight. I took so many photos, I drove myself batty trying to decide which ones to use.) ;-)

Have three soft luscious golden winegingercinnamon-infused chocolate-coated pear halves for your dinner.

Nothing else.

No steak. No veg. No pasta.

Keep listenin’ to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

    Poached pears with quick chocolate sauce
    Inspired by Orangette and Nigel Slater
    Ingredients:
    500ml leftover white wine (I’m still attempting to clear my post-Thanksgiving stash…)
    500ml water
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 tbsp vanilla essence
    Juice of half a lemon
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 knob of ginger
    4 sturdy, ripe pears (I used Bosc)
    For the chocolate sauce*:
    8 squares dark chocolate (I used Whittaker’s)
    1 tsp instant coffee powder
    2 tbsp hot water
    1/2 tsp butter
    Method to my madness:
    Combine the sugar, water, wine, vanilla essence and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Throw in the ginger and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer. Peel and halve the pears, and remove the cores with a sharp knife and teaspoon. Place the pear halves in the simmering syrup and allow to cook for around 20-30 minutes, or until tender. They should be golden and bordering on translucent.
    When you are satisfied with how the pears look and feel, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool (or not, if you are hungry).
    Pour the coffee powder, hot water and chocolate squares into a microwave-proof jug or container and microwave for approximately 20 seconds. Take it out and give it a stir, and microwave for a few more seconds if needed (do it in bursts of a few seconds, so nothing burns!). Once the chocolate has all melted, stir in the butter. You should now have a glossy, velvety sauce.
    Drain and plate the pears, drizzle the warm chocolate sauce* over it all, and tuck in.
    Yields 3-4 servings.
    * I made just enough sauce for three pear halves, for that is all I ate tonight – adjust quantities of ingredients to make as much sauce as you need/like.

Honey, cinnamon and plums

He felt like he was in a kind of moon soup, with the stars turning slowly above him and his thoughts floating past like ingredients. He felt he was drowning in it.
~ Nigel Cox, Waiting for Einstein

They won’t come.

The pictures and words I’ve been saving up over the last few days to share with you… some in my camera, some in my mind. Snapshots of a (wonderful and mostly sunny) weekend in Wellington; thoughts on life; stories of eating, giving and receiving.

I’m almost irritated that they are piled high behind the door, refusing to come out. But it’s no use – I’ve been hovering here for over an hour, perched on the edge of my seat with a hot water bottle on my lap, typing and erasing, sighing and humming. They’re refusing to let me post them here.

I’m not sure why.

So I’ll let them simmer on in hiding… meanwhile, would you like to talk about Cake?

With my friend G’s birthday coming soon, I’ve been looking for a ‘yes cake’. You know, a recipe for cake that makes you say YES, I’m going to make you…?

I flicked impatiently through what felt like TONS of recipes in blogs, magazines, cooking websites – lots of lovely pictures and tasty sounding things, but no ‘yes cake’… and then, late this afternoon, I found it. Nigel Slater’s Pudding Cake of Honey, Cinnamon and Plums. An absolute ‘yes cake’!

Making this, I could imagine myself leaping into a mountain of Autumn leaves, feeling them envelope me in playful laughter, and gazing up at clouds and winking sunshine…

There’s the scent of warmed golden syrup, lyrical like someone you love saying “Honey, I’m home!”; the look and feel of butter – a generous hug, a glove around your senses; the kiss of cinnamon – a sweet and spicy fairy dust, making all it falls on special. All three together make for pretty delirious inhaling.

Oh, and the BROWN in this recipe – the different shades are glorious and luxurious, and chocolate doesn’t even make a guest appearance! There’s the shimmering, luminous brown of the honey + butter + golden syrup melting on the stove – which reminds me first of George’s Marvellous Medicine (Roald Dahl) and then of liquid gold. There’s the butterscotchey, dulce de lechey, yummy-caramelly look and flavour of the flour + golden syrup stirred together into a thick creamy mix – miracle I managed to avoid licking the spoon! Finally, towards the end when the elements combine to form the batter, there comes a demure woolly brown that reminds me of slim ladies, cashmere sweaters and milk chocolate melting in the sun.

This cake presents nearly no challenges – it’s mostly a breeze to make. There is just one point when it’s hard to imagine the cake turning out, those few minutes when the egg mixture splashes and swirls around the flour + golden syrup mix and you’re trying not to associate it with Things of the Bathroom… If not for the saving line in the recipe “it will resist incorporation and look weird at first”, I might have despaired. In the end, however, it comes together very nicely and reminds me that perseverance can sometimes lead to good surprises.

The cake rises effortlessly and proudly in the oven – and oh, I do so enjoy the look of the plums, round and sweet and delicate, on the risen cake, in the square tin. Smile inducing.

I did change a few things in the recipe, mostly due to pantry limitations. Sure hope the taste isn’t compromised – I’ll let you know tomorrow after the birthday girl has had a chance to try it! :-)

[edit] We managed to surprise G with a birthday morning tea. J brought a scrumptious lemon cake, dense and moist and luscious, with crunchy miniature sugar crystals on the top. M brought brownie squares laden with invisible coconut threads. I brought Nigel’s cake. We had a rich morning tea – and all, it seemed, were smiling! I took home an empty cake tin. Happy, happy birthday, G. [/edit]

    Nigel Slater’s Pudding Cake of Honey, Cinnamon, and Plums
    Adapted from Orangette
    Ingredients:
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 slightly heaping tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 very generous tsp ground cinnamon
    2 pinches salt
    2/3 cup golden syrup
    2 tbsp maple syrup
    125g unsalted butter
    1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
    1/4 cup caster sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup (250ml) milk
    5 ripe plums, pitted and quartered
    Method:
    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish, and set aside.
    In a large bowl, sift and combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well.
    In a saucepan, warm the golden syrup, maple syrup and butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the butter is melted, stir in the muscovado and caster sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside to cool for a minute or two.
    Break the eggs into a medium bowl, add the milk, and whisk the mixture.
    Pour the golden syrup mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. The batter will be very thick at this point. Pour in the egg mixture, and continue to stir – don’t worry if it doesn’t resemble a good cake mix – it will come together and form a loose batter with no traces of flour
    Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then arrange the plums on top. (They will sink.) Bake for 30 minutes; then place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the cake, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. The cake should look mostly set at this point. Remove the piece of foil, turn off the oven, and leave the cake in there for another 15 minutes. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes, then loosen from the pan and cool completely before slicing.
    See Molly’s recipe here for her version, and additional notes.

This is my first post for Sweet New Zealand (if I’m not too late!) – hosted by the lovely Allison of Pease Pudding this month.