Archive for June, 2008

A RECIPE: Egg & bacon potato salad

It is a common misconception that potato salad requires that the potatoes be smothered lavishly and heart-cloggingly in mayonnaise. It is also a common misconception that the only way to serve new potatoes is boiled with butter and chives. Whilst both scenarios can prove adequately tasty (the latter being the British favourite and the former being the American)- I fancy to suggest that there are other ways to serve the noble new potato.

You can open your eyes now- this really isn’t a scary concept; in fact it’s not anything new. It’s just that most of us resort to what seems easy and what they know best. When my family lived in Philadelphia we had a huge garden where my father grew potatoes, lettuces, tomatoes and as kids we would run out to the veg patch to dig some up for dinner. The excitement of digging them up far succeeded the joy of eating them. Of course they were delicious in their own right- things that come straight out of the ground generally are but it was eating them every night in the same way, as if they were simply a plate filler rather than a contributor to the overall meal that got to me. Boiled and tossed with butter and chives- it’s simple enough and sometimes it’s all a potato needs. Just not every time. Needless-to-say this approach to them rather put me off and I soon decided that I didn’t like new potatoes, avoiding them at all costs. They were boring. Rather like a side salad of iceberg lettuce.

Recently, however, I decided to revisit the boiled new potato- to start over, if you will.  Enter, the egg and bacon potato salad. If ever there is a way to improve a dish, it’s by adding two of your favourite ingredients into the pot- eggs and bacon happen to be two of mine. Don goes a little crazy when he smells bacon and does this strange sort of excited barking sound. He’s really very easy to please.

In trying to keep the salad somewhat healthy I decided to boost the flavours with the help of fresh flat leaf parsley, spring onions and garlic rather than adding any extra fat. Don agreed to not adding any extra fat, but he thought that it wouldn’t hurt to add a little extra bacon. Of course then it would have been the egg and potato bacon salad, and that wasn’t what I was going for- but feel free to go crazy on the bacon in your kitchen, excited barking sounds and all.

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Egg & bacon potato salad’

Tomorrow, I promise.

They may be separated by an ocean, speak with a different accent, exchange with a different currency and prefer coffee over tea but it seems construction workers from London to New York are really all the same. You’re assured that the job can be done quickly, that they are the best contractors around, that they’re giving you the absolute best price and that they can do anything you want. Then they take 50% of their fee, do 50% of the work, leave all their equipment cluttering 1/3 of your apartment, a bed of dust on the floor so thick that even you swiffer mopper can’t cope and you spend weeks chasing them on the phone to complete the job.

The cabinets are in, the floor has been laid, the walls have had one coat of paint. Everything is in place. Except that the cabinets have no door knobs, the range has no gas, the dishwasher no connection, the sink no faucet, and that final coat of paint is yet to be completed. Did I mention that the counter tops have been measured three times now? Three times by “the best guy around” who I had to wait a week for to come out in the first place. Everything is “tomorrow, I promise” followed by a quiet “or at the latest, Monday next week”.

And so it is that I am still eating off of paper plates, washing up in the bathroom sink and rapidly despairing of microwaved meals. For the first time ever, I’m happy about the fact that I eat two meals a day at work- because that’s one less at home. In the meantime, I’m threatening to sell my contractors toolbox on ebay, tomorrow- I promise or at the latest, Monday next week.

CHEF’S TIP: Tenderising meat

Chef Todd Mark Miller of STK restaurant

Chef Todd launches the first in my new series on Chefs tips. So what’s his favourite tip? Ever wonder what use those black beady seeds in a papaya have? Chef Todd claims they work wonders at tenderising meat- so next time you find yourself scraping the seeds into the rubbish bin at breakfast, consider adding them to that marinade you’ve been concocting for your skirt steak dinner. Let me know how you get on…..

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A RECIPE: Cheats biscuits

I’m ashamed. This recipe is really such a con. Oh, I know that’s probably not the best way to introduce a recipe that I think everyone should try but it really is a recipe for cheaters. And there I was condemning Delia Smith for discarding her reputation as the woman who made everything perfectly from scratch by publishing her latest book. It’s not that I’m against cutting corners- I love simple recipes, I love taking the easy route but you’ll never find me serving a tart from the freezer aisle. Häagen Dazs ice cream, maybe.

A recipe calling for a boxed cake mix or store bought cake ordinarily makes me cringe. I am a girl who makes her own trail mix for crying out loud! Having said that, I now believe that having spent over a year living with a New York sized kitchen and now entirely without, cheating is allowed. Life is too short to overly stress when it comes to cooking, or pairing matching socks; for that matter. I confess, I poached an egg in the microwave only last week- is that cheating or just cooking for survival?

But still I was bothered by this recipe and yet when I made them I was so excited to photograph their glossy chocolate coatings and even more thrilled to find them to be perfectly delicious straight out of the freezer. Don was less enthused to begin with-“peanut butter and apricot? This kitchen thing is really getting to you.” Yes, yes it is heaven knows I’ve been whining on about it for weeks now- and it’s been a long few weeks for me too, I’ll have you know. But, this combination works! Don came around to the idea and I had to hide the rest of the batch in the freezer ready for my next sugar craving attack.

Still, I debated long and hard about whether or not I should risk my integrity by publishing it. But sometimes the trashiest recipes are the best and if I do ever get around to writing The Kitchen Renovation Cookbook- Living Without, this will ultimately be amongst the other stove-free recipes. This one is the result of scouring through boxes of ingredients on my living room floor in desperation for something sweet. A simple square of chocolate was just not going to cut it. Who says living without a oven means you can’t have, dare I say it- semi-homemade biscuits? Apparently, cheaters do win. Sometimes.

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Cheats biscuits’

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