After Thursday’s post, Kahlan got back in touch, with a tip-off. Apparently there had been a rumoured sighting of a can of own-brand non-evil condensed milk, in a Waitrose. So our Saturday was spent driving 25 miles to Harrogate, the nearest branch,* to find … Nestlé products firmly on the shelves. Oh well.
To make up for the disappointment, we bought an ethical jar of dulce de leche instead, and tried to make cookies, from this recipe. They didn’t quite turn out as I expected, being rather flat and soft, but they still taste good, albeit so sweet that I can barely manage to eat a couple at once. Not surprising, given the huge amount of sugar in each one.
A quick redaction of the recipe, the way we did it: take 230g of butter, chop it up, and beat it until it’s soft. Open your jar of dulce de leche and taste some just to make sure it’s not off or something. Beat 3/4 cup of light brown sugar and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into the butter, then add 3/4 cup of dulce de leche, assuming you can scrape it out of your measuring cup, and beat that in too, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Lick your cups clean, and your fingers, and anything else the stuff has stuck to. Add 2 eggs, mixing them in one by one, before sifting 2 1/2 cups of flour, half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of bicarb into the mixture. Rest the dough for a few minutes before putting teaspoon-sized balls of it onto baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, and bake at 160 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the baking tray; then when they are properly cold, carefully pair your cookies up into matching-sized pairs before using the last of the dulce de leche – if you have enough left – to sandwich the pairs together. Yum.
* and the only post code district left in the country that’s free of the Mighty Tesco
Pasta, prosciutto, and tomato sauce.
- Lemon pasta. I’m not entirely sure what sort of pasta it was, and I’ve mislaid the packet; but it was a bit like thick linguine. And lemon-flavoured.
Proscu Prosch Parma ham, sliced.
- 1 red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1/3 tsp paprika
- Grated parmesan
Put the pasta on to boil. Chop the onion and crush the garlic, and fry them in a large frying pan until soft. Roughly chop the prosciutto into pieces maybe up to an inch square, and add it to the pan. Drain the tomatoes, keeping the juice. When the ham is well-cooked, add the tomatoes, the paprika, and a little of the tomato juice, and turn the heat down slightly. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more of the tomato juice. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, and stir it into the sauce, cooking it on a medium heat until everything is thoroughly mixed in. Divide into bowls, sprinkle with parmesan, and serve. Serves two.
Back in the days when I was a student, ten years or so ago,* I would be quite experimental in the kitchen. I’d try things out, new recipes, experimental recipes. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t, but it made things nice and varied.
I haven’t done that for a long time. My diet’s got a bit boring. So, I’ve been spurred on to try more things, try new things, try messing about in the kitchen just to see what happens.
The other week, we were in a rather nice cafe in York, near the Minster. I was rather enjoying my lunch, and I thought: it really can’t be that hard to cook this, can it? So, at home, I tried knocking a few things together. It turns out: no, it really isn’t that hard. So here’s my rough and ready recipe for: potato and mushroom fritatta.
- 5-6 baby new potatoes
- 7-8 closed cup mushrooms, ordinary button ones or chestnut according to taste
- 1 shallot
- Garlic, if you like
- 4 very large eggs
- A handful of mild grated cheese
- Dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper
What you do: chop the potatoes into halves or thirds, or smaller, and boil them for about 10 minutes or so. Finely chop the shallot, and any garlic that you’re using. Fry the shallot and garlic, with a little oil, in a non-stick omelette pan. When the shallot starts to soften, add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms have browned and shrunk a little, add the cooked potato.
Break the eggs into a bowl, whisk them, and add a dash of water, the rosemary, and the cheese. Pour the mixture onto the cooking vegetables, and stir slightly to make sure everything is evenly covered. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the fritatta is mostly firm, before putting it all under a medium grill for another five minutes to get the top done nicely. If your pan’s truly non-stick, then when it’s cooked it will slide out smoothly onto a plate. Ta-daa!
* Is it really that long?