Friday, 18 October 2013

Eating More Potatoes

Two blogs in two days! This is unheard of...

... but last night I cooked more of my home grown Potatoes and it is such a pleasure to do this, fresh and tasty food from your own garden, that blogging about this element of growing food is almost my favourite (close behind that moment when the seedling first pokes its head through the soil and you know something is growing....).

I didn't even finish my Potato harvest last night so you may well have another one of these to look forward to soon :)

I chose to eat the scabby Potato last night; this is caused apparently by the fact that I have grown these in potting compost which is too rich for Potatoes.

After a few seconds of scraping with a knife the Potato is ready for chopping...

My choice today was to slice the Potatoes really thinly.

Waste not want not; I saved the oil and butter fat from the day before and, with the addition of plenty of black pepper, I roasted my Potato slices as you can see here, sizzling nicely.

On a whim I threw a few slices of Chorizo into the baking tray to add some flavour to the end result.

Pork Belly Slices frying away - still pink so not ready for eating yet.

And here is my dinner - and it was VERY tasty, the highlight being the Potatoes obviously.

So there you are; I still have a fair few tatties left over and may bake a couple of them over the weekend.

There are still other bits and pieces of progress going on; the Ghost Chili is STILL putting flowers out though I think I won't get much more out of it.

The Begonia is flowering really nicely; every week or two I think "that is it, it is over" and then in the morning another lovely bloom.

A couple more Begonia blooms; lovely.

So there you are; I probably won't make it three blogs in three days but you never know.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Two different meals

So it has been a while since the last post but this doesn't mean things haven't been happening; I have just been doing different things.

The blog post today is split into two parts, based around me eating two different meals components of which I have grown myself.

First of all, a lunch... cheese and tomato butties.

Four slightly over-ripe tomatoes freshly plucked from the plant in the front room.

Fresh barms with cheese on and the tomatoes as in previous picture, just gratuitously really.

Sliced and placed on the barm and ready for squashing and taking to work.

It's great making your own butties, but particularly good when they are made with things you have grown yourself. One day maybe it'll be my own bread and cheese too.

So that is part one, the second part is slightly more involved as today I cooked a meal and it was a great success and so I am going to try and record exactly how I did it for posterity. I only took pictures of the elements involving my own produce, unfortunately, but the processes are not complicated so if you want to try this for yourself, go for it.

So, the reason behind my cooking was to harvest and start eating the last of the potatoes in the yard.

The bag with the Rocket Potatoes in, ready for harvest.

I do love harvesting Potatoes the way I do it, which involves digging my hands into the soil and feel for tatties; these came out particularly well so I took a picture.

My harvest wasn't as good of these as of the last type I pulled up, but still I had more than enough for this meal, and will be finishing them off tomorrow I reckon.

I am cooking Rosties Hasselbacks (whoops misnamed) with the potatoes; something I picked up on my most recent trip to Bulgaria. You have to slice the Potatoes most of the way through but leave them attached at the base. Slice them as thinly as you can, but be careful not to separate any of the leaves. They should be raw, and definitely NOT par-boiled..

While I was slicing them Potatoes I had poured a generous amount of oil into a roasting dish and added a large nob of butter, and then put them in at about 200 degrees C to start melting. This pan is too large for the four potatoes I am cooking; Ideally the potatoes should be sitting deeply in the fat and butter however I didn't have the correct pan. The area which is covered with oil is probably too large already so use the smallest deep pan you have.

Here I have added the Potatoes to the not-very-hot yet pan. The process here is to keep basting the potatoes using a large spoon every five minutes or so. I also gave them a short turn standing on the sliced side but this was because the pan is bigger than I wanted so they were not as submerged in oil and melted butter as I wanted. These will not over cook so do not worry about starting them early; the longer they are in the better as they stay exceptionally moist, but then the tops crisp off nicely. Gorgeous.

Onto the other part of the meal, which I didn't photograph as I was only taking pictures for this blog and not a cooking one. My plan was a pork based oven bake type thing. First of all I chopped a large onion and started frying it in oil and some black pepper over quite a high flame and while this was sizzling (and being tossed every now and then) I took some strips of Pork Belly and sliced the strips into cubes. As soon as this was done I added the pork to the pan and fried them together. Finally I sliced half inch long sections from a "Chorizo Iberico" flavoured with smoked paprika and added these to the frying pan.

Next I took a leek and sliced this up into about inch long sections. I took a square casserole and separated the leek rings, spreading them evenly over the base, and sprinkled with a little olive oil. By this point the Pork was nicely browned off and I poured the lot over the top of the leek, making an even layer.

To add some interest I took a Crossley Special chili and sliced it carefully into rings and then scattered these equally over the hot Pork and Onion mix.

Finally I sliced a whole red pepper and placed the raw on top of the dish.

Once this was completed I sprinkled a tiny amount more olive oil over the lot and then put the casserole onto a shelf in the middle of the oven. During this process I was, of course, remembering to baste my Potatoes.

Similarly to the Potatoes, there is no real rush to remove this from the oven and you can cook it as fast or slow as you want; the Pork has been fried and everything else just needs heating or, if you leave it for about 25 mins like I did, it softens down nicely and everything is moist and lovely. You could probably leave it for even longer if you want.

The final element of my meal was the Cabbage and I had chosen a Savoy cabbage as I love the texture. Normally I would steam Cabbage but today I decided to fry it in butter. A generous amount of butter (about the same as I put in with the tattiees) was dropped in the frying pan which I had used to do the meat earlier (less washing up, and a chance to recover the last of the flavour burned into the pan) and the Cabbage was added before it melted. Pretty quickly this was sizzling away very nicely and then I had a brainwave.

Bacon bits!

With a rush I cut one rasher of bacon into bits, put the heat on really high under another frying pan and crisped them off before adding to the Cabbage.

Serving time was dictated by said Cabbage and about 2 minutes or so later I turned all the heat off and plated up.

It does not look the most elegant meal but it was amazingly tasty and this is proven by the fact that we both polished it off with no left overs at all.

So there you are, not just a gardener :)

If you try this, please let me know what you think.