Eat …Nigel Slater’s little book of fast food

“Cooking should, surely, be a light hearted, spirited affair, alive with invention, experimentation, appetite and a sense of adventure.”  Nigel Slater 

I like to think of the English chefs Nigel Slater and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as my “cooking boyfriends”.  They are often with me in the kitchen whether it be following a recipe from one of Hugh’s River Cottage cookbooks or an inspirational idea from one of  Nigel’s columns on The Guardian website.

Left Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage and Right Nigel Slater
in his London garden

Both Nigel and Hugh give me great recipes but best of all I like the way they write about food.

Looking at the photos above I realise they do look alike.  They are alike in that they each encourage home cooking using fresh and often home grown produce.

They are different because Hugh lives a country life at River Cottage farm and has actively participated in campaigns to improve the tragic lives of egg laying hens and the chickens who never get to leave a cage, protested at the dumping of fish in the sea and the price of milk in the UK (sounds familiar!).

Whereas Nigel appeals to those of us living in an urban landscape.  How encouraging it is to see the range of vegetables and fruit he can produce in his compact back garden in London.

Nigel’s descriptive writing style clearly conveys his passion for food and its infectious. He makes me laugh, especially in his book “Eating for England”.

“A beautiful, mysterious thing when seen on the stalk in a foggy field in January, the Brussels sprout has a fairytale look to it…  A pity then that the vegetable shares so many of its attributes with a fart… “

I haven’t until now owned a Nigel Slater book. “Eat” was an impulse purchase, sight unseen, simply based on the reviews.  From the moment I opened the package I knew I had a different sort of cookbook in my possession.  It’s the size of a novel, with a stunningly simple black title printed onto a rich pumpkin fabric cover.

Who says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover!   Open “Eat” and you are rewarded with clean, modern design and layout that allows you to easily and quickly read the recipes.

Nigel tells me the book I have in my hand is,
“A little book of straightforward, contemporary recipes, quick or particularly easy to get to the table.  A collection of recipes that are fast, simple and, I hope, fun. ” 

The book is divided into 10 chapters with dishes grouped together based on the method of cooking.

In the hand
In a bowl
In the frying pan
On the grill
On the hob
Little stews
In the oven
Under a crust
In a wok
On a plate

And ends with a chapter simply called Puddings.

Each chapter has an intro in a large font, followed by a list of his favourite
dishes for that style of cooking.

Nigel himself best describes the layout,

“The form of the recipes is new.  Written in the style of an extended tweet, they are no dogged ‘1-2-3’ sets of instructions.  The ingredients lists are next to a picture of the finished dish, both at the top of the method so you can see, at a glance what you will need and then, in more detail, within the method”

 The first recipe I tried from “Eat” was rather rich but simply delicious.

 I would normally steer away from this amount of butter and cream…but I was curious and the tag line he puts at the bottom of the recipe intrigued me. “Soft, white, supremely citrus fish”

To give you an idea of how the recipes are presented I copied the recipe just as it is laid out in “Eat”.

We enjoyed this creamy fish dish with the new potatoes
gathered from our community garden.  You can follow our
gardening exploits on my other blog Sanctuary Garden Diary

Cod with Lemon, Tarragon and Creme Fraiche

cod, lemons, tarragon, creme fraiche, capers, bay, butter, black peppercorns
Put 350g cod fillet, cut from the thick end of the fish, into a large shallow pan with the juice of 2 lemons and 40g butter.  Chop half a small bunch of tarragon and add to the pan with a bay leaf and 6 black peppercorns.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 10 minutes, till the fish is opaque.  Remove the fish with a fish slice and keep warm.
Chop the rest of the bunch of tarragon and add it to the pan with a teaspoon of capers and  3 tablespoons of creme fraiche. The creme fraiche will turn a little grainywhere it meets the lemon juice.  
No matter.  Coarsely flake the fish and spoon the sauce over it.
   For 2: Soft, white, supremely citrus fish.
The butter contributes to the rich flavour of the sauce
This dish would be really good with southern blue cod but as it’s not a locally available fish in Auckland I chose Tarakihi,  NZ Seafood’s Fish of the Month: January 
The lemon juice and the herb Tarragon is the secret to the success of this dish.  And true to his word it takes only a few minutes to make.

French Tarragon

The not so well known herb French Tarragon gave the dish a subtle hint of aniseed.  I made this recipe in early December when my tarragon was starting to take off.  It was a great way to show how a little tarragon adds to the flavours of fish, lemon and cream. 
This tarragon I took with us from Dunedin in a small pot and it has thankfully
continued to grow in a pot.  Use the younger new leaves to avoid any bitterness.
French Tarragon is a delicate herb to grow.  It hides underground all winter and in early spring small green shoots appear and is ready to harvest early summer.  Tomatoes , eggs, chicken and fish all benefit from the addition of tarragon but it is most commonly used to flavour vinegar and mustards.  Tarragon hates wet feet and enjoys a sandy soil. It requires good drainage so I have had the most success growing it in a pot where I can control the conditions.

The taller growing Russian hasn’t the flavour of  French Tarragon.  To test whether you have the right nationality of tarragon simply bite a leaf and keep to the front of your tongue.  A true French Tarragon will numb the tip of your tongue.

I will leave the last word on tarragon to the boys:

“The crowning glory, the whole point of this herb, is as the principal flavour in sauce Béarnaise, the unctuous, egg-yolk rich emollient for steak. (Even though it’s the chips I really make it for.) … But it is with chicken that tarragon reigns supreme. The leaves, especially larger ones, will stand up to the cooking time and gently impart their aniseed notes to the sauce. ”  Nigel Slater

“With its aniseedy, liquoricey punch, its slight pepperiness and its hints of pine, tarragon is not something to use with a heavy hand, but in the right quantities and the right company, it can be sublime.”  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

One great feature of “Eat” is what Nigel calls “little extras”,
“Opposite many of the recipes are ideas that have bounced off them, a scattering of notes, suggestions and narrative recipes that might also interest you”.

After returning home rather late from work I was hungry and wanted something fast.  I tried one of his suggested off-shoot ideas, A salsa scramble from the featured recipe Spiced Scrambled Eggs. 

A salsa scramble

Sizzle a finely chopped tomato, a little finely chopped chilli and some chopped spring onion in a little butter, then stir in half a chopped avocado, a squeeze of lime juice and a little coriander.  Use half as the base of the scramble, adding the eggs to it once it is hot.  Serve the other half as a salsa on the side.
We grew this wonderful tomato and its companions basil, tarragon and
spring onion.
This meal took 10 minutes at the most to make.  I started by collecting what ingredients I had to match Nigel’s recipe.  Darn only one egg left and the scrambled egg recipe used 5 eggs.  The recipe was made for two though so I knew one egg would work to create a slightly different version of the salsa scramble.   Half an avocado and half a green chilli, although not shown in the photo, I also used.
I didn’t have any coriander on hand but have heaps of basil and as tarragon goes well with egg I added a little of that as well.
Another change to Nigel’s recipe was to use lime infused olive oil instead of butter as I love olive oil and felt that would better suit the salsa.
As it is cooked very quickly you need to do all the cutting up before you start cooking.  
Only just cook the tomatoes and other vegetables before dividing the salsa into two as you want the salsa portion to be like a salsa, not a sauce.
Drop the egg or eggs into the pot and stir immediately.   Now I knew that this would taste delicious but mix red tomato with yellow egg and the resulting the peach colour looked like something regurgitated.  With more eggs it would look better… but I had a plan.   In another pot I quickly cooked a few summer beans as the colour green does wonders.
Nigel suggests using the remaining salsa as a side.  I decided to top my hot scramble with the lovely red and green salsa.  My resulting dish was more of a scrambled soup because I only used one egg but it didn’t matter…it was truly delicious.  I could taste the basil and tarragon, then get a hit of chilli and enjoy the texture of the avocado.  Tomato and egg is a heavenly combination anyway, and it was created in ten minutes!    
Nigel has created this book to reflect the times – we are often time poor.  How easy it is to grab something ready prepared from a takeaway but Nigel is right when he says,

“Making yourself and others something good to eat can be so little trouble and so much pleasure.  And much more satisfying than coming home to a meal in a box”.

Thank you Nigel for all the good fast food meals I will make from your little book “EAT”.

A Broad Bean Makeover

Our friend Ken proudly showed me a bean seedling in a pot.  Now Ken is a great vegie grower and would not normally be showing me one bean seedling in a pot, but this bean was special.  It has been eagerly watched over and nurtured by his nearly three year old grandson, Hunter. Each time Hunter comes to visit his “Ranads” he eagerly checks how his bean is growing.

Hunter from Christchurch – a gardener in the making beside Ken’s
crop of broad beans. Photograph: Ken Rouse

In late spring, asparagus is quickly followed by the arrival of broad beans.  If you are a home gardener the odds are you will have planted the seed in autumn.  The seedlings pop up to encounter whatever winter throws at them, and then with the warmth of spring they race to grow eventually two times the height of young Hunter.

You can plant broad bean seeds in early spring too.  According to European folklore you will have good luck if you plant your broad beans on Good Friday. This translates to early September in New Zealand for a spring sowing or Good Friday for an autumn sowing.

I began growing broad beans because they are an easy bean to grow, especially in the cooler south. Peter was not at all enthusiastic about the beans. His childhood memories of them, like so many others, were of an unappetizing,  greeny-grey bean with a bitter coat that was probably boiled for a good ten minutes. It was time to give this bean’s culinary ‘bad rap’ a makeover.

The orange or red nasturtium is more than a colourful companion
to the beans in the garden, the flower’s peppery flavour goes well
with the beans in a salad.

I found the solution, thanks to cook and gardener Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame, who introduced me to ways of preparing broad beans that look luscious and taste even better.  And the true test of my success is that Peter now loves broad beans.

Fresh broad beans are bountiful at this time of the year but if you are not growing them they can be hard to find. You probably will have the best luck at a farmer’s market.

The secret to avoiding the bitter dry beans of childhood is to pick them young. You can even start harvesting them when they have a girth the size of a pencil.  They can be used simply by cutting pods on an angle and throwing into a stir-fry.  
Once the plants reach the flowering stage, I use the growing tips to add a peppery touch to a salad (a little like rocket in that respect) or these too can be tossed into a leafy stir-fry.
At our community garden a young boy was intrigued with the pods with their fluffy white lining and asked if he could try a bean.  He came back for more and so introduced me to eating them raw – funny I hadn’t eaten them raw before.  I have since discovered that in a coastal region of Northern Italy, young broad beans are enjoyed raw as the first of the spring garden produce.

When picking broad beans start at the bottom of the plant
and work up the stem, flick up and snap off the beans. 

Be warned, it does take quite a few bean pods to get enough beans for a meal.   Peter collected a bucket full of beans from our community garden.  And from the bucket the beans minus their pods reduced to this…

As the bean grows in size they tend to grow a thick green-grey coat.  

The much maligned broad bean of our childhood is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and this could be due to the process of skinning the bean. Blogger Nancy Harmon Jenkins  thinks this trend was created in the professional kitchens of France and is not at all necessary.  I will let you decide.

To present a glossy green bean for use in a salad or for hummus I do recommend skinning.  

First of all boil the shelled beans for 3 – 5 minutes depending on size.  As the beans are young at this time of the year they really only 1-2 minutes  but as they grow larger and older they will need the longer time.  To make them cool enough to handle, tip the beans into a sieve and run the cooked beans under a cold tap.

To skin nip the skin at the top of the bean and gently squeeze from the bottom to allow the bean flesh pop out.

In Arabic they are called Foul (pronounced “fool”) – for those of you who think broad beans are foul here are three ways to use broad beans that may just change your mind.

Beans and bacon on toast

This is my favourite broad bean dish and it’s truly easy and quick. Beans and bacon are a match made in heaven.  The best way to have this dish is to pick the beans and make immediately.  If the beans are young there is no need to do the skinning.   Some broad bean varieties now have a green skin when cooked which is a lot more appetizing than the khaki grey. I usually just skin the larger grey coloured beans.
As I only had a few leftover skinned beans on this occasion I added some
asparagus spears. Beans and asparagus work well together.
First of all fry a little chopped bacon in a heavy based pan – one slice per person – once it starts to colour then add finely chopped garlic, followed by broad beans that have been pre-cooked and skinned  (if required).  Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and season with pepper. 
Both broad beans and  asparagus enjoy the company of mint. So add finely chopped mint at the end of cooking (not too much as mint is a strong flavouring – one set of top leaves in a sprig would do – about 1 tsp finely chopped). 
Toast a good bread and cover with the beans and bacon.  Before serving I drizzle some really good oil – either extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.  

Broad bean hummus

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s hummus is an ideal use for older beans that are getting floury.  For me it’s one of the first dishes I make with the new season’s beans because its a way of sharing the fresh harvest with a number of people.   It’s a gob smacking green dip that certainly attracts attention and the texture is velvety.

1 to 1 1/2 cups of shelled beans (depends on how many you have on hand)
1/2 to 1 garlic clove (depends on the size and strength of the garlic)
Crush the garlic with a little salt
A generous squeeze of lemon juice (again the quantity will depend on the lemon – add to taste)
About 3 Tbsp of good quality oil like rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
(optional) – a sprig of mint finely cut, or a splash of green tabasco sauce or addition of seeded green chilli.

Put the beans, garlic and oil first into a food processor and whizz to a puree. Now add the lemon juice and taste, add more lemon juice if needed, and salt and pepper to taste.

It’s important to taste along the way because there are ingredient variations.  The flavour and consistency will depend on the age of the beans and the lemon and garlic can be of varying strengths.  You could add a little green tabasco sauce or chilli if you want to add some heat.   I also like to make it quite garlicky.

A hummus you would think would have tahini included. I think Hugh has excluded it in this recipe to retain the subtle flavour of the beans.  I am keen to experiment and the next time I have only a few beans,  I might opt to make a bean flavoured hummus by simply adding some chickpeas and a small spoon of tahini.

Squished broad beans with preserved lemon and flatbreads

This is a great dish to accompany toasted flat breads and fresh salad ingredients like tomato, lettuce and cucumber yoghurt.  Together they make a simple and quick summer evening meal or lunch.

Mash the beans a little with a potato masher.  They would actually mash a little easier if they still have their skins on.  To the squished beans add a quarter of a preserved lemon , scrape away the flesh and pith of the lemon rind and finely dice.  Alternatively, use a squeeze of lemon juice + zest.  Then add seasoning of pepper (the lemon will add all the salt you will need) and a slurp of good olive oil.

Roti, flatbread or mountain bread are all delicious when cooked with a little oil.  Consider using these  to bring some leftovers to life.  We have this at least once a week and is very useful if you have to get some food on the table quickly. Three year old Beau loves loading up his flatbread triangles.

To cook the flat breads first you need a heavy based pan – caste iron is the best.

I begin by giving it a spray of oil, pop in a flat bread, drizzle oil on top and spread quickly with a brush.  It only takes about 20-30 seconds to cook on one side, flip and cook the underside.

When you flip the bread it will bubble up transforming it from what looks like a piece of cardboard into  a delicous lively looking flat bread.

I thought this bread looked like the surface of the moon.
Cook both sides well and then stack on a plate in a warm oven until ready to serve. 
You can make them into a roll or cut into pieces and create your own combination of topping.

  • Both the fresh or dried broad beans are also well known around the world as Fava Beans
  • To dry, simply leave the beans in their pods to dry and then harvest   
  • Broad beans are high in protein – almost as high as soya beans
  • In Italy some people carry a dried fava bean in their pocket believing that they will never be without the essentials in life.  This tradition came out of hardship. In Sicily when the crops failed, fava beans kept them from starvation.

What other bean can you eat every part of from the growing tips to the dried seeds?  Also called Faba bean, I am now convinced that this most useful bean is a fab vegetable that doesn’t need a makeover…they just need less time in the pot and some good companions like mint, lemon, garlic and olive oil.

If you grow the beans inside, remember to harden them off slowly before planting in the soil –
 this may mean taking them in at night and putting them outside in a place that has shade.
Photograph from “Growing Vegetables” The

Hunter has been given a great gift by Ken – a curiousity about the natural world.  Ken in return has been reminded of the magic of gardening through the eyes of his grandson.  Go to it and introduce a child to growing beans!

Lemon Tipple Cake and Urban Composting

 Lemons…yes I am going to post again about lemons!  I’m going to let you into the secret of the best lemon cake ever according to all those that have tasted it – the Lemon Tipple Cake.

Lemon Tipple Cake dressed up for a birthday celebration
decorated with strawberries and icing sugar, borage and nasturtium flowers

It’s a mix of two recipes from two of my favourite cooks; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Lemon Trickle Cake and Lois Daish’s Lemon Pound Cake with Gin Syrup.  From Hugh I use the cake recipe as it’s a light Victorian sponge and I use Lois’s Gin Syrup as the topping because this little tipple makes the cake so delightful.  I have taken the liberty of naming the cake the Lemon Tipple Cake.

Lemon Tipple Cake

This recipe is made in a loaf tin and the lightness of the cake will depend on the quality and quantity of beating.   You can do it by hand but for this cake I prefer to let Ken Wood do the hard work.   Use Ken at full speed to whip the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time.   To avoid curdling add 1 Tbsp of the measured flour after the addition of each egg..and it helps if the eggs are at room temperature.
The butter, sugar and eggs should be beaten until light in colour  as above.  
This  is what makes the cake light.

175 g unsalted butter softened (I don’t always have unsalted butter)
175 g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3 medium eggs
175g self-rising flour
pinch slat
A splash of milk (optional)
Grease and line a 1 litre capacity loaf tin with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy (at least 5 or up to10 minutes if you can manage it). 
Add the grated lemon zest and then beat in the eggs one at time, adding a spoonful of the measured flour to avoid curdling.  
Sift the remaining flour and salt into the mixture and fold in lightly using a large metal spoon.   Add a little milk if necessary, to achieve a good dropping consistency – i.e. the mix should drop fairly easily off a spoon when you tap it on the side of the bowl.
Spoon mix into tin, smooth the top gently and put in preheated 170 degrees C oven. 
Bake 45-50 mins or until skewer comes out clean.
With the skewer make holes all over the cake going quite deep but not hitting the bottom.
Gin Syrup – it also works using Tequila or Cointreau – try your own combination

Lois’s Gin Syrup: 

juice of 2 juicy lemons
150g caster sugar
2 T gin
(make this syrup while the cake is cooking – just stir to dissolve the sugar no cooking necessary)
Spoon or slowly pour over the hot lemon cake so that the holes can fill up.

The surface of the cake once the syrup has soaked in.

It’s a moist yet a light cake.  Does it keep?  Well in my experience it’s the sort of cake that doesn’t get the chance to hang around. I have had the fortune of having a piece the next day and it was still as good as the day before.

Hugh’s original Trickle cake has a runny lemon icing/sauce
of 200g icing sugar and 75ml lemon juice 

Bokashi to the Rescue!

…On the other hand, compost usually does need to hang around for months before it can be used in the garden, but not with the system I have rediscovered.

Living in urban Auckland, space is limited for processing compost, but I still want to make compost for the benefit of my plants in my newly established raised bed.

Our raised bed garden 1 week old – everyone helping out;
daughter Tansy planting out Rocket seedlings and grandson Beau
at the ready with gardening gloves.

Auckland’s daily summer temperatures of around 25 degrees give me an incentive to find ways of dealing with food scraps quickly, so as to avoid them mouldering away in smelly bins.

Luckily I had packed my Bokashi bucket when I left Dunedin. Bokashi comes into its own up here.   It’s a system of composting that originated in Japan and means “fermentation”. One of the best things is after fermenting for 10 days you can give it a shallow burial in the garden and in summer after another 10 days you can begin planting in that soil. 

Not one of my more attractive pictures!
But I wanted to show you what it looks like after being filled over 3 weeks.  
It will be covered  for 2 weeks and then buried in the garden
The environment in the bucket has to be anaerobic (the food is squashed down to squeeze out any air) which usually means in composting terms that it should smell really bad.  But it has an almost sweet fermentation smell about it, rather like it’s being pickled.

The juice adds nutrients and good micro-organisms to your garden.  It must be diluted 100:1 (i.e. 2 Tbsp to 5 litres of water) to apply to bare soil.  For foliage dilute to between 1:500 to 1:1000 (1-2 tsp) to 5 litres of water and spray over foliage to form a film over the leaves.  

Juice that gathers in the bottom bucket should be used every 2 days.   The juice  indicates how successful your fermentation is.   It should be a light brown, not smell too pungent and could have a light white mould on top as above.

The fermentation happens because the sweet smelling bran called Zing has been impregnated with good bacteria.  Add a good handful (more in summer or if you have larger quantities of protein to break down) each time you add food scraps.  It’s best to collect the scraps into a container and add when full – a 2 litre ice cream container is ideal.  Cut up the material to fit more in the bucket and to hasten the composting process.  Once filled up you leave the bucket closed for two weeks.

I thought I would let The Guardian’s columnist Alys Fowler tell you about the next stage….

“What happens in those two weeks is fascinating. Your waste is zombified. It looks pretty much the same, apart from perhaps a little white mould and the whiff of fermentation, but something has happened internally: the good bacteria in the bran have got to work. Much like the undead, it may look similar on the outside, but inside decomposition is well under way.”

Here are two other sites with some more information on the Bokashi system: 

The only no no is to put liquids into the buckets and its important to press down the food after each addition to squeeze out the air.
This is something I am keen to try as I intend on growing things in containers.

Zing Bokashi – Using fermented compost in Container Gardening

To set yourself up with a Bokashi bucket and zing it costs around $50-$55.    I now need a second bucket while my other one is fermenting.   I want to see if there is a cheaper way of doing it.

My first homemade attempt at making my own Bokashi Bucket.
Ideally the buckets should be the same size.  Mine aren’t but I do like the colours!

I have managed with one bucket with a good fitting lid and drilled holes in the bottom and put it together with a cheaper bucket for holding the juice.   They seem to be working.

When first using the bucket put a good handful of Zing in the bottom.
The original  ZingBokashi bucket is in the background.

But I could do better and am on the look out for some buckets that are larger and stronger and I have a lead… kitchens have lots of buckets with lids and the best thing about this lead is that the plastic will be safe for food.   As Ponsonby Road has lots of kitchens, I will be doing the rounds!

In my previous posting I talked about preserving lemons.   I found my lemons and squeezed as many as I could into this lovely French glass jar I got for free from a second hand store.  I am now prepared for when lemons become scarce.

Preserved lemons with bay leaves and cinnamon sticks

Next weekend I am lucky enough to be invited by friends to go sailing on the Hauraki Gulf.   I will be taking a Lemon Tipple Cake because I imagine any cooking on board will be difficult because of limited space…or will it?

Aromatic Vegetables & Potato Fritters

Sometimes you have an odd collection of vegetables and leftovers in the fridge.   This week I had a small swede, some pumpkin, a large parsnip, a leek, some leftover corned beef and mustard sauce.   I knew Lois Daish would have ideas for this odd collection in her “Good Food” cookbook, and she did.

This vegetable stew is an ideal way to use up a number of vegetables, and you can use what you have on hand rather than sticking exactly to the recipe.   If using kumara you should dice it and cover with water otherwise it will turn brown.

Pumpkin or Kumara Stewed with Aromatic Vegetables

First stage of aromatic stew cooking up leek, parsnip/carrot, celery and herbs

(Serves  4)

The point when you add the pumpkin and water to the sauted vegetables

500g pumpkin, butternut or kumara ( I used a mix of swede and pumpkin)
1 leek or onion
1 carrot (I used the parsnip)
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil or clarified butter or a mixture
grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
thyme, parsley and bay leaf
1-2 cups water

Cut the rind off the pumpkin or butternut and remove the seeds or peel the kumara – cut into 2 cm dice.
Finely dice the leek or onion, carrot (parsnip) and celery.   Peel and crush garlic.
Put the oil in heavy pot and add the finely diced vegetables with the garlic, lemon zest and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fry gently for about 15 minutes.
Add the pumpkin (and the swede) to the cooked vegetables and stir.
Barely cover with water and simmer until tender – about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or your chosen herb – coriander would be good.

I accompanied the stew with corned beef potato fritters, but this is delicious as a main on a bed of couscous, finished off with a dollop of pesto and some pickled red onion.

You could also serve it with cooked greens.

Here’s another recipe from Lois Daish that I adapted to use my leftover diced corned beef.  I usually keep faithful to this recipe because its delicious as is, but it also works with additions.

Roy Duncan’s Potato Fritters – serves 4 

Potato Fritters cooking
 recipe from “Good Food” by Lois Daish

4 medium potatoes

salt and pepper
nutmeg, freshly grated
2 egg whites
Clarified butter or oil for frying

Put the grated potato into a clean tea towel,
 squeeze hard into a jug the water from the potato
Peel potatoes and grate with the course side of the grater.  Place in a cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible*

Place in a bowl and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.   

Whisk the egg whites until snowy.  Fold gently into the potatoes.

Heat oil in a frying pan until moderately hot.  Place spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the pan.
fry until golden brown on one side.  Turn over and brown the second side.   Continue cooking until the potato is tender.  
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately while still crisp.
Variation:  dice up corned beef, a dollop of mustard sauce or 1 tsp mustard to replace the nutmeg, and a handful of rocket sliced.

* I used the freshly squeezed potato liquid as part of the water measure in the Aromatic vegetable stew.   It’s too good to throw away.   No use keeping it as stock unless you cook it because it quickly turns black but you could drink it as it has health benefits.   You should rinse out your tea towel immediately to avoid staining.

Instant pickled onion: a decorate and tasty addition to a salad or a  topping to a dish like the aromatic vegetable stew. It’s great in a simple cheese and pickled onion sandwich. Slice onion (red, brown or Spanish white) very finely using a mandolin (if you have one). Sprinkle on some sugar, salt and then a sprinkling of cider or wine vinegar to taste. It takes a minute for the onion to soften and be pickled – sweet and milder than raw. Keeps for a day or two in the fridge.