Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pasta frittata

My little family is right slap bang in the middle of moving house at the moment. We hadn't planned to move right now, with the hungry caterpillar so small, but sometimes life just gives you a shove and you have to go with it. Luckily we have amazing friends who have come through with muscles and enthusiasm each and every time we've had to move, with little in return apart from cps of tea and the odd free dinner.

Anyway, after all the hoo-hah, proper cooking just seems way down on the list of priorities, especially when all the sensible cooking equipment is still boxed up. So here's  a nice easy solution - pasta frittata.

This one might sound weird, but you'll just have to trust me on it. It's a dish I've been served numerous times in Russia and it's one I used to rely heavily on for carb-heavy hangover days (in pre-hungry caterpillar days when I still went out and drank wine!) Nowadays it makes a great simple supper, when you need something that requires neither time, though, skill nor patience. It works well in the summer with a nice peppery salad and juicy tomatoes, or in the winter with steamed broccoli and green beans.
Pasta frittata
(Serves 4)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups pasta shells, cooked al dente
5 free range eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
copious amounts of ground black pepper
2cm x 2cm x 6cm block red cheddar, grated
1. Fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat until softened and translucent.

2. Add a pinch of salt to the beaten egg, then throw the egg into the pan, making sure it completely surrounds the pasta and onions.

3. Reduce the heat in the pan to slowly cook the egg through.

4. When the frittata is mostly cooked, but still wet on top (after about 5-10 minutes), scatter the grated cheese on top and finish with a liberal sprinkling of black pepper.

5. Pop under a medium grill for about 3 minutes until the omelette has finished cooking and the cheese has melted.

6. Whack on a bit more black pepper and serve hot or cold.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Friendly Vegetables

A long time ago, my lovely friend A introduced me to the simplest little curry imaginable... a curry with no name. It's nice and simple, easy to make, and ready in a little over half and hour.

It was also one of the few things I could stomach through my horrific morning sickness (a curry, right - weird or what?) It's wholesome and healthy and supremely comforting - hence the name I've given it.
Sadly, since she moved away from Manchester, I don't get to see A half as much as I'd like. But every time I make this, I think of her and it makes me smile.
Friendly vegetables
(serves 4)
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 fist-sized potatoes, chopped into 1cm cubes
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1 good-sized cauliflower, broken into smallest-sized florets
1 tblsp tomato puree
2 tsp turmeric
handful of frozen okra (optional)
1. In a large wok with a lid, fry the mustard seeds and fenugreek in the oil over a medium heat with the lid on. When the seeds start popping, add in the onion and fry for a couple of minutes until slightly softened.
2. Add the potato and cauliflower, and fry for a couple of minutes with the lid off, stirring frequently. If the mixture starts to stick, add a splash of water.
3. Add the tomato puree and turmeric and continue cooking for another couple of minutes.
4. Add a tablespoon of water, stir well, then turn the heat right down and replace the lid on the pan. Allow the vegetables to steam in the pan for about 15-20 minutes, until tender. If the mixture starts to stick, add a little more water, but the final curry should be fairly dry with a very thick sauce, rather than a runny one.
5. If using okra, add to the vegetables about 5 minutes from the end of the cooking time.
6. Serve piping hot, and think of your best friends.