Cooking for your family, one pot wonders and procrastination.
Sorry for the slow, slow reply! Somehow it seems that I am busier during this lockdown than I’ve ever been, I think that my parameters of hectic-ness have been significantly shifted. I was worried when I came home from Paris that I would be bored and restless, so I found myself 101 tasks to do and it turns out that I am not very good at staying on top of To Do lists, but very good at proactive procrastinating! (Read: tidying my desk, rearranging my desk, disliking the new arrangement so changing it back.)
I am also the self-appointed Head Chef of the house at the moment. Self-appointed because I loathe to let anyone else in the kitchen when I am cooking. For the first few weeks this was really fun, and I looked forward to cheffing every night, now after a month of it, I am feeling the strain (first world problems, right?) To remedy this, I’ve decided to focus on meals where everything is thrown haphazardly into one pan and chucked into the oven. This idle approach is actually heavenly, and I don’t know why I turned my nose up at it before.
The Roasting Tin and The Green Roasting Tin (by Rukmini Iyer) are fantastic books for this, truly One Tin wonders and so far, have all been delicious. Minimal effort and maximal flavour really appeals to the sloth in me.
One of my favourite chefs, Anna Jones (of A Modern Way to Eat) has a book coming out this month, aptly named One, that follows the same lethargic layout. The Sunday Times said “The new Nigella is unquestionably Anna Jones” which (if you ignore the blasphemy) means her books should appeal to both of us Nigella aficionados.
For Easter lunch on Sunday, I took inspiration from Anna Jones and made a delicious Easter Egg Tart. It wasn’t quite one pan but easy enough!
- Spread a ready-rolled puff pastry sheet over a baking tray and trim a border of about an inch from the edges. Egg wash with a salted beaten egg and place the trimmed edges back on top, so you have a frame of pastry. Whack it in the oven at 180 until golden and crispy
- At the same time, quarter chop some courgettes/ asparagus/ any spring vegetables you have and bake (or barbecue would be delicious) until slightly charred.
- When the pastry has puffed take it out of the oven, and press down the middle of your ‘frame’ so that you have a raised border and a flat middle
- Spread some mustard-y crème fraîche on the base and top with your cooked veg, leaving four little dimples for the Easter eggs
- Carefully crack your eggs into their little nests and season generously with salt and pepper
- If you have some peas or broad beans, sprinkle these over the tops and chuck back in the oven until the whites of the eggs have hardened and the yolks are jammy
- Season and garnish with mint/parsley/basil/pines nuts/almonds/hazelnuts (anything you have lurking around)
(Really good with some chilli jam on the side)
Makes a delicious sunny lunch with a salad or a yummy supper with some crispy garlic potatoes! Let me know if you make it!
A discovery I’ve made since I last wrote, is one pot pasta, and it is a revelation. I’d seen a few keen cooks interpreting it on Instagram, but all you really need to know is the correct quantity of pasta to water! (1 litre for 400g pasta = 4 people) Then you really can do anything. I may be late to this pasta party but being able to cook the sauce and pasta at the same time ,to me, is magical.
The most simple, most delicious version of this is as follows:
- You need a large pan (spaghetti width) with a lid
- Boil the kettle
- Into your pan, throw a punnet of tomatoes, halved. The zest of a big lemon, a handful of salt, and a really long glug of good olive oil (approx. 100ml)
- Add the boiling water and bring to the boil with your lid on. Keep at a bubbling boil for about 6 or 7 minutes, tossing the pasta every now and then so that it doesn’t stick.
- When you feel the pasta is almost ready, add a bunch of kale or spinach. Wild garlic would be really nice, but I can’t find any around here!
- When the water has evaporated and left a nice saucy consistency, you’re done!
- Serve in a hearty mound with a pile of parmesan on top