Last week for St. Patrick's day I invited some friends over for Irish Stew (using a Ballymaloerecipe of course). They marveled at the flavour and insisted to know what was in it. "Lamb Carrots Onions Potatoes Stock Thyme"
Their surprise made me realize that many people might think that cooking good food means elabourate ingredients, exotic hard to find spices, or labourious preparation. But as Michael Pollan goes into extreme detail about in his latest book Cooked, all one really needs are to know the basic skills of making a stew: patience, and time. I mean, really when you've browned the meat, quickly (or slowly depending on the type of stew) sauteed some basic vegetables, add a liquid medium of choice and let is simmer with bubbles just barely breaking the surface, the meat becomes meltingly tender and every flavour marries together into something brilliant and comforting.
I hear about this revelation from many people. Once they discover this, they realize they can take two hours out of their weekend and prepare two or three one pot meals that last them the entire week. The rest of the time for the cooking is just looking to see whether the pot is boiling too much or not and, perhaps, the occasional stirring. All of this for a fraction of the price of, say, 30 min meals people try and sell you on. These are usually prepared using cuts of meat and vegetables that are really expensive because of their inherent tenderness vs the 'cheaper' cuts of meat and vegetables used for one pot meals. When you look at the recipe for the stew in the link above, you can see that the prep time is only 30min! With a little forethought, you can make amazing, nourishing meals for yourself, friends and family.
On the other side of the coin, I often hear chefs talk about how much they love eggs. They are the perfect 'fast food'.
I've already written about omelettes before, but seriously, they are the perfect affordable yet decadent, quick and delicious breakfast! Sometimes.. simple is best.
Night shade free, dairy free, gluten free
Recipe from the Ballymaloe Cookery School
2 organic eggs
2 teaspoons milk or water
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons Clarified Butter (see recipe) or olive oil
Add 1 teaspoon each of freshly chopped, parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon to the eggs just before cooking – divine!
Pan 23cm (9 inch) in diameter Warm a plate in the oven. [optional but nice!]
Meanwhile, heat the omelette pan over a high heat. If using, have your chosen filling ready beside you, along with a spoon.
Whisk the eggs with the milk or water in a bowl, until thoroughly mixed but not too fluffy. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Put the warm plate beside the cooker because you won’t have time to go looking for it. Add the clarified butter or oil to the pan. As soon as it sizzles, pour in the egg mixture. It will start to cook immediately so quickly pull the edges of the omelette towards the centre with a metal or plastic spatula, tilting the pan backwards and forwards then up and down for another few seconds so that the uncooked egg runs to the sides. Continue right around until most of the egg is set and will not run any more. The centre should still be soft and moist – don’t worry, it will be perfectly set by the time it gets to the table.
To fold the omelette: flip the omelette edge nearest the handle of the pan over the filling, towards the centre. Then change your grip of the handle so you are holding it from underneath, this will make it more comfortable for you to hold the pan almost upright so the omelette can roll towards the bottom of the pan. Half-roll and half-slide the omelette onto the plate so that it lands folded into three. [Sounds overwhelming but see video below! And don't be afraid of botching it a couple of times before you get it right]
I love this lady... me in 20 years? Clearly I should make an omelette video, I love em so much!
What are your favourite add ins? Comment below!