I hang out on the Post Punk Kitchen discussion forum and from time to time spammers chance their luck, as happens with all forums. The mods are great at deleting things pretty quickly, but I sometimes click through because they are occasionally hilarious.
This morning a spammer posted two “recipes” with some extremely weird ingredients, instructions that made no sense BUT one post (entitled “potato latkes”) was accompanied by a picture that made me want gussied-up fried potatoes – it was what looked like mashed potatoes and very finely diced spring-onions or green peppers bound by a ring of onion. The other post was entitled “delicious potatoes” and was clearly a picture of latkes, so I choose to think the picture illustrating latkes was actually the one that was supposed to go with the “delicious potatoes” recipe. I didn’t have spring onions or peppers, but here’s my interpretation anyway…
How I made the delicious potatoes:
250g potatoes, boiled, drained and mashed
A single 220g onion, sliced widthwise into 4
olive oil for frying and basting
1 tsp soya sauce
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp Herbamare seasoning salt
1TBS nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp smoked paprika.
Method: Take the two middle (fat) slices of onion and separate the outer rings. I used 6 rings, but you might want to use 7 or 8 instead and underfill them a little bit, because the filling stays the same size and the onion rings shrink when they’re heated, as you can see from the second picture above.
Chop up the rest of the onion and fry it on a low-medium heat in a splash of olive oil with the soya sauce and balsamic vinegar until browned and caramelised, about 12-15 minutes.
Add the onion into the mashed potato, stir in the rest of the ingredients, pack the resulting mix firmly into the onion rings and either brush with oil and bake in a medium-hot oven around 200 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or fry for 5-6 minutes on each side in a pan. I tried both, and they both taste good, I think presentation-wise the fried ones look a bit more appetising but there’s not much in it.
I wasn’t just going to eat 6 delicious potato cakes on their own (although I probably could!) so I cooked up some fancy baked beans (by fancy I just mean I spooned some from a tin and added a few peas, tomatoes, slices of garlic and chopped fresh coriander), Fry’s frankfurter-style sausages and a few fried mushrooms. Very pleasant brunch indeed!
Been practising some more recipes for the Live Below the Line challenge next week. I’m not a big fan of breakfast early in the morning, nor am I one of nature’s early birds. I generally get up in time to wash and dress myself, and don’t feel hungry for breakfast until I am already sitting at my desk at work. Usually I have some almonds with my coffee, but almonds are beyond my budget next week (as is coffee!), so I’ve been thinking about what I could bring to eat instead. I don’t actually dislike plain cornflakes as a snack but I think I’d get some strange looks if I started snacking on them in public. These crackers might be a bit more acceptable.
120g self-raising flour (3.6p) – plus some for dusting which I didn’t measure, so let’s round it up to 4p
60g chunky peanut butter(10.9p)
5g mustard (0.6p) – I would put more in next time as you can’t really taste it.
pinch salt – (0.1p)
water as needed.
Preheat oven to 180c (350f/gas4)
Put mixing bowl on scales. Pour in flour. Zero scales and spoon in peanut butter (will be a couple of spoonfuls). Add a teaspoon or two of mustard, depending on how much you like the flavour of mustard.
Remove bowl from scale. Add a pinch of salt. Cut the peanut butter and mustard into the flour as if it is fat and you’re making pastry. When it seems fairly well distributed and the mixture is a bit pebbly, start adding splashes of water, still cutting in with the knife. Carry on adding water a bit at a time until the mixture will stay together when pinched. Knead for a few seconds to make a soft ball of dough.
Get a baking sheet and put a couple of spoonfuls of flour in and spread it so it covers the base, to stop the crackers sticking.
Flour a clean, flat surface and place the dough onto it. Flour the top of the dough and start rolling out. The chunks of peanut will prevent the dough from rolling very thin the first go around but tend to start breaking down when the scraps are re-formed for the second roll out. Roll the dough out fairly thin, maybe 3-4 mm? Cut out into cracker shapes and dock with a fork to stop air bubbles from making them puff up too much.
Bake for around 18-20 minutes (less if they are thinner – check them after 12 minutes to make sure they don’t look like they’re scorching).
This recipe made 20 crackers with a scrap of dough left for under 16p. They have around a gram of protein per cracker (I should be getting around 50g in a day) plus a decent amount of calcium and iron thanks to the fortified flour, they average out to about 32 calories per cracker, and they’re pretty tasty. I think they will be very nice spread with some split pea hummus as well, maybe topped with a bit of red cabbage and some pickled onion for snacks other than breakfast.
After worrying about how I was going to get out to dinner, I ended up getting lifts both ways, so didn’t spend any money yesterday at all. I do owe those friends a lot of dinners by now, though!
Today’s weather is damp and dreary. After work this morning I was happy enough to hurry home, so no temptation to go to the shops. I’m wearing two jumpers but my hands and the tip of my nose were getting cold so I’ve momentarily succumbed to putting the central heating on. Good job that’s not part of the challenge pot.
To counteract the cold I made a quick and simple stew including the last of my potatoes which were just beginning to sprout but fortunately hadn’t gone green, with a side of quinoa and some spicy croutons on top.
Potato, carrot and cabbage stew (3-4 servings?)
- 1 medium onion, chopped medium-fine
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
- 3 smallish potatoes, cut into chunks
- few leaves of cabbage (maybe 100g), sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Bouillon powder to taste (start with a teaspoon, I probably added more like 2-3)
Fry the onion in the oil in a medium-sized saucepan on a medium heat until starting to soften and brown, add the bouillon powder, carrots, potatoes and top up with water to cover. Turn up heat until simmering, then add the cabbage and cook until that’s done to your liking and the potatoes are cooked. Turn off the heat and add in the garlic (I like to find a balance between stinking of raw garlic, but still being able to taste it, and I find if the garlic gets added earlier it’s not very noticeable, but the residual heat takes the raw edge off. I am pretty garlic-immune these days though!)
I cut up the last bread roll from the batch I baked a few days ago to make croutons, which I fried in a small amount of olive oil, with a sprinkle of salt, smoked paprika and cayenne. This is my new favourite way of using up bread. Strictly speaking the stew hardly has enough liquid to count as a stew, and the croutons rested on a big pile of veg rather than soaking up the liquor, but they added a pleasing contrast in terms of both crunch and flavour. The quinoa was another great addition to make the whole dish a bit more hearty.
I also have bonus croutons left to snack on!