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May flowers

It has been a while since I shared any pictures of what we’ve been cooking and eating at home recently, so I thought I would look back through my albums and share some with you all.  Following on from my post about cutting out cheese temporarily for health reasons, this has now been extended to a lot more things, specifically wheat, sugar, and yeast.  It has been a challenge recently, but I hope I will get to the point where I am happy to share more with you.

So here’s some of the food we’ve been making and eating during April and May…

Sorrel, fresh garlic and white asparagus frittata

Sorrel and white asparagus frittata

This was inspired by watching an episode of Two Greedy Italians where they met an elderly lady who knew all the wild herbs and plants growing around her mountain home.  She picked some wild greens and made a kind of frittata, popping the cooked greens through a mouli first to remove the tough bits.

Sorrel and white asparagus frittata

I don’t think my sorrel had many tough bits, but being rather short in both supply and knowledge of wild greens, I wanted to try out the idea anyway.  It was great fun mouli-ing the sorrel and then mixing into my beaten eggs.

We’d not tried white asparagus before, but it was available in our organic grocery – I sliced peeled the outside, sliced them in half, blanched them and then laid them on top of my fritttata.  Topped with a dollop of raw basil pesto (this stuff is amazing and I live off it at the moment) it was pretty tasty.

Lemony garlic baked chicken with rice, asparagus and leftover aioli

Lemon garlic chicken and rice

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What do we cook for dinner when we don’t have much in the cupboards?  A frittata.

frittata

We always seem to have eggs in our house, and like most people by the end of the week there are always an assortment of leftovers.  Making a frittata is our failsafe recipe for cooking a wholesome and quick meal that uses everything up.

Really, this isn’t a recipe, because you can use any ingredients or leftovers that you like.  It’s really a short set of instructions on how to make a basic frittata and some pointers on when to add certain ingredients to the pan.

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Frying pan: To make a frittata you need a frying pan, one that can be put in the oven is even better, but if not this isn’t the end of the world!  I use a medium-sized heavy cast iron frying pan with a metal handle – I have discovered that this is the perfect size for us, it makes just the right amount of frittata for the two of us.  If you don’t have an oven-proof frying pan, pop your frittata under the grill rather than in the over to cook it.

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Eggs:  Next, you need eggs – beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper.  For two of us, in my medium-sized frying pan I use about four eggs.  You need enough beaten eggs to cover the other ingredients in your pan, so start with a good guess of how many you need – you can always beat up another if you need a bit more.

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My key frittata ingredients would be potato, onion and cheese. 

Potatoes: We often have a few leftover boiled potatoes, and these are perfect in a frittata.  If you don’t have leftover potatoes, just boil up a couple of new potatoes and use those instead.  Simply slice the potatoes into thick-ish chunks, and they are ready to be added. 

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Onions: Onions are a staple in most people’s cupboards, cooked slowly in your frying pan in a little oil and maybe a knob of butter until they are softened they will add a lovely sweetness to your frittata.  You can cut them up in anyway you wish – roughly chopped, thinly sliced, diced – just as long as they are cooked until soft you can’t go wrong.

Cheese:Adding cheese just before you bung your frittata into a hot oven gives it that added luxury.  Now you can use any kind of cheese you fancy or have available in your fridge – make sure it doesn’t clash with any of your other chosen ingredients.  It could be grated, diced, sliced or crumbled.  Tasty options include mozzarella, cheddar, feta, goat’s cheese, or gorgonzola.

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Other ingredients: You could add – olives…roasted red peppers…shredded spinach…diced ham…artichoke hearts…shreds of cooked chicken…sweet roasted carrots…smoked salmon…broccoli florets…salami…flaked fish…garden herbs…

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Key steps for making a frittata:

1. Heat oil and/or butter in a frying pan and add the onion – cook until soft.

2. Add any other ingredients – add those things first that will take longer to cook.

3. Once your ingredients are cooked, add your sliced potatoes.

4. Pour over your beaten egg.

5. Sprinkle over your cheese and bung in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until cooked.

6. Leave to cool a little for about 5 minutes before eating.

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As a child courgettes were one of the vegetables I loathed.  I remember them cut in thick slices and cooked until slightly soft and mushy.  They were gross.

Now I have a much better relationship with courgettes, I have found ways in which to eat and cook them which have made me fall in love with them.  Courgettes are starting to ripen and I picked up a couple from Little Heath Farm that had been grown by a local lady with a large garden.  There was a perfectly formed round yellow courgette which I couldn’t resist, and chose a couple of green ones as well.  With some delicious French chevre cheese in the fridge along with a pack of Parma ham, a simple egg dinner was dreamt up – a frittata (fantastic as a store cupboard meal for those evenings when you can’t think what else to cook) with courgette, goat’s cheese and shreds of salty ham.

I’ve got another lovely courgette dish that I’ll post soon – semi-dried courgette and chilli pasta.

Here’s how to make it…

Soften half an onion in a little butter and oil.  Next, grate up your courgettes and pop them into the pan.

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There’s quite a bit of water in the courgettes, so let it cook out and then continue to saute the courgette until all the liquid has disappeared – a beautiful smell will start to waft up and fill your nostrils.  Then you know it’s ready.

Whisk up a couple of eggs (I used four for two of us) and season well with ground pepper and salt…

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Pour the beaten eggs into the pan with the courgette and onion mixture.  Crumble over the goat’s cheese…

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Finally shred over the Parma ham and bung in the oven for about 15 minutes until cooked.

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I find the frittata is best left for 10-15 minutes before eating, more of the flavours come through than when it’s piping hot.

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Now here’s the recipe for anyone who fancies making it for themselves.

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Courgette, goat’s cheese and Parma ham frittata

Feeds two hungry people

4 eggs
1/2 onion, diced
2 courgettes (1 green, 1 yellow)
1/2 slice of goat’s cheese
a couple of slices of Parma ham, torn into pieces
salt
pepper

*Please note, ideally you need a pan with a metal handle that can go into the oven – if you don’t, you will need to pop it under the grill rather than in the oven.

Preheat the oven to about 200°C.

In a pan, heat a little butter and olive oil and saute the chopped onion until soft.

Grate the courgettes and add to the softened onion.  Cook the courgettes – water will come out of them, so just keep cooking them gently until it all disappears and it starts to smell nice.

Beat the egg and season well with salt and pepper.  Tip the egg into the pan with the courgettes and onion and keep on a medium heat while you crumble over the goat’s cheese and add the torn Parma ham.

Turn off the heat and bung the pan into the oven for about 15 minutes until nicely golden on top and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little (about 10-15 minutes).  Cut into wedges and serve on its own or with a garden fresh green salad.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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