09 March 2010
comings and goings::3
For me, root vegetables are the ultimate winter comfort foods and I have become slightly obsessed with eating them this last week which seems a little contrary given the sunshine we have been having. I think it's the sense that soon British grown parsnips or swedes will be gone from the marketplace, their disappearance a sign that winter really is over. On the other hand, it could be just sheer cheapskateness as they are the original frugal food.
To start with, and having mentioned it a few weeks ago, I decided that we needed to eat a Cranks Vegetable Crumble, a lovely combination of nutty crunchiness and melting starchy sweetness. I modified the recipe slightly, using small pumpkin seeds instead of sesame seeds, half a packet of cashews for the nut content, and feta instead of cheddar. Then to use up my excess store of carrots, I followed up a couple of days later with this delicious spicy carrot soup on Sunday - colourful, fragrant and better than anything from the supermarket.
To finish off our root-based starchfest, I made our favourite Onion, Bacon and Potato Hotpot from the Pauper's Cookbook, the dish I might nominate as my last meal if push comes to shove. There are lots of faithfully reproduced versions of this recipe, and this quick version by fellow fan Joanna on her food blog for those pressed for time. Here is the longer cooking version, imperial as ever...
Pauper's Cookbook Onion Bacon and Potato Hotpot
4 large onions, 4 large potatoes, quarter to half a pound of bacon rashers. For the white sauce - 2 oz flour, 2 oz butter (or substitute), a dash of nutmeg and other seasoning to taste
Make up the white sauce in the usual way. Peel and slice the onions and potatoes quite thinly. Remove the rind and cut the bacon into thinnish strips. Fill a greased casserole dish with alternate layers of sliced onions, sliced potatoes and bacon strips, ending with potatoes. Then pour the sauce over the vegetables, give it all a good shake to distribute throughout. Cover and bake in a fairly hot over (Gas 6, 400F, 200C) for the first hour, then uncover and lower the heat (Gas 4, 325F, 180C). This gives it a lovely crispy top.
Perhaps my overbuying of seed potatoes is not such a bad thing after all.