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.

10 comments:

knit nurse said...

As a kid one of my favourite dishes at home was 'spuds & onions' - just as it sounds, baked slowly in a heavy casserole till it browns. Your recipe reminds me of my friend's 'pan haggerty', although without the bacon, which it turns out is a regional dish from the north east!
http://www.information-britain.co.uk/food/foodlegends/Pan%20Haggerty/

Liz said...

Oh yes, comfort food. I've been making lots of soup lately, mostly lentil and chunky veg topped with dumplings. My clothes are telling me to stop.

60 Going On 16 said...

Oh I do love crumbles - savoury and sweet (rhubarb and stem ginger - with some of the ginger syrup added - is a particular favourite). Love your variations on the Cranks recipe; I'd have to leave out the swede from the list of ingredients (I blame school dinners for that).

colleen said...

My recollection of swede from school days are not happy ones, but somehow it disappears in this crumble if it's balanced out by sweeter roots.

Felix said...

Everytime I read yours and Laras posts about the Cranks cookbooks I feel filled with yearnings to discover the Cranks cuisine for myself!

I love the dual combination of comfort and thrift in these lovely dishes and shall be attempting some version of my own in the coming weeks of budgeting.

x

Val said...

this post is making my mouth water... I am now craving swedes but as the only roots we have are carrots I better try spicy carrot soup...yummy

lara said...

ooooh - I love the look of your rooty goodness. Yum. I have never tried the cranks crumble (apart from in Marshall Street) but really want to try it and the spicy carrot soup. I appear to have a love affair with Kale at the moment, I even managed to squeeze it into the packed lunch. I will try the recipe and let you know how I get on.

colleen said...

Lara - we willl probably have enough late winter days to merit a rooty vegetable crumble.

Know just how you feel about kale Who'd have thought it was possible to have a passion for kale?

colleen said...

Lara - we willl probably have enough late winter days to merit a rooty vegetable crumble.

Know just how you feel about kale Who'd have thought it was possible to have a passion for kale?

ofpinsandneedles said...

Oh brilliant brilliant thank you for these! Even though it's now April - scratch that, already Easter! - I am still craving some starchy winter veg and these are just what I have been longing for.

Vegetable crumble is one of my favourite things ever. When I was revising for my (last set of) finals I used to go to a cafe in the vault of a church near to the library after 2 pm when they had a student discount, and eat vegetable crumble every day! It was something to look forward to and then relish each day, and the frugality and wholesomeness of it felt like a good partner for a day's hard work.