Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bubble and Squeak from Leftovers

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Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with shallow-fried leftover vegetables, usually from a roast dinner, but any cooked vegetables are fine. Main ingredients are usually potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added - basically whatever you have. Cold chopped up vegetables which can be made into patties or left loose are fried in a pan until the mixture is well-cooked and browned. The name comes from the bubble and squeak sounds made as it cooks. Apparently Bubble and squeak was a popular dish during World War II as it was an easy and economical way of using up leftovers. Because it tastes great it has stood the test of time. The ones in a box in the freezer of a supermarket are just not the same!

HOW TO - Bubble and Squeak For One
Knob of good quality butter. Left over vegetables including such things as cooked potato, carrots or any root vegetables - (which absorb butter and create a flavour base - then add onion, cabbage, beans, peas etc. Salt and pepper to taste. Cheese if you wish and bacon or cooked meats if you wish to use up but not necessary.

Equipment: non-stick fry pan/skillet - size of pan depends on amount - don't overcrown the pan or tends to steam and can be 'gluggy'. Warm serving plate.

Slice the potatoes and brown in melted butter over a low to medium heat. Don't need to be crispy just browned for the flawour it adds. If you have left over cooked onion add that. If you don't then microwave 1/2 an onion to soften and add it. Add the rest of the vegetables and slow cook until heated through and slightly browned. The butter should all be taken up by the potato and onion so the overall 'feel' is a dry vegetable mixture with the lovely taste of the browning. This video I cooked to serve one. Some people like a poached egg on top as the soft yolk goes very well with the tast of the vegetables. Serve immediatly.

If using leftover foods and reheating be sure the foods have been stored in the fridge and if in doubt then throw out! Careful hand washing prior to cooking and through the cooking process with hot soapy water and before handling or chopping food. Keep work areas, tools and equipment clean.

Voice at start from music track created by "Jason Shaw @" (creative commons licence).  End title music a Tommy Dorsey original.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients to serve one person.
2 eggs local fresh free range eggs - taste better, 1 tablespoon of skim milk, salt and pepper to taste, knob of good quality butter

Equipment: mixing bowl, non-stick fry pan/skillet - size of pan depends on how many eggs you want to cook. If pan to big eggs spread out thinly, get dry and overcooked! Serving plate.

Cooktown Cook's How to:
Crack eggs into bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, add milk (1 -2 tablespoons) and 'wisk' with a fork until combined. Place skillet on medium/high heat, easier to manage heat with a gas stove, and add the knob of butter. Once butter has melted and sizzles a little and has a little foam add the beaten eggs immediatly so the butter doesn't brown. After adding the eggs to the buttered pan - I use butter rather than oil or cooking spray to add flavour as we like the taste - wait a little until you see the eggs start to 'set' into curds then immediatly stir the set egg to let runny egg spread over pan. Main thing is to prevent eggs getting overcooked. Keep moving eggs in this way until enough of the eggs are set. Remove pan from stove while eggs are still slightly underdone as they continue to cook. If you like your eggs dryer then hold in the pan a fraction longer before plating. Plate up the eggs and garnish if desired with a sprinkle of fresh parsely have buttered toast on the side - we don't like soggy toast so don't put the hot eggs on the toast. If having a 'big breakfast' you may also have cooked vine tomatoes, mushrooms and/or sausages as well. Serve immediatly.

Cleaning up.
When working with eggs they can stick to bowls and cutlery if hot water is used first. Rinse any egg coated dish or pan in cold or tepid water to remove any egg residue then wash well it in hot soapy water. Be careful with eggs as salmonella bacteria can cause food poisoning. Know where your eggs come from. Be sure the eggs you buy are fresh and have always been refrigerated and keep the eggs in the refrigerator until you use them. Serve any foods with lightly cooked eggs immediately, or chill at once to serve cold. Do not let these chilled foods stand at room temperature long enough to warm up.

Careful hand washing prior to cooking and through the cooking process with hot soapy water and before handling. Keep work areas, tools and equipment clean.

Other ways to do scrambled eggs:
Gordon Ramsay and other Youtubers scrambled eggs videos.
Try different methods and see what you like.
Comment with suggestions :-) or links to good cooking videos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cooking A Bacon Omelette Frittata

This is my first cooking video. I missed out the preparation! Anyhow I decided to post it and try to get more in the next one as it took a while to edit in Windows Movie maker.  

3 eggs, 2 rashers cooked bacon (brown but not over crispy) , crushed pepper, sea salt, 1/3 cup milk, knob of butter or 1 teaspoon oil.

Whisk eggs and add the bacon, salt and pepper.  Heat pan to medium and melt butter add oil.  Add egg mixture and wait until base of omelette browns.  Remove and place under grill to finish cooking to desired level of doneness.

Debate about high or low heat?  This way of cooking an omelette makes it very tender as it is cooked over a medium-low flame. It is not the only way.

Another style is to fast cook over a high heat, The omelette should take no more than one minute to prepare. Julia Child cooked omelettes on a gas burner with the flame set high, threw in butter and when foaming was barely subsided in went the the beaten egg. This is an excellent way to prepare a delicious moist omelette BUT for unskilled cooks may end in disaster.

This video method is easy and does work. I heat a non-stick small fry pan to medium and put a knob of butter or teaspoon of oil to assist with browning; I pour in the beaten eggs pre mixed with any flavouring such as cooked bacon, cooked onions, cooked vegetables, grated cheese (as you wish) and salt and pepper. Allowthe base to brown and set in the pan then finish under the grill as shown. Depending on how soft you like your eggs if you barely warm the top and fold it over it will still be soft in the centre - it will continue to cook with internal heat so if you like it soft take it off the heat earlier than I did here. In my case as I wanted the egg fully cooked BUT not tough I cooked it longer under the grill and did not fold it. It is more a frittata in this case than a true omelette.

Another great method is using a knob of butter saute whatever the filling is to be onions, bell peppers, chicken, bacon or whatever in the pan first then crank the heat up and add the beaten eggs to the already cooking filling. Stir through so egg coats everything then turn heat down to medium-low and let it set on the bottom then fold over and serve. Also delicious.

Cooking eggs so the diner is happy, especially when everyone likes their eggs differently, means you can cook! Master eggs and master cooking!

Mainly try to remember that high heat for too long makes tough rubbery eggs! Yuk! So for either high or low heat timing is what you need to master.

Happy cooking.

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