Friday, December 28, 2007

Nigella for breakfast

I have always been a huge fan of Nigella, her attitude to food and life seem to be very healthy and she brings a voluptuous vivacity to TV cookery shows. Though I do have some niggles about the latest show, there does seem to be a little too much of an entirely manufactured idyllic working mother lifestyle. Now I can’t claim to be a mother but I seem to have plenty of that work stuff and clearly I must be doing wrong as I would be sauntering around whisking aromatic chocolate croissants out of the oven for an impromptu breakfast every day. However undoubtedly her express culinary expertise helped me out considerably when I needed to produce a speedy supper for the strangely B’s (MC and E(D) are included in this collective despite them not being strictly B’s) and hopefully just about serve all the courses before MC was asleep! But I am still a little dubious about her new show, perhaps next time she’ll take a leaf out of the latest Jamie Oliver Kitchen show and concentrate on the fine cooking and less of the artificial made-for-TV way of life, I am sure Nigella has an extremely covetable existence but we don’t need to be reminded how much our real life differs from hers.

One idea that did catch my eye on her show what her potato cakes, and she used that stalwart of the store cupboard from my childhood – Smash. Though I have to admit it looked different from the last time I experienced those curious little moon rocks of dried potato, lumps that were often tricky to get out of the resultant mash potato. But when Nigella used it she poured it in a thin stream so clearly the consistency has altered in the several decades that have passed since I last experienced it.

Potato cakes with smoked salmon
by Nigella Lawson - from Nigella Express
Makes 30
Prep: less than 30 mins Cooking: less than 10 mins

For the potato cakes
3 free-range eggs
125ml/4½fl oz whole milk
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
60g/2¼oz instant mashed potato mix
40g/1½oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp lemon juice
For the topping
300g/10½oz smoked salmon
small bunch fresh dill

1. In a jug, whisk the eggs, milk, finely sliced spring onions and olive oil together.
2. Stir in the instant mashed potato mix, plain flour, baking powder and the lemon juice.
3. Heat a flat griddle and drop tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture onto the hot griddle.
4. Cook for about 30 seconds a side, or until golden-brown and firm enough at the sides to flip.
5. Once you have made the pancakes, and they've cooled a little, tear off strips of smoked salmon and arrange the small slices on each pancake.
6. Decorate each salmon-topped pancake with a tiny feather of dill.

I decided to finish my fluffy little puffed potato pancakes with generous dollops of pesto crème fraîche underneath the smoked salmon. Though one thing I forgot to take into account that Nigella’s recipes generally always feed a large hungry village so even scaling down the recipe meant that we were rather potato pancaked out very quickly. Maybe next time I'll use the same quantities but for a larger and perhaps hungrier crowd!

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