Saturday, March 01, 2008

Frying tonight!

Stephanie gave us a little more time this month to prepare our bite-sized nibbles for her latest fried food themed blog party but still I prevaricated. I’ve been a dreadful blog-dodger recently but I have to admit this isn’t of my own volition it started off being under the weather almost continuously lurching from one lurgy to the next (and I still manage to get the sniffles every couple of days) and feeling more or less incapable of composing anything more than a brief email. And then to cap that my real job just seemed to stea

l every waking moment (and a few of my sleeping ones – you know it’s not going so well when you’re dreaming about spreadsheets etcetera) so much so that I referred to a couple of my clients as time thieves but my colleague topped me and declared them to be extraordinarily appropriately - time bandits. And I doubt even as if the biggest offenders know who they are and how they are depriving me from doing much else other than endlessly data-crunch for their good selves and the unavoidable casualty is always my blog it seems. But yet again I am determined to rectify this; I will claw back some of my own time and dedicate them to toiling over a hot keyboard again. So this is the first and inevitably I am tardy for Stephanie’s soiree but never mind, it seems a suitable theme for my life recently so

I will just plough on regardless.

Stephanie stipulated a fried food theme and I’ve said here before I am not a fan of deep fat fryers, firstly the public information films from my childhood often used to warn us of the danger of an exploding chip pan and clearly these admonitions have lingered in my consciousness. Also I have this abhorrence of tons of dirty oil, I don’t really know how one should dispose of it correctly unless you happen to know someone who handily runs a bio-fuel vehicle – and I don’t unfortunately. Recently I’ve found myself being drawn to the Tefal Actifry in the Lakeland catalogue; I do like the idea of a batch of ‘proper’ chips being cooked in a tablespoon of oil, so no oil to dispose of. But it looks a little chunky, somewhat plasticky and perhaps not as robust as I’d like and as I only have a compact and bijou kitchen I thin

k I’ll just have to resort to the occasional chunky oven chips (and no I don’t mean McCain’s, I mean à la Gordon) until perhaps a sleeker alternative arises. I’m not adverse to a crispy battered prime hunk of sustainable fish and chips and we are hoping to avail ourselves of the new Tom’s Place when D and MC and next in my neck of the woods. I don’t shy away from a bit of fried food if it’s emanating from someone else’s kitchen but no vats of burning fat in my extremely flammable kitchen. So I wasn’t going to deep-fry but I am happy to conjure up a fine fry-up so my canapés are going to be fried breakfast accoutrements.

Firstly I fried some of Clarence Court’s finest quail eggs and top

ped dinky squares of fried bread. I’ve never really got fried bread (sorry MC), I love bread – don’t get me wrong, but I prefer my bread just hot from the oven, or toasted or in some fabulous carbohydrate feast of a hot chip butty. The quail eggs are always a challenge, they cook so much quicker than hens’ eggs that it’s all about your mis en place. Firstly using a serrated knife slice the top off the rounded part of the egg and then return it to the egg box. Then continue your slicing and careful lining up in the egg box un

til all the eggs you need are prepared. The reason why this is important is that those sweet little flecked quail eggshells are notoriously difficult to break and enter and if you crack one straight into a pan and then return to penetrating the second, the first will be totally fried!

Actually these were a tad more fried than I intended and the whites ran into each other too much making getting them out of the pan with delicate lacy edging way too difficult. But they tasted good and next time I’ll leave more space between my doll house sized fried eggs.

Next I fried some de-stemed chestnut mushrooms with a fine dusting of nutmeg and top with slivers of fried dry-cure smoked bacon. Hmmm, who can resist a bit of bacon?

For third canapé I grated some potato, squeezed all the water out, sprinkled with a soupçon of oil and fried in little heaps to aim for a free-form rösti effect. For the topping I got some plump Cumberland sausages snipped the sausage skin off and broke into three. Then rolling each third into a ball and then flattening to form a petite sausage patty. These were fried alongside the rösti and turned out to be my favourite of all three. Not surprising, I’m a sucker for sausages and potatoes!

For the obligatory drink I wanted to carry on with the breakfast theme and then thought I could also build on the frying theme and pan-fried some mango wedges and pineapple pieces to top my glass of pineapple juice. Very tasty and I loved the caramelisation of the mango and pineapple sugars, a pick me up in a glass.

I was a little late for Stephanie this month but to see those who weren’t so belated, check out the party here.

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