Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Tasty TV Dinners

I know lots of people do it differently, but this is the way we do it: the kids eat dinner around 5.30 or 6.00pm, whereas Himself and I eat later. Not only that, we eat different things. My kids are (nearly) 5 and 7 and still have a bland palate - they'd happily eat mild chicken curry, shepherd's pie and a couple of other "usual suspects" (bolognaise, pizza, Donegal Catch fish fillets, I know your kids eat them too!) every other day til they were 15. I cannot hack that level of repetition and so we cook something for ourselves after they are in bed. As a result, it is usually about 8.30pm when we eat, so we tend to eat it on our laps in the sitting room.

I've also recently been getting very fed up of our normal midweek dinners. Himself is extremely fed up of stir fries (although I'd never tire of them!) and really, if I see either my vegetable crumble or my cauliflower cheese again this winter, it'll be too soon. I've been meaning to re-try an old student staple of mine, and tonight seemed like a good night. It's so long since I made a Spanish omelette and the last few times weren't so successful, so I just thought I should cast a quick eye over a recipe. BBC Food is always a good idea, so I found this Delia Smith recipe for Spanish Omelette on their site. 


As you can see from the photo, I did tweak it a little, not least the addition of some red peppers - I always found the potato and onion mix alone to be a little bland. However, following Delia's instructions meant that we had a really delicious meal (turns out, I had been rushing the whole thing too much, that's why it was failing more and more with each attempt). And the great thing about a Spanish omelette means that it is also delicious served cold, at a picnic.

As usual, the recipe is pretty much verbatim.



Spanish Omelette

  • 1 medium onion (about 110g / 4oz)
  • ½ red pepper
  • 275g / 10oz potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  1. First some points to note. The size of the frying pan is important: a base measurement of  8 inches (20cm) diameter is about right for two to three people. If using a larger pan for more people, it should not be too heavy because you need to turn the omelette out using both hands. Use a non-stick pan if you don't have a well-seasoned frying pan. An enormous asset here is a flat saucepan lid or large plate that fits the pan.
  2. First of all, peel and cut the onion in half, then thinly slice each half and separate the layers into half-moon shapes. 
  3. Now thinly pare the potatoes using a potato peeler and slice them into thin-ish rounds ... you have to work pretty quickly here because you don't want the slices to brown. When they are sliced, rub them in a clean tea cloth or some dry kitchen tissue to get them as dry as possible.
  4. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the frying pan and, when it's smoking hot, add the potatoes and onions. Toss them around in the oil to get a good coating, then turn the heat right down to its lowest setting, add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, put a lid on the frying pan and let the onions and potatoes (and peppers, if sing them) and cook gently for 20 minutes, or until tender. Turn them over halfway through and shake the pan from time to time, as they are not supposed to brown very much but just gently stew in the oil.
  5. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl and, using a fork, whisk them lightly - it's important not to overbeat them. Finally, add some seasoning. When the onions and potatoes are cooked, quickly transfer them to the eggs in the bowl.
  6. Put the frying pan back on the heat, add the rest of the oil and turn the heat back up to medium. Then mix the potato and eggs thoroughly before pouring the whole lot into the frying pan and turning the heat down to its lowest setting immediately. Now forget all about French omelettes and be patient, because it's going to take 20-25 minutes to cook slowly, uncovered.
  7. Every now and then draw the edge in gently with a palette knife, as this will give it a lovely rounded edge. When there is virtually no liquid egg left on the surface of the omelette, turn it over to cook the other side. To do this, place a flat lid or plate over the pan, carefully invert both so that the omelette is on the lid or plate. Put the pan back on the heat and use the palette knife to gently ease the omelette back in. Give it about 2 minutes more, then turn the heat off and leave it for a further 5 minutes to settle. It should then be cooked through but still moist in the centre. 
  8. Serve hot or cold, cut in wedges, with a salad and a glass of Rioja - it's brilliant.
We served it with a simple salad - half a bag of rocket, a few cherry tomatoes, half a stick of celery finely chopped, a scallion, a grated carrot, some mixed seeds and a basic dressing, Bob's your uncle - the perfect TV dinner.

Sarah xx

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