Cooking lessons 2

Right, here’s the first real cooking lesson. There would have been one before this in which I discussed how to make the garlic lentils in a slightly more sane manner, but stuff got in the way. So I didn’t.

At the moment Michael is still spice free, causing me to need to be vaguely creative to work with the limited flavourings and ingredients available. Here’s what I came up with as a suggested dinner for tonight. It’s basically a mixture of things which are easy to make.

Pan fried potatoes

These have, for all intents and purposes, no nutritional value. However they taste great and are cheap and easy to make, so why complain?

First of all, you’ll need boiled potatoes for this. Cold is better, because hot potatoes are a nuisance to cut and don’t retain their shape as well, but either is fine. So, first we need to boil some potatoes. I recommend making excess potato and storing the rest in those sandwich bags I told you to get, as these are always useful to have to hand and if you have precooked potato in the fridge then this becomes even easier to make.

This is a complicated procedure akin to rocket science. You take a large quantity of unpeeled potatoes, given them a rinse and put them in a pot. You cover it with water. Put the heat on high until the water boils and then reduce the heat to medium and leave it to cook. Check them after about 20 minutes, and remove when cooked. They need to be soft when you stick a knife into them (check several as this will vary with potato size and they’re better slightly overcooked than undercooked).

Once the potatoes are cooked, let them cool for a bit (it may help to leave them to sit in a pot of cold water for a few minutes), then cut them up into roughly cm cubes (you don’t need to be too careful when doing this).

Now get a frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom in a thin layer. You may want to add a small amount of butter as well. Let it get hot and then add the potato cubes and sprinkle a fair bit of salt over the potatoes.

This will need to fry for quite a while until the cubes get crispy. Stir it every minute or so, but not constantly – prolonged contact with the frying pan is needed to crip the potatoes.

Spicy tomato sauce

Ingredients: One medium sized onion, garlic puree, lazy chillies, tomato passata, oil, salt

What to do:

Dice the onion fairly finely. Fry on medium heat with a little bit of oil and a pinch of salt.

After about five minutes, add a small spoon of lazy chillies and garlic puree (slightly more garlic than chillies if anything) to the onions and continue stirring until the onions are soft. Then add about half a bottle of passata, mix it up thoroughly and reduce the heat. Leave it on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.

Serve with the pan fried potatoes (you probably don’t want to put the sauce directly on them, as it will soak in and they’ll lose their crispiness. Serve on the side and mix as you eat).

Next post: Salads.

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