I was bored.
I don’t just mean the sort of boredom that arises from not being very interested in what you are doing, I mean the sort of soul crushing mind numbing boredom that rises up from the deep, saps you of all your energy and causes you to reach the point where anything you might do to prevent the boredom just seems like too much work.
As you can imagine, this sort of boredom is a problem. I get it a lot, and being currently unemployed (which will change soon, hurrah! I just need to decide which offer to accept.) while all my friends are gainfully employed in jobs or PhDs, I’m particularly prone to it at the moment. There are plenty of things I could be doing, but if I get into a slump then they all seem like too much effort.
This time however, a solution arose. Lunchtime.
My stomach grumbled. “David”, it said “I hunger. You should feed me.”
“I don’t know. That sounds like a lot of work.
“Yeah, it is. But if you don’t feed me then I’ll be forced to escape from your body and go on a rampage. Millions will die to sate my hunger, and it will be all your fault.”
“Hmm. Well, that would be bad, yes. But I’m still not sure…”
My brain chimed in. “Yes. You should cook something. I’m bored out of your mind here. Cook something new and write it up for ‘Playing with your food’. That way you’ll have an hour or two of entertainment, and your three readers will get something to amuse them as well.”
“Alright, alright. You’ve convinced me.”
When your body parts conspire against you there’s really nothing to do but to go along with their wishes.
Unfortunately I was still uninspired. This needed to be remedied if I were to effectively produce a new meal. So, Robin, to the blogmobile!
My method of finding new cooking blogs to peruse was very simple. I wandered over to Food, in the main… and clicked on every link on the right hand side of the page.
Eventually I settled on this. I’ve heard about latkes before and I keep thinking “Hmm, I should try to make those.” but never get around to it. Well, the time for procrastination was over. Latkes it is.
Purely by chance, somewhere in between deciding on this and cooking it I thought I’d check my weight (I haven’t in months) and noted that I’d somehow managed to drop down to about my desired ideal weight with no conscious effort on my part. Right after christmas and new years.
How much oil was in that recipe again?
Anyway, time for some cooking.
What I used
About 7 small to medium potatoes, peeled
Three small white onions
1/2 tbsp of salt
1/2 a cup of flour
1/2 a cup of sunflower oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
What I did
As you will probably have noticed if you’ve followed the above link, there’s not really an awful lot of resemblance between my ingredients and Debbie’s ingredients. They’re the same sort of things, but the quantities are only tangentially related. This is in part due to my usual tendency to adapt, in part because I peel potatoes on autopilot and peeled far more potatoes than I actually needed before I knew it, and mostly because the recipe was all the way upstairs and it would be so much work to go up and check it.
I used the grateresque attachment for the food processor and got a large pile of shredded potato. As directed I put it into a metal colander and squeezed as much of the juice out as I could, but it was still quite damp. It was at this point I decided to employ low cunning to complete the task and sprinkled the salt over it, mixed it up thoroughly and went to do the onions. These I decided that rather than shredding I would do with the normal processor blades, turning them into more of an onion puree.
As an idle observation, if you run the grater attachment to the food processor and just drop a potato on top of it then it bounces about in an amusing manner. I can’t help but imagine the little potato pleading for its life as it avoids the spinning blades.
But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, I’d decided to mix the Latkes in the kenwood. Why? Because I’m lazy, that’s why. And it’s the same amount of washing up, so why not? I transferred the onion to the kenwood bowl and returned my attention to the potato. The salt had done its work quite admirably and I was able to squeeze a lot more liquid out of it. Having done so I transferred it to the kenwood as well.
I then added the eggs, flour and baking soda and mixed it all up. It produced a batter with a texture fairly similar to my normal pancake mix, which was encouraging.
I then poured the oil into a nonstick pan and heated it. At this point I looked at the pan, slightly disbelieving. Buddha on a pogo stick that’s a lot of oil… I know I have recipes which use almost that much oil, but that’s in a large curry. The sole purpose of this oil is for frying things in. This somehow makes it more alarming.
Anyway, I used a heaped spoonfull of batter for each latke. The pan fit about four of them, and there was enough batter to make eight. I fried them for five minutes on each side until they were a darkish brown.
Towards the point where I wanted to flip the first batch I noticed that the best spatula was currently in a pile of washing up leftover from my brother cooking bacon and egg earlier (the irony amused me briefly). I quickly washed it up and moved to flip the latkes.
Point of reference? Putting a wet spatula into very hot oil isn’t a great idea. Ouch.
Anyway, latkes duly flipped, they cooked for another five minutes and then I transferred them to a plate and put the next batch on.
I was already pretty sure these would be good. They smelled wonderful.
Good lord. They tasted even better. These are really really good.
I’d made far more than I was going to be able to eat, so I rushed upstairs to get the Boy. (‘The Boy’ is my affectionate name for my brother).
“Boy”, says I, “Would you like to try something indescribably delicious?”
The Boy is skeptical. I cook strange and unnatural things, with vegetables and hardly any dead animal to speak of. However upon my description of what a latke is (“It’s basically a pancake made out of shredded potato and onion”) he is convinced to give it a go.
The Boy agrees. They’re really very good. He’s rather full from having had the aforementioned bacon and egg, so he only has one, but I make up for this by having three (and another one halfway through writing this post). The rest will keep to be reheated in the oven later.
So, a definite success. They do generate a lot of washing up, and they do stink up the house, but they taste amazing.
The only thing I would do differently in future is make sure that they really were a quite dark brown. Some of them were slightly undercooked and, while still nice, they were a bit to soft inside and lacked the crispness of the really well cooked ones.