Glory and behold: There is a post!
I’m sorry about the long long delay. My main excuse at the moment is that I don’t have any internet access at home right now. This is being written during my lunch break at work.
But enough of excuses. On to food.
About a week ago I came home one evening, in that in between zone of botheredness where I do feel like cooking but going shopping for food was simply too much effort.
So. What did I have in the fridge? There was a largeish tub left over of roast vegetables (a mix of onions, garlic, peppers, courgettes, aubergine, tomatoes and mushrooms, roasted with an awful lot of salt and olive oil), so that would serve as a good vegetable side dish. I just needed a main dish to serve it with.
The fridge wasn’t quite bare other than that, but it was certainly scantily clad. After some digging around I settled on the some cold leftover brown rice, 5 medium sized vine tomatoes, a carton of eggs. There might have been one or two other things, but those were all I ended up using in terms of primary ingredients. I also had a fresh basil plant sitting on the window sill and some colmanns mustard, both of which I used for flavouring. Plus of course miscellaneous cupboard ingredients.
Now. What to make with them?
In envisioned some sort of fried rice type thing – scrambled eggs with fried tomatoes and rice. Sounded nice enough. This wasn’t quite how it turned out…
What I used.
Cold cooked brown rice. Probably about the equivalent of 2.5 cups dry volume.
5 medium sized tomatoes.
A small handful of fresh basil
Roast vegetable mix
What I did.
I knew the tomatoes would give off quite a lot of water, so I decided to fry them first to reduce some of that. I diced them up fairly coarsely, heated a fair bit of olive oil in the frying pan and set them to frying with a bit of salt and sugar. After a few minutes I shredded the basil and added it to the tomatoes.
It was obvious pretty quickly that there was a basic flaw in my plan. Diced tomatoes don’t so much fry as turn into sauce. That’s ok. I can work with that…
Before I continue, I should explain briefly the phenomenon that is Colman’s mustard. It looks like a fairly generic yellow mustard, but it is in fact ridiculously spicy. My friend Vern, who recently came over to visit from the wrong side of the pond, first encountered it when we were both visiting my family. He thought at first that it was similar to French’s (a mustard which, as far as I can verify, tastes mostly of yellow), and my brother and I were rather impressed at the size of the helping he took.
He later described it as “Spicy death mustard”.
So, I was going to be verrrry careful with my use of it.
The way I used it might strike you as slightly odd. However, that’s only because it’s a slightly odd way of using it. I cracked the four eggs into a bowl, added about 3tbsp of balsamic vinegar, a tsp of brown sugar and maybe half a tsp of Colman’s mustard and whisked it all up. I’ve done variants on this before, where I’ve added small amounts of vinegar and soy sauce to eggs before using them in chinese style fried rice, and it usually works quite well.
Now there was a slight problem. I wanted to keep the egg distinct from the tomato while it was cooking. Partially because I still thought it was going to become fairly solid, partially because I’m always leery of undercooked egg and mixing it with liquid make it fairly hard to tell if egg is sufficiently cooked.
“Ah ha” thought I. “Am I not an engineer now? Well, I shall think like an engineer!” (ok, so technically I build web applications rather than bridges. But I’m sure the principle is the same. Although granted fewer people are likely to die horrifically if my web applications crash…). The resulting dam of brown rice across the frying pan wasn’t going to win any prizes, but it certainly served the purpose of partitioning the frying pan into the bit where the sauce cooked and the bit where the egg cooked.
It also meant that there wasn’t all that much surface area for the egg to cook on, and there was rather a lot of egg. Also, adding the mustard and that much liquid seemed to do interesting things to the consistency of the egg. It wasn’t cooking very well, so I turned up the heat and stirred continuously.
What I was left with was a somewhat unappetising looking vaguely grey porridge.
Never mind. We soldier on.
I mixed the rice, sauce and egg up together. The unappetising grey colour gave way to a slightly orange sauce coating the rice. Much more appealing, although perhaps a little gloopy.
I tried a bit. Nice, but perhaps a little unexciting. I decided that it would work better with the roast vegetables mixed in rather than on the side, so I added those. Perhaps two or three cups of roast vegetables? I’m not really sure.
It was definitely an improvement. It tasted really quite nice now. I was just a little disappointed with the spicy death mustard – you could hardly taste it really. So I decided to add a fair bit more, and mixed in about half a tbsp more and fried it for a little longer.
I took another bite.
You know what’s coming, don’t you?
In fact, you probably know what’s coming so well that there’s really no need for me to regail you with stories of my prancing around the kitchen screaming in horror at the blazing fire that had been lit upon my tastebuds.
Just as well really, because it wasn’t that spicy. The mustard added just the right undertone of bite to it without making it actually hot.
Definitely a recipe worth remembering. I’ve actually made it again since first cooking it.
Having tinkered with the quantities, the only major change I’ve made to it is I’ve reduced the amount of vinegar slightly. I’ve tried it without the roast vegetables, and really they are a neccesary part of the recipe – it just isn’t interesting enough without something like that in it.
If you don’t have the vegetables preroast then you could probably replace them with just frying peppers, mushrooms and onions and adding them to the recipe (or cooking the sauce with them after they’ve fried for a bit).
I don’t think this recipe is actually original to me – I have vague recollections of my mother cooking something similar. I wouldn’t swear to it though, and I certainly don’t know what it’s called.