Good Reading : May 2008
MAY 2008 ı goodreading 15 Spanish omelette This is my own variation on the simple, classic omelette from Spain which usually has just onions, garlic and potatoes as the basis. I bulk mine up with lots of vegetables and some bacon or chorizo sausage which makes it a more hearty meal for a hungry family. 3 medium size potatoes, peeled and halved 2 onions, peeled and chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, crushed 4 rashers of bacon, rind removed and chopped (or 2 chorizo sausages, sliced thinly) 1 red capsicum, diced 8 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup milk salt and pepper pinch cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly Parboil the potatoes for 10–12 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly. In a cast-iron or ovenproof frying pan sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft and translucent, adding the garlic towards the end. Now add the bacon (or chorizo) and continue to cook until brown but not crisp. Slice the potatoes and add them to the mix, allowing them to cook some more and become a little brown from the onion-bacon mix. When they seem cooked through add the capsicum and pour over the combined eggs and milk. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and chilli. On the lowest possible heat let the omelette cook until it appears partially set. Arrange tomatoes on the surface of the omelette. Put the pan under a hot grill – the omelette will puff up and turn a lovely golden brown. Test with a knife to ensure there are no runny eggs still inside and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving. Cooking time 25 minutes • Serves 4–6 cooking the books and I have accumulated an impressive and hilarious collection including The Golden Circle Tropical Recipe Book, Modern Gelatine Cookery and Margaret Fulton’s 100 Hostess Party Favourites. The recipes and photographs are outrageous, and among my favourite concoctions from the Hostess book are: Ham and Banana Chip Rolls: this involves dipping halved bananas in lemon juice and rolling them in crushed potato chips then wrapping them in sliced ham and cooking them under a hot grill. Spam Salad San Francisco: combines cold, cooked rice with thin slices of tinned spam, chopped shallots and cooked frozen peas, sprinkled with parsley. My early dinner parties as a single girl living away from home aimed to impress with elaborate recipes such as Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Cacciatore, Carpetbag Steak and Beef Wellington. Fondues were all the rage, with a candlelit centrepiece of bubbling cheese sauce and long skewers for the dipping of various meats and vegetables into the calorie-rich mix. My standard first course was a chicken liver pâté served with squares of toast, and then I usually made a cheesecake of some description for dessert. Compared to the three (or even five) course meals I serve today, these dinners were unbalanced and unhealthy because every dish was rich and fatty and there wasn’t enough salad or vegetables. Just imagine: cream in the pâté, cream in the stroganoff and cream in and on the cheesecake. I got better. I met David in 1971 when we were both working at Channel 9 – he as a television producer and me in publicity. We ‘moved in’ together and bought a semi-detached cottage with a small kitchen which I renovated with bright wallpaper and shelving. It was fairly hideous. I reverted to cooking my old favourite family recipes because they were more economical and authentic – not just fad or fashion. I also knew them off by heart and didn’t have to constantly refer to a cookbook for methods and measurements. However I did have a copy of Commonsense Cookery from my high school home economics class and, when it was first published, I bought The Australian Family Circle Cookbook because it had a wide range of great ideas that suited our lifestyle and our budget. When our children came along I enthusiastically introduced them to ‘solid’ food, probably long before it was really necessary, shovelling mashed brains and sieved vegetables into their toothless little mouths from the age of twelve weeks.When I compare this to how my grandchildren are being reared on a diet of nothing but breast milk for at least six months, I realise that it must have been a reflection of my nurturing disposition. I am driven to feed people, regardless of commonsense. Fortunately my force-feeding didn’t have any ong-term repercussions and the hildren developed an interest n what they were eating from very early age. Our daughter Miriam’s first structured entence was ‘What’s for dinner, Mum?’ Very telling. Mary Moody’s The Long Table: My love affair with food is published by ACP Books, rrp $49.95.