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Winter 2007

When the nights get cold and frosty what we need is 'comfort' food. Here are two of my favourite dishes for a winter's evening.
Let me know your ultimate 'comfort' foods and I'll try to include a recipe in future pages. Happy Cooking! E.L.



BUBBLE AND LEEK CAKES (Makes 12 cakes)


1kg floury potatoes, e.g. King Edwards, washed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium leeks, washed and sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra to fry
50g / 2oz butter plus extra to fry
flour, for shaping
To Serve:
6 free range eggs, fried
6 slices of streaky or back bacon, grilled


Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces and boil until tender. Drain, then roughly mash - a few lumps are fine! Season with salt and pepper.

Gently heat two tablespoons of oil and 50g / 2oz butter in a frying pan and fry the leeks and onion for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned. Stir the vegetables into the mash.

Cool and chill overnight in the fridge. Next day, divide the mixture into twelve and shape into cakes. Dust all over in the flour, shaking off any excess. Gently heat some oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the bubble and leek cakes for about 3 minutes each side until golden brown and crisp.

Serve two cakes per person with crisp bacon and a fried egg on top.

THE ULTIMATE BAKED POTATO

  • For baking always choose a variety of potato that has a floury texture. King Edwards, Duke of York, Maris Piper or Kestral are all great for baking.
  • Before baking a potato first cut a large, shallow cross into the top. After baking, gently squeeze on both sides of the cross with the index finger and thumb of both hands. The potato will open up revealing the soft, fluffy inside ready for you to fill with whatever takes your fancy!
  • For a speedy spud, start the potatoes off in a microwave (approx. 4 minutes for 4 potatoes on full power) then pop into a hot oven to finish and crisp.


EASY-PEASY FISH PIE (Serves 6)


This has got to be the easiest fish pie recipe! For extra speed, I don't even peel the potatoes - though you can if you want! Leaving the skins on makes the top of the pie extra crispy and delicious. Choose a mixture of whatever fish you like: cod, haddock, salmon - you can even throw in some seafood or use a mixture of smoked and unsmoked fish.

1 kg / 2 lbs floury potatoes e.g. King Edwards
butter, for the mash and for frying
olive oil, for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely sliced or cubed
285ml / ½ pt double cream
2 handfuls of grated Cheddar cheese
juice of one small lemon
1 heaped teaspoon mustard
a handful of chopped parsley, optional
approx. 1kg / 2lbs fish, see above
To serve: with quickly boiled petit pois or steamed spinach.


Preheat the oven to 230ºC / 450ºF / Gas 8. Cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks and boil for approx. 10 minutes or until cooked. Drain the potatoes, add a knob of butter and mash roughly - a few lumps won't matter. Season and set aside.

Heat a knob of butter and a splosh of oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion and carrot for about 5 minutes. Add the double cream and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, lemon juice and mustard. Season with black pepper.

Remove the skin from any of the fish and cut the fish into large pieces - check for any bones. Arrange the fish in an even layer in an ovenproof dish or casserole. Pour over the sauce, sprinkle with the parsley and top with the mashed potato.

Cook for 45 - 55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Serve with peas or spinach.