Friday, March 09, 2007

Bubble and squeak

I have always been wary of breading things (coating them in breadcrumbs and frying them, I mean). The breadcrumbs never form an even layer; they fall off; they stick to your hands. Nevertheless, if you expect that to happen, and learn to be relaxed about it, you can get reasonable results.

I had a cereal bowlful of leftover mashed potato, and slightly more leftover kale. (Equal quantities would have been ideal, but the imbalance did not matter.) I put some flour on a plate, beat an egg in a bowl, and, in a third bowl, put about 5 tbsp of breadcrumbs. I added some pepper to the mash, which I merged with the kale and formed into two patties the size of chunky hamburgers.

I warmed a frying pan, and heated a layer of sunflower oil until a breadcrumb started sizzling in it. (The heat means that the potato cake will form a crust quickly, and therefore will not absorb a huge amount of oil.) I turned the patties in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, and fried them for about three minutes on each side. The flour helps the egg to stick; the egg helps the breadcrumbs to stick.

As I have written before, potato cakes of this size will brown before they are warmed through. I transferred them to a baking sheet, and put them into a gas mark 6/200 C oven for 10 minutes.


TTJ said...

I've started to read your book. The measures on page 16 for Bechamel seems weird. There is no way a tablespoon of flour can weigh 28 grams: Water is denser than flour. 15 ml water (a tablespoon) weighs 15 grams.

As I understand it, with a B├ęchamel sauce you should use volume measures. You should add equal volumes of butter and flour.

The simple way of making a sauce is to blend/mix flour and butter add it to coldish milk and heat while you stir. Almost foolproof.

If you want a fat free sauce, add cold milk to flour in a container. Either use a blender to blend or close the container and shake. The shaking works best with lots of air inside and/or a small hard object inside. Bring the mixture to boil by heating it carefully while stirring every now and then.


TTJ said...

While I'm at it: There is a few measures that you forgot in the Weight and Measures section: In my part of the world ml is hardly ever used, but there is a lot of desiliters and liters in the receipes.

1 liter = 10 dl = 1000 ml
tablespoon = 15 ml
Teaspoon = 5ml

Nicholas Clee said...

I've just weighed a tbsp of flour: it did come to about 28 g. My recipe books all suggest making a bechamel with equal quantities (in grams) of butter and flour.

Q said...

I've now had enough of being stared at blankly in cookery ware shops after asking if they have any "heat dispersers". Nobody knows what the hell they are. Not exactly easy to find on the web either. Can you tell me where I might find one?
Jarlath Quinn

Mark said...

Re Heat Dispersers, I found mine in Debenhams, I think John Lewis sells them too as does Lakeland. They are usually labelled as a 'heat diffuser' - if you do a froogle search you will come up with loads:

Nicholas Clee said...

Sorry about that, Jarlath: "heat diffuser" is probably the more common term. Still, you'd wouldn't have thought that this slight difference in terminology should nonpluss anyone.