Friday, 10 February 2012

Things on Toast

'Things on Toast' is what I eat when I'm tired and I don't really have any energy to cook. As in 'I can't really be bothered to make anything shall we just have 'things on toast'? A hunt through the fridge usually produces a couple of options; there's often some bacon lying around or chorizo or black pudding. Pork is always a welcome addition, eggs, stray vegetables, herbs... and the resulting meal is two little slices of toast, each with a different topping... It's actually one of my favourite meals, maybe not grand enough for weekend dining or guests, but a pretty lovely treat on a Tuesday in front of the TV... It began as cheese on toast, what better place to start, and has evolved, mainly over the past year, into a whole chapter of options...

One of the first guises of 'things on toast' was Lemony Courgettes, this was a Hugh recipe originally that I read in some supplement a long time ago. It is chopped courgettes cooked in olive oil, slowly, with a chopped clove of garlic added after about 10 minutes. Continue to cook them until very soft and a bit golden, then add lemon juice to taste, salt and pepper and a big handful of chopped mint... This is one of my favourites. The oil goes all green and lemony and delicious and soaks into the toast. I've also made a yoghurt with more chopped mint in it to dollop on the top in the past. This is probably the most complicated of my toast dishes.

Others include Bacon and Broad Beans on Toast. Fry diced bacon, blanch the beans, add the beans to the bacon pan with loads of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. That's one of the easiest ones...

The scrambled eggs are self explanatory, but a few tips I have picked up from Elizabeth David; don't add milk, just lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, they are ready before you think they are... Add the eggs to a pan and heat, I then take them on and off the heat as I'm cooking as I'm so fearful of an overdone scrambled egg. Take them off the heat finally before you think they are done, when they are creamy but still loose and a little raw, and continue to stir in the pan until they are soft and silky. Top with fried chorizo chunks.

The Chorizo, Chestnut and Thyme Toast is a new one to the list. Chestnuts fried slowly in butter for five minutes, add some diced chorizo and fresh thyme leaves and fry until the chorizo has turned a little brown but not too crispy. Add to the top of the toast with all the juices.

Wild mushrooms, fried with butter and garlic and lots of chopped parsley... I was given some lovely hedgehog mushrooms in the Autumn, they were pretty special. Sometimes it is just a bit of black pudding, especially if it is a really good one. Puréed fresh blanched broad beans and peas with mint, salt and pepper and olive oil, toast, black pudding and bacon, anyone fancy? Or just the Black Pudding with Broad Beans and Mint... I loved the Duck Hearts on Toast and have since tried duck liver as well, fried in butter with a splash of chicken stock and balsamic vinegar, it is totally delicious and not nearly as scary as it sounds! The combinations are interchangeable, the end result is always tasty... I will continue to expand my things on toast repertoire over the coming year and get back to you with more ideas...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x