A little bit on the Side

I’m ready come the Revolution and we can all break out of Lockdown 2!  Up early one morning and wanting a job where I wouldn’t wake anyone else up, I cleaned out all the kitchen drawers, throwing out anything not used this year.  I then moved on to the fridge and  pantry – and later my wardrobe.  All very cathartic (if a little sad?) but so much easier to find anything – spatulas / a tin of sweetcorn / half eaten lemon icecream / pair of knickers – all immediately to hand meaning I’ll be out the door as soon as 2 December (England lockdown) ends. I miss my friends and my family; people to stay; lunches and suppers shared and all the little shops open in my nearby town.  When I started this blog it was to help those who suddenly found themselves on their own for whatever reason and had lost the joy of cooking as only for one.  Now, it seems, that many more of us are thus – definitely cooking for fewer people as a whole.  Remember, though, neighbours and less able people who may live nearby – cooking for one may not necessarily be so if you double up and leave/give a little something on a doorstep for them.

Last blog was about cooking simple but adding a sauce to spark up the everyday – this time I’m looking at side dishes – so you can still cook plain (sausages, chops, piece of fish etc) but adding something more adventurous on the side.

Apple, walnut and potato gratin

  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced 
  • 1 golden delicious apples, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 30g gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 60g grated cheddar
  • few walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Grease a 5cm-deep, 15cm x 26cm (6-cup capacity) ovenproof dish. Heat milk and garlic in a small saucepan until mixture just comes to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat. Arrange potato and apple slices, alternating, in rows in prepared dish. Push blue cheese in between slices. Strain milk mixture over potato mixture. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil. Sprinkle with cheddar and walnuts. Bake for 30 minutes or until potato and apple are tender and cheese is melted and golden. Stand for 5 minutes. Serve.
Baked Onions with Cheese
  • 2 – 3 onions trimmed at the root and peeled of skin and first layer
  • chicken stock 125ml
  • thyme a few sprigs
  • 25g soft white breadcrumbs (I keep a bag in the freezer, adding it to whenever I get to the end of a loaf that is not quite so fresh)
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil 
  • 25g mature cheddar, grated
  • 40 mls double cream 
  • 1/2 teasp English mustard (optional)

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Put the onions into a deep baking dish, season well and pour in the stock. Add the thyme sprigs then cover tightly with a double layer of foil. Put into the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes until the onions are really soft but still holding their shape Mix the breadcrumbs with the oil until fully coated, then mix in the cheddar, Remove the foil and heat the grill to high. Whisk together the cream and mustard, then pour into the onion dish. Put a pile of the cheesy breadcrumbs on top of each onion, then grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese and breadcrumbs are browned, and the sauce is bubbling.

Radish Salad

  • 100g radishes, ½ wedged, ½ sliced
  • 1 dessertspoon capers 
  • 1/2 small head of radicchio torn into pieces
  • 1/2 small head frisee, (frilly lettuce) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 white chicory, halved and root removed
  • 1/2 red chicory, halved and root removed
  • a handful of rocket
  • Dressing: garlic 1 small clove / anchovy fillets 30g (3 – 4 fillets), finely chopped / 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar / 3 dessertspoons olive oil

Put the radishes into a bowl of ice-cold water and soak for 15 minutes, then drain really well and pat dry. Grate the garlic, then tip into a bowl with the anchovies, red wine vinegar, olive oil and some seasoning, and whisk. Tip the radishes into a bowl with the capers and dressing, toss, then add the salad leaves and gently mix to coat. Tip into a large salad bowl and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower Florets

  • 3 dessertspoon olive oil 
  • 3 dessertspoon chipotle paste (to taste; find it in the supermarket isle with all other spices)
  • 1 crushed garlic
  • cauliflower florets, plus any small, tender leaves
  • 70 g soured cream 
  • mix of ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp mild chilli powder and the zest of ½ lime

Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Pour the olive oil, 2 tbsp of the chipotle paste and the garlic  into a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and mix well. Add the cauliflower florets and toss together. Tip into a roasting dish with any leaves and mix well. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until charred and smoky. Mix together the remaining chipotle paste and soured cream in a serving bowl. To serve, tip the cauliflower florets onto a serving plate and drizzle over the remaining oil. Scatter over the chilli and lime mix and serve with the chipotle soured cream for dunking.

A silver tray topped with orange roasted cauliflower with a pot of white sauce in the corner

November Boogie – YouTube   

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