Dusting off the lunchbox

Been relatively quiet on these pages recently, not because we’re not cooking (we are, gotta eat, don’t do a lot of ready meals in this house) but because it’s hard to write about food when you are feeling sluggish and  feel like the back end of a horse – I am suffering from a body image problem, which I’m not going to talk anymore about as reading about dieting is about as boring as actually doing it.

We have been busy harvesting the free food of Warwickshire. Nothing too adventurous just the usual sort of jams and things – not like my brother who has been busy bottling sloe and apple jelly – don’t think that one is destined for toast, probably more of a savoury use like red currant jelly.

I’m hoping that the start of the school year and the need to make lunch on a daily basis for Spider, who is notoriously difficult to make sandwiches for (other than cheese) will spark off my interest in food again. We are also back on the watching our budget and not wasting anything regime…

I have been watching Economy Gastronomy recently, and like a lot of people have been amazed at the generosity of the “budget”, either we are miscalculating what we spend or we are already thriftier than average. I have not until this evening made anything from the book – however the co-op were selling 12 eggs at half price (otherwise I’d never have made a frittata with 8 eggs), we also had potatoes (red not new) and spring onions which needed using, always have chorizo and there was a tablespoon of clotted cream lurking in the fridge (to which I added some hot water and lemon juice as a sour cream substitute). It was OK, nothing special, perhaps it really needs the salsa they recommend with it, but it did use up the leftovers, served with some half price garlic bread AND there is still enough left fo r 2 lunches this week, as frittata is quite nice cold.

will link the recipe when they put it up on the BBC website

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Delia’s Egg, Chorizo and Pepper Gratin for the ill prepared.

I am not sure if this recipe means that I am well prepared or ill prepared. This was the final recipe from chapter 1 (other than the eggs benedict) and can be found here.

When I decided to make it I did not have fresh peppers, onions, tomatoes, Gruyere cheese or even gratin dishes however I did have most of the ingredients in the freezer plus a fairly elderly garlic clove.

So last night’s dinner was sort of an homage to Delia’s “How to Cook” and her “How to Cheat” as I used frozen onions and peppers which I defrosted first and then strained off a lot of the water. The tomatoes came from a jar labelled “sun dried tomatoes in oil with chili” and I added half a tin of chopped tomatoes towards the end of the frying bit of the cooking as I was a little concerned that it would be too small a dish for 2 people.

Once I’d completed the frying stage I divided the mixture into 2 and spread each part across the glass lid of a casserole dish which I was using as stand in gratin dishes, placed ready sliced emmental over the top and baked in the oven for 15 minutes before serving with some half baked French bread I found lurking in a cupboard.

Admittedly it’s probably not as good as the original as only the eggs were fresh, but I think it has potential as a “supper dish”, especially if I can do it from store cupboard standbys – mine was a little over cooked I think as at the last minute Husband nipped out to the shop in order to comply with the final instructions in the recipe “serve with a robust red”.

An Omelette and a glass of wine (Chapter 2)

No, I haven’t suddenly gone all Elizabeth David on you, I have simply reached chapter 2 of Delia, and can’t at the moment face writing about chapter 1, besides am waiting for chapter 3 of Delia before I tackle the Eggs Benedict in chapter 1.


Anyway I have for most of this week been making omelettes. I started with the Spanish omelette or tortilla as that was closest to my usual omelette cooking (the infamous “hope omelette” made out of the leftovers in the fridge – as in “I hope this tastes ok”). The other reason for making this first is that we have some potatoes starting to chit!


This is probably not something I would do often as you have to keep coming back to it. I prefer cooking that is either over and done in 10 minutes or something you can leave in the oven and ignore – with this you have to slowly sweat the thinly sliced onions and potatoes for 20 minutes or so before mixing with the eggs and cooking slowly again for another 25 minutes, and then leave it to stand for 5 minutes – it was surprisingly nice for such simple ingredients – although next time I will sweat the onion mixture for longer.


Second night and it was back to the start of the chapter for a standard omelette – after reading and ignoring several pages about how to choose the perfect omelette pan (we have one, its non stick, it works, end of discussion). I have never made this sort of omelette before,(mine are more like pancake calzone), but they are surprisingly quick, surprisingly simple – not sure why people make such a fuss about them.  After making the standard recipe you can then add what you like to them – Delia has half a page of alternatives, which I am not going to do at this point, otherwise my family will be in revolt – I just made a plain one for me and a cheese one for Husband. There’s not a lot else to say about them except that yes Delia is spot on here with her method.


Tonight was a cheese souffle omelette for Husband and a mushroom frittata for me – the mushroom frittata wasn’t brilliantly successful as I halved the quantities (original serves 4) and I just used big field mushrooms rather than a mixture oh and red leicester rather than gruyere as that’s what we had in. The souffle omelette ? Was that a hit ? Question ? “how is it ?”, Husband’s answer (note, always ask people how the food it whilst they have something in their mouths, then all they can do is smile and nod) “It’s on-erful…”…when he’d recovered he did say that it “ticks every box for me”

So after Chapter 2 I would say there are 2 recipes that may become regulars, the souffle and a Tortilla…possibly won’t do the french omelette too often, its ok, but omelettes in this house are often a way of using up left overs so will stick with the “hope omelette”.