Outstanding = late, not particularly wonderful
One and a half pounds of Duchesse potatoes
4 eggs [if you’re feeding four people or have two very hungry people]
That’s from the recipe book, not terribly helpful? Let me fill you in on how to make the “Duchesse” Potatoes.
Don’t forget to pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7 / 425 degrees F
People the potatoes, cut into equal sized pieces so that they’ll all cook evenly. Simmer until tender in boiling, lightly salted water [remember = simmer to glimmer, boil to spoil!] Drain the potatoes. Add gloibule of butter and a slosh of milk. Mash together until smooth. It should have a soft consistency. [do not whiz in magimix/Cuisinarte, there are no shortcuts] Spoon the potato into four oven proof dishes. [or do as the recipe says and find a forcing bag with a no.10 star nozzle and pipe into the individual bowls, maybe you have more time than I do and like doing extra washing up?] Break eggs carefully so as not to break the yolk. Make a well in the centre of each potato bowl and gently sploop one egg into each. Place butter shaving on each yolk and place in the oven. The recipe calls for baking for 10 – 15 minutes, but with my oven it’s more like 7 minutes or the eggs will turn in to tyre rubber, so experiment because you probably don’t want runny whites either = yuk! If you are also washing up averse, you can build little mountains of mashed potato on a sheet of parchment paper placed on a baking sheet, then make little wells for the eggs, add the eggs as above and bake. After baking you can lift off each little mountain with a fish slice [if you have a thick enough bottom!] without breaking the egg, and toss the paper!
Because they are dishless / bowless they cook faster too.
Peculiar but tasty “Naans”
Four and a quarter cups of bread flour
3 tsp of salt
3 tsp of fast acting dried yeast
1 and three quarter cups of water
Tip into bread machine on ‘dough’ setting for a couple of hours or knead together by hand [not recommended] or toss into mixer to churn.
If you’re doing this by hand, set aside covered with a damp cloth to rise [double in size] and repeat [once.]
Meanwhile make yummy stuff to put in the middle of your Naans as this may encourage people to take a bite on the promise of something more interesting inside.
One pretty safe bet is to saute a medium sized, finely chopped onion. Leave it in the pan with a heap of garlic and olive oil until it caramelized.
Use lots of flour to stop yourself and your dough becoming one. Divide the dough into four. Divide each fourth into two equal sized pieces. Persuade each piece into an oval shape. Place a quarter of the onion mixture in the centre, spread it out to leave an inch margin and squish the two ovals together around the outer edges. Place all four ovals on a baking tray, cover with damp towel, leave in warm place to double in size.
Heat the griddle / hot plate / frying pan to 425 degrees. Put one teaspoonful of olive oil on the hot plate and wipe over the entire surface with a wad of kitchen paper [do not burn finger tips] Plop Naan onto hot plate an leave it there for 2 to three minutes on one side before you flip it over and cook the other side. Do not poke it, leave it to cook. Lift off onto a warm plate, cover with the tea towel and cook the other naans in turn.
Other fillings that work well =
A bunch of chopped sauteed green onions / scallions
Finely chopped Coriander [cilantro]
A cupful of raisins previously plumped in boiling water, mixed with desiccated coconut and a tablespoonful of chutney or pickle
If you put the Naans in the oven instead of the hot plate, then they puff up like rugby balls, which means that you will now have to eat something that is the same size as your head. This is useful information because if you eat a whole flat Naan because you were good and cooked it on the griddle, then once it is inside your tummy it will then expand to something the size of a rugby ball! you have been warned.