THERE is something about January which demands that we pull back
a bit. Even seasonal produce is less exuberant. And one of the
coldest months usually demands some comfort, too; so here are a
couple of recipes to help the weeks along.
This Omelette pie is popular in France, and
very easy to do. Make a meal of it with a green salad and tinned
1.5kg/3 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
225g/½ lb streaky bacon, chopped
one medium onion, chopped
small bunch chives
380ml/¾ pint milk
120g/4 oz grated cheese
Heat the oven to 190°/375°/Gas 4. Grease a large roasting tin
with butter. Fry the chopped bacon in a frying pan, then add the
onion, and continue cooking until soft. Line the base of the dish
with potatoes, and sprinkle over some of the onion and bacon, and a
twist of black pepper.
Repeat as above with potatoes, bacon, and pepper, until all
layers are finished. Beat the eggs, add the milk, snip in the
chives, and pour slowly over the potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle the
cheese on top, and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes to
1 hour. Serve in warm wedges.
Making a hot pudding is one of the real joys at this time of
year. This Rice pudding with blood oranges is a
touch above any basic recipe, and brings seasonality into the
kitchen, particularly if you are hoping to make marmalade some time
soon. They should be readily available in the shops, but a spoonful
of jam such as damson or raspberry is a happy alternative.
60g/2 oz unsalted butter
120g/4 oz short grain "pudding" rice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla pod
600ml/1 pint whole milk
1 tablespoon condensed milk
2 blood oranges, peeled and
Put half the butter into a saucepan and melt it, then add the
rice and ensure that everything is coated. Throw in the sugar and
spices, combine well, pour over the milk, and bring gently to the
boil. Split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife, and place into the
pan, too, making sure to scrape in the seeds.
Once the pan has reached the boil, turn it down and give the
pudding a brisk stir. Cook it on the lowest heat, and keep an eye
on it, being sure to give it the occasional mix from time to time.
After about half an hour, the rice should have absorbed the heat,
giving a thick and creamy texture.
When ready to serve (and this can be made in advance - just
reheat gently when needed), discard the vanilla pod, then stir in
the remaining half of butter and the condensed milk. Divide between
four or more bowls and place the orange segments in the centre of
each one. Happiness all round.