Alexander Averin

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Dear Diary,

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other. 

Chinese Proverb

The tulip photo was taken by M.  The tulips are from my garden and they are in a vase with a few sprigs of my ribes sanguinem - flowering redcurrant.

And now a poem:

The Back of the Refrigerator

It’s like the subway

In the middle of rush hour

Where some year old mayonnaise

Nudges yesterday’s tuna

For a place in this coveted no-man’s-land

Where leftovers reign supreme

And for this food     

It’s the end of the line.

Ellen Fuchs

I am posting a recipe today that is so easy to make and  really delicious.  Great for days like today when I had nothing planned and nothing much in the fridge. 

And it’s cheap too!.

Onion, bacon and potato hotpot

(I won’t give any measures, I just adapt it to however many people I am feeding).

Peel and slice up some potatoes, red ones or any variety that have a good flavour.
Slice up some onions.
Cut up some back bacon with scissors into bite-sized pieces.
Chuck it all in a casserole/gratin dish and mix up together.
Pour in a carton of cream.  I used Elmlea which is only slightly healthier.
Add enough milk to make enough ‘sauce’ to just coat/nearly cover the ingredients.
Add loads of grated cheese and stir in some mustard powder.
Give it all a good shake.
Cover with lid or foil.
Bake for one hour covered at Gas no. 6
Bake for one hour uncovered at about 4.
Don’t let it dry out, check occasionally, add more milk/cream if it does.
It is done when the potatoes are cooked. It may take longer depending on the thickness of the potatoes.

You can make this by adding home made cheese sauce but to save time today I just slung in  cream and milk and grated cheese.

You can also save cooking time by gently frying the onions and/or parboiling the potatoes and very gently frying the bacon first but I think it always tastes even better if all is cooked from ‘raw’.  It is the sort of dish that you can leave and go work in the garden then come in (exhausted) and just cook some green veg. to go with it.  Cabbage is lovely  in the winter or broccoli and cauliflower which is what we had today.

We also had Bread Pudding today, another family favourite.  I once worked with a woman who called it Irish Wedding Cake! All I can say is it might be cheaper but in my opinion it tastes much, much nicer than wedding cake.  It is something I was given as a child but the recipe I use now is dear old St Delia’s and if anyone would like it let me know.  It is great for using up leftover bread.

I'll finish with another wee poem.

The Cabbage and the Rose

I wonder if the cabbage knows

He is less lovely than the Rose;

Or does he squat in smug content,

A source of noble nourishment;

Or if he pities for her sins

The Rose who has no vitamins;

Or if the one thing his green heart knows --

That self-same fire that warms the Rose?


Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Kaycie said...

That dish sounds positively decadent, what with all that cream and cheese!

Pipany said...

I am going to make your hotpot later this week Cait. Sounds lovely. We eat bread pudding a fair bit here too (Irish grandmother!) x

Preseli Mags said...

That's a photo? I thought it was a painting. It's beautiful. That's a very scrummy sounding back of the fridge recipe too.

blackbird said...

The hot pot sounds great and I think that it's plain enough for my son to like it. I make scalloped potatoes with just sliced potatoes, butter, enough milk to cover and a long cook. Bacon would be a bonus.

Our flowering currant is past here but a glory in its flowering- full of hummingbirds.

Frances said...

Cait, your post is a delight from the Henry painting at the top, past the tulip photo ... could that truly be a photo, past the poems and the recipes.

I want to rush over to your place and have some of that hotpot and bread pudding.


Pondside said...

Sounds yummy - I have a feeling that the recipe will star in many kitchens this week.
Loved both the poems!

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Oh yes please... Your recipe for Bread Pudding. My husband is always wanting to make this.

Gorgeous photo. And very cute poems. I don't know which poem I like the best. :-)

'Aunt Amelia'

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Jeepers, that recipe sounds good! And I adore both poems!! I have been working all day with the question in the back corner of my mind..."What shall I make for dinner???". Perhaps this will be just the thing! Thanks!!

DJ Kirkby said...

Oooh thank you for the recipe. I would love to see the bread pudding one please.

Milla said...

that photo is stunning, I thought it was a painting, very Chinese it looks which I thought fitted with your quote. Anyway, yes, that food sounds nice. very nice.

Calico Kate said...

Love the sound of that Hot pot and we'll be trying it soon. I guess it could be done in a slow cooker whilst we are away in Glasgow for the day. Heaven to come back to it all ready and fragrant.
I Love that Cabbage/rose poem too.

Calico Kate said...

Oh & forgot to say just how much I liked that photo/picture. I did think it was a painting, really lovely.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Cait,

Ooh, that dish sounds wonderful! thanks Cait, I will have a go at making this.

I loved the Poems, and what a very pretty picture taken by 'M', I used to grow Ribes in our old cottage garden, must get some for here, love them.

The photo would look wonderful in frame for your sweet cottage Cait.