Christopher started nursery school yesterday, so I'm now officially a 'school-run mum' and already immersed in the world of sewing on nametapes and remembering PE kit. He was exhausted yesterday evening, so a quick dinner of cottage pie and an early bedtime was in order. He seems to be enjoying it, though, and has talked about little else since going (though he does save time for chatting abour Wallace and Gromit, whose films are the current favori du roi)
Karl and I had friends over for supper last night, a couple Karl knows from work who live relatively close to us. I got together a few 'nibbles' as a starter; olives, some of my quince paste with chunks of Manchego cheese from Ultracomida in Aberystwyth, chorizo sausage and some very moreish paprika-toasted almonds cooked (for about the hundreth time) from the recipe in my copy of the beautiful, evocative Moro cookbook. As the main course, I poked some soft Welsh goat's cheese under the skin of some free-range organic chicken legs, then roasted them on a bed of sliced red onion and halved cherry tomatoes, with a handful of rosemary tips and a good slug of Chardonnay. Hardly a recipe, but delicious nonetheless and a million variations on the theme exist. A pot of rice to go with was the only accompaniment required, and pudding was a plate of my Fabulous Chocolate Brownies.
Tonight, the boys and I are on our own as Karl has a late shift at work, so dinner was a simple affair, Pan Haggerty with a bowl of grated raw carrot as a side dish. I first cooked Pan Haggerty, a traditional Lancashire dish with a wonderful name, after reading about it in William Black's wonderful The Land that Thyme Forgot, and have since found it to be a wonderful, easy family supper. It's one of those 'storecupboard affair that you can easily rely on and only needs about 10 minutes of 'hands-on' work. My Hubby (Yorkshire born and bred) easily overlooks its white-rose roots because it is so yummy. Try if you can, to get a 'tasty' rather than a 'creamy' Lancashire, as the texture and flavour are far better for this dish. You can use whatever size of pan you need to cook for the number of folk you've got to feed - pan haggerty is definitely a stretchable feast! Just remember that it will take longer to cook the more layers you have.
butter and oil
potatoes, peeled and sliced
onions, halved and sliced
Lancashire cheese (and see above)
Heat a good-sized knob of butter and a splash of vegetable oil in a pan. Layer potatoes and onions in the pan with crumbled or grated cheese and plenty of seasoning. Tightly cover the pan and cook over a moderate heat for 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender. Put the (uncovered) pan under a blazing grill to brown the top and serve straight from the pan at the table.