Start the week with Bubble and Squeak!

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Start the week with Bubble and Squeak!

I have come across many books that actually give you a recipe for this wonderful leftover concoction. How odd! No recipe needed – just good left overs from your Sunday lunch or from frankly any day! We had a delectable rib of beef yesterday and accompanied it with steamed pointy cabbage – I am sure no doubt it has a proper name – but pointy cabbage does the business for me – it is cabbage – and it is long, thin and…pointy! I also made a smooth, delicious marsala gravy – and of course stunning home made Yorkshire puds. So…home alone at lunch today, out came the left over cabbage and baby new potatoes – I am saving the left over beef for tomorrow.

I chopped it up and then popped a knob of unsalted butter and a gurgle of olive oil into a pan and when it was hot I added a slice of Ayrshire smoked bacon cut into strips. When it was just cooked I added the cabbage and the potatoes. I left it on a medium heat until it became all nice and sticky and  just  a  little crisp.

This is an old dish, named after the sound it makes in the pan when cooking – though mine, I have to say, produced little in the way of squeaking, more of a low purr really – and was first mentioned in a cook book as far back as 1806 by a Maria Rundell in her marvellously entitled tome:

‘A New System of Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families.’

Not quite as catchy as ‘The Naked Chef’ or ‘Kitchen Diaries’ but hey….

Well, whatever, it is a winner in my book – it is buttery and warming and despite its simplicity, humbleness and lack of pedigree or finesse it is absolutely delicious. And it made me feel good.

There are times for haute cuisine… and lots of times for Bubble and Squeak!

Oh the weather outside is frightful…but the sprouts are so delightful…!

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Oh the weather outside is frightful...but the sprouts are so delightful...!

I am catching up with my tail and trying to shop in between and decorate the house and sort recipes for the coming days and now and then….relax! Sunday I roasted a magnificent piece of Wiltshire Ham – it was truly fine in every way. Succulent and delectable. And tonight we will have cold slices of it with home made chips, fried eggs and pickles and chutneys. I cannot wait!

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I accompanied the ham with roast potatoes which I par boiled for 5 minutes, then popped them in a preheated oven tray with a little hot vegetable oil, then drizzled them with olio al peperoncino to give them a gentle kick.

And as you can see from above one of my favourite veg made its entrance but this time with a twist. I like them steamed and crunchy – and I have fried them before after par boiling but this time I sliced them into 3 pieces each. I poured a little olive oil in to a sauté pan and gently fried two cloves of chopped garlic with strips of smoked bacon and a finely sliced red chilli. After about ten minutes I added the sprouts with a knob of unsalted butter, stirred it all round then put the lid on and let it all steam together – the result was sprout of this world!

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Sprouts are often much maligned but I adore the little emerald gems. They are part of the brassica family – derived from an ancient Celtic word for cabbage – bresic – which corresponds to the Latinized brassica which is now part of our language. Besides cabbages and sprouts the family includes cauliflower, broccoli, kale and calabrese. They are even related to swedes and turnips…so these guys are well connected! Respect!

Right, time to dip into Winchester for a few morsels and another attempt to finish some of my festive shopping.

Speak soon!