Friday, February 16, 2007

Affordable Eating:Recipe for Troubled Times

Don't forget that DH is a mother, and frankly, she is a little worried that you are all getting way too thin.

She offers the following Affordable Eating recipe for these trouble times that will soon get your cheeks rosy again.

DH asks all her readers to respect the fact that this Diary is a "No Vegemite Zone"

The Recipe

Back in the bad old days of the Iron Curtain, when the proletariat of Eastern Europe struggled to make ends meet while enduring a rental housing shortage reminiscent of Sydney 2007, Eastern European parents became expert in creating delicious food out of next to no ingredients.
DH feels the time is upon us when we might have to revive this tradition. She herself was fattened up on this wonderful dish, and still can't forgive her parents for thus aborting her career as a supermodel. On the other hand, she has the satisfaction of all her child's friends wishing she was their mummy after trying this heavenly concoction.

And it couldn't be cheaper, just the thing for the day before pension day, when all we housos have left in the world are a few spuds, some spilled frozen peas stuck to the floor of the freezer, that unopened bottle of No Frills Canola oil from last year's Vinnies food parcel, ditto can of No Frills Tomatoes, and No Frills Corn* and if you scratch around in the bottom of your handbag, you might get lucky and find the price of an onion or two.

But if you can hold out till pension day, for true luxury, the addition of a good quality sausage will make you the toast of the estate.


Bottom Line

  • 6-10 potatoes depending on size, sliced evenly lengthwise thru the middle into 6 - 8 portions
  • 1-2 onions
  • 3-4 tomatoes (can or sachet of paste equally good)
  • garlic to taste, mild flavoured oil (avoid virgin olive oil, even if you could afford it in your dreams, because anyway the flavour is too strong)
  • a generous handful of peas

Value added

For the authentic Eastern European experience ...

  • 1 large or 2 small European sausages such as csabai, chorizo, kabana. Avoid anything with a pallid white/ thick bright red plastic skin, or similar "cancer hazard" warning.
  • Table-spoon sweet red (not hot) paprika,
  • A capsicum in thin slices (leave it out if kids hate it)

How many people it feeds...

...depends on how many potatoes you think your admiring dinner guests can polish off in one sitting. Just keep adding potatoes, no-one will notice, and it will be just as good.


Slack version

  1. Chuck out the No Frills Creamed Corn, or pass it to the desperados in Number 17.
    No self-respecting household should own such a culinary travesty. Alternatively you can drop it off at the next Vinnies Food Drive, along with that tin of diced carrots that you can't stand. Don't worry, it wont be lost, it will come back to you next Christmas. Few people realise that there is a vast underground river of Tinned Corn flowing from charity to charity, kind of like the Carbon Cycle, except made of tin, according to the 4th Law of Thermodynamics: "Tinned corn is never created or consumed, it just changes owners".
  2. Chuck all the remaining ingredients except peas into pot, almost cover with water, bring to boil, then simmer on low until done. Throw in peas, cook till defrosted but still bright green.
  3. Enjoy your meal.

Master class

Repeat: NO TINNED CORN should ever find its way into this dish.

Cover bottom of saucepan with oil, sauté the onions and garlic on medium till golden.Add tomatoes, capsicum, and sausage, and continue to fry on low, stirring till the ingredients soften, but don't let the onions burn.Stir in the paprika, having taken the pot off the fire first, because burnt paprika is bitter.Stir the potatoes in, cover with water, bring to boil, turn to simmer until done, keeping the saucepan lid on at an angle to half cover the saucepan, which allows the steam to escape so the broth reduces, but keeps the heat in. By this time, the broth should have reduced to about 1/2 coveringDon't stir once potatoes soften. If they break up, it wont look as good.Just before turning off heat throw in handful of peas, fold in gently, and turn off as soon as they have warmed through. They are there for colour and a bit of sweetness, not to take over.

What it should look like

The final result should look slightly soupy, the potatoes floating in rich red broth, with the green peas making a bright contrast.

And finally, the dish's real name... Hagyomanyos Paprikas Krumpli - didn't want to scare you off ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You must try creamed corn on toast with grated tasty cheese and pepper grilled on top. Or put the corn, cheese & pepper into a jaffle maker using puff pastry instead of bread. This is its only use, but nevertheless delectable.