Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Spanish omelette

Well you all went perfectly nuts for the vegetarian idea and I was inundated by your favourite vegetarian recipes. I mean... there must have been at least 10!!!!

I haven't cooked any of them yet because I haven't had a chance to go to the shops again for the ingredients - mostly more butternut squash and a large sack of lentils by the looks of things. But such is the life of a duty cook that when the evening rolled around again I had to make supper for my hungry husband with no vegetarian option available.

In times of stress such as these, I like to ask myself "What would Judge Judy do?" But this isn't very helpful in the kitchen because I imagine what Judge Judy would do would be to get a Chinese takeaway. Or have her own personal chef knock up a pizza. (She is worth $90m, Judge Judy. Ninety. Million.)

So instead I asked myself, what would K-Mid do? There was a lot of talk around the royal wedding of what an excellent short order cook the Duchess of Cambridge was at university. Short order cooking, for those of you who don't know, is stuff like macaroni cheese, bacon and eggs and shepherd's pie - simple kitchen suppers. So I asked myself "What would K-Mid do?" and the answer came back to me that she would probably make a spanish omelette.

It so happened that in Waitrose the other day I stumbled across a cooking chorizo by a company called Unearthed, who - if I'm not mistaken - are new to the shelves of Waitrose. And I like to investigate new things in Waitrose. So I had some chorizo and I had a potato and I had some eggs and I had some onions and off I went.

And it was great, as Spanish omelettes always are.

Not meat-free, but I never made any promises. I never signed anything.
Judge Judy would approve.

Spanish omelette for 2 hungry people, or 4 less hungry with a salad

5 eggs
6 Unearthed cooking chorizo sausages, cooked and diced. Or really any chorizo you like
a long sloop of cream if you have it but don't worry if not
1 large onion
olive oil
groundnut oil
1 large baking or waxy potato
some fresh oregano and sage if you have it
salt and pepper
monteray jack or cheddar cheese - this is optional if you think it's a calorie too far

1 Peel and chop your potato and then if you can, steam it for 25 minutes. I really advise the purchase of a steamer, I use mine all the time. It's Le Creuset. I love it. If you don't have one, you can balance a colander over a pan of boiling water and chuck any old lid that fits on top

2 Chop and sautee the onion in a sloop of groundnut oil, a sloop of olive oil and about 25g butter. Do this in a pan big enough to take the entire omelette. It doesn't have to be non-stick because this has got quite a lot of oil in it so shouldn't stick to the bottom too badly. But use a non-stick if you like.

Sprinkle over a large pinch of salt, which stops the onion burning. Don't know why so don't ask - and don't CARE so don't tell me. Throw in the sage and the oregano if using.

3 Cook and dice the chorizo. Incidentally, my husband is something of a tapas and Spanish food enthusiast generally and says that this chorizo is very good. You can either cook it in the oven or in a frying pan. It will leak orange gunk everywhere. I'm sorry about this, but it's just the way with chorizo.

Put on your grill to full bongos.

4 Whisk up the 5 eggs in a separate bowl with cream if using and season cautiously as the chorizo is quite strong.

5 Add the potato and the chorizo to the onion and shift around carefully so's not to mash the potato up too badly. Then pour over the egg mixture and give the whole thing a shake. Turn the heat up to medium and keep an eye on the pan. Little bubbles ought to start coming to the surface after about 4-5 minutes.

When you reckon the bottom's firming up (oh how I wish my bottom would firm back up) grate over some cheese and slide it under your redhot grill for another 3-4 minutes or until you reckon it's done.

Depending on your pan, you may not be able to turn the whole thing out, but you certainly ought to be able to cut triangles directly out of the pan without too much bother.

We ate this with a very crunchy salad, a lot of Tabasco sauce and some beer.

Why are children so keen on The Gruffalo? I read it for the first time this morning and it was okay, but its cult status is baffling. Mog the Forgetful Cat or Six Dinner Sid or The Tiger Who Came To Tea are surely more moving, generally. You will note a strong feline theme. I did call my child Kitty, after all.


  1. But have you tried reading The Gruffalo out loud to Kitty? It's just perfect for that - the rhyme, the way it flows (I'm sure there is a word for that but I'm a scientific bod so can't help you there).
    I love Julia Donaldson as books to read out loud to little people.

    And love the recipe

  2. I always wondered the same about The Gruffalo but my boy, just turned two, absolutely adores it. It does rhyme nicely, I think my initial coldness towards it was a result of a lack of nostalgia.

    Recipe sounds great, I'm really into chorizo right now so will give it a bash. I'm caught in a spag Bol or fajitas funk right now.

  3. Hello! What would K-Mid do is basically my motto, although I very rarely have the elegance and swishy hair to ever pull it off. And 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' is supreme. To stick to the feline theme, one book I remember from when I was little was 'Rosie's Lion'! It was delicious.x

  4. I read Gruffalo to my son until we were both sick of it and was v.pleased when he refused to come to stage version. Used to feel a genuine sense of relief when we got past the tipping point where mouse meets Gruffalo and knew was on home straight. Snail & Whale and Room on Broom are better. Sadly now we mostly have to read 'Dirty Berty' and 'Horrid Henry', which are dire and about poo, or Usborne Lift-the-flap-guides about how things work or maths or under the ground.

    My daughter won't entertain Gruffalo happily,and prefers Mog's Bad Thing, TWCTT, anythg about cats. Shame for her our cat moved out six months ago.

    Have been unprincipled veggie all my life because just don't like meat, and there are not many non-pasta / rice / cous cous recipes, unless you like Quorn.

  5. The Tiger Who Came to Tea was my favourite book when I was little. My mum recently told me, when I bought it for my nephew, that she doesn't like the fact that daddy comes along and saves the day by buying everyone sausage and chips for tea but what about poor mummy that has to do the hard work of clearing up and restocking the next day? She also thinks that's why I like it so much because I'm such a daddy's girl (I'm not really). I think she is over analysing it, personally.

    BUT my boyfriends nephew has the Gruffalo in gaelic and hearing his dad read it aloud in gaelic is just the lovliest thing. I don't understand gaelic, I'm not even sure I spelled it correctly, but it sounds nice all the same.

    Your omlette looks nice. I make a veggie recipe from Rachel Allen that is pretty much the only veggie thing I've ever been able to get the boy to eat, but it's more butternut squash, so I'll spare you.

    Elaine xx

  6. Okay then, here is my contribution to the cri de coeur for palatable vegetarian recipes. Was too busy flat-hunting yesterday (moving back to N London next month - hurrah).

    White Nut Rissoles

    Mix together: 125g cashew nuts, 50g breadcrumbs, 50g grated hard goat's cheese, 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme, sea salt and black pepper and chopped fresh parsley with one egg to form 8 rissoles. Bake for 25-30 mins at 180, and I like it with a tomato,garlic,onion and mushroom sauce with a sharp green salad and/or brown or red rice.

    Six Dinner Sid is fabulous, have you tried 'The Mousehole Cat'?

  7. 'oh noooooooo' the annoying Spaniard screamed. Seriously. I had to stop at the steaming the potatoes bit. And it's annoying because I really like the way you write/cook.

    So here is how you make a Spanish omelette. You're obviously welcome to stop reading if you don't give a toss, which you probably won't.

    - peel and cut the potatoes roughly like the thickness pound coins

    - peel and cut half an onion (or one small one) in long segments. Always way more potatoes than onions.

    - Salt them

    - fry BOTH in a considerable amount of oil; a mix of vegetable oil (pref sunflower) and olive oil (lots of different opinions here but all of one is too bland and all of the other too strong). Almost like poaching them in oil, put a lid on and go and get the eggs. The onion will survive.

    - break eggs, lightly whisk, splash of milk, salt and pepper

    - when you can get into the potatoes with your spoon/knife/fork, lift from them from pan with one of those slotted spoons not caring too much about getting rid of the oil in the potatoes and place them in bowl with eggs.

    - more salt and pepper before mixing. Mix.

    - empty most of oil into a jar (any oil in which potatoes have been fried one is clean. Ish) but leave some so omelette can 'move'

    - pour mixture into pan and move sides a bit so uncooked egg gets cooked etc...

    - get a plate and a tea towel, use your stronger hand to hold the pan and the other the plate with towel and TURN the pan (as scary as it gets) and slide the omelette into the pan for a couple of minutes.

    - Crucial you don't overcook it

    There you have it. Yes, us Spaniards get a bit fussy about it.

    You can cook the chorizo by frying it a bit and pouring cider to finish it (chorizo a la sidra) and have it ON THE SIDE of the omelete. Anything salty works as well. Typical open air cinema food when I was little was baguette-ish bread with spanish omelette and anchovies.

    ok enough. Take care

  8. Hello Esther
    Away at half term in a two-family party of nine with a large barbeque set-up. We cooked your ribs with sweet potatoes and lime and yogurt dipping sauce. Very succesful and am quite converted to ribs on a BBQ now, actually ribs full stop as I had never bought or cooked them before.

  9. I just posted a veggie recipe under yesterdays blog - maybe I should have put it here like Lisa's done? Anyway - just wanted to say "Bother that cat" ;-) Gotta love Mog. Was one of our favourites when my boys were little too.

  10. Hello Esther. A friend of mine has a theory about TTWCTT in that mum is just a lazy bitch who can't be bothered to cook, clean up or shop for food and so invents a tiger to cover up her domestic sins. Read into that what you will but it certainly adds a new edge when you read it!

    Also -Tiddler is far superior to The Gruffalo (I think, but my children may disagree).

    Am going to try the spanish omlette tomorrow as it is my husbands fave thing to eat :)

  11. Esther
    You really SHOULD write a book, perhaps titled, 'Cooking for the Critic: Fear and Loathing in the Kitchen'.

    I work for a charity called the Story Museum, we are currently in the process of building a museum of Story and Storytelling (duh!) in Oxford, on Pembroke St, right opposite Christ Church. We love the Tiger who Came to tea and all the other feline related stories too, (Tiger is on stage in London over the summer, script by one of our trustees, the wonderful David Wood, worth a look, with, or without child). However, my own latest preferred feline children's stories are: Mr Pusskins, and Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers. Mr Pusskins is gratifyingly curmudgeonly, even though he is owned and loved by a little girl called Emily. Honestly - BRILLIANT!
    Love your blod (Mog, and the rest of them). have a look at our website: (the critic might even like us too, being an Oxford type). I am on twitter, Sally Carruthers. Lots of luck with cooking and babies, a balance I too have been teetering with.

  12. Christine Morrow8 June 2011 at 23:10

    Hi Esther,

    I now know what short order cooking is. Excellent! On that note,
    would you have a recipe for Macaroni Cheese I can make instead of microwave?!

    Christine xx

  13. Esther: What happened to your sooper sekret blog? I loved the photo on the home page!


  14. Esther is right - real Spaniards are wrong.

    Do you have ANY idea how long is takes for a panful of pound-coin-thick potatoes to fry? Especially when you want more than one-potato-thick because you want a bit fat potatoey omlette.

  15. Veronica, the real Spaniard9 June 2011 at 15:00

    Well, it takes less time than steaming 1 lone potato for 25 minutes.

    Are you a fake Spaniard?

  16. That full bongos sentence makes me laugh out loud.

  17. Well IMHO the best book is the Baby Blue Cat who said NO (Ainslie Prior) if it's not OOP - especially for toddlers who are experimenting with their powers. Its got cats, kittens, food (fish finger sandwiches, cupcakes and a saucer of milk) and passive aggression, should be perfect, no? Haven't posted for a while - but so glad you are back on form.

  18. I made it - and it was YUM! And the steaming of the potato was no hassle at all as it meant I could put the Ocado order away and put the children to bed at the same time as making it.

    The chorizo did make one hell of a mess of the inside of my oven tho..

  19. "full bongos" caught me by surprise.

    you're hilarious. seriously, how do you think of this stuff?

  20. I don't think of it, I steal it from other people.

    "Full bongos" - to describe anything going full speed or full strength - is an expression used by an old friend of mine called Max and it's always made me laugh.

    Esther x


  21. This post is a couple of years old so I doubt anyone will read it, but I have pregnancy insomnia and am working my way backwards through this whole blog, in lieu of staring at the bedroom ceiling, listening to my husband snore. ANYWAY, my theory on the tiger who came to tea is that mummy is actually a complete alcoholic, has invented/hallucinated the whole tiger episode and made her child believe it as a cover up for why there's no food in, all "daddy's" beer is gone and the fact that she can't even get it together enough to give her daughter a bath. For further evidence of this, please look carefully at the illustrations of mummy's flushed cheeks and wild-eyed demeanor and daddy's look of weary acceptance that they have to go out for tea. Again.

    What do you mean, read it too many times and probably should just go back to bed now and shush...?

    1. My partner has the exact same theory. I think you're on to something.

  22. Omelette sounds amazing. I have a chorizo that has been haunting the back of the fridge for a couple of months so I may try it. By the way, children's books - Oliver Jeffers all the way. Stuck is a particular favourite.

  23. Forget Gruffalo (a bit highgatemums competitive), look no further than Seuss, Hop on Pop to start and for all a child needs to know about life Oh The Places You'll Go, plus Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (The supreme Butter Battle Book is a classic also).