Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Chilli with cornbread muffins

Our boiler is broken. Is there anything more awful? (Why always in a really cold snap? WHY??) The chill in the house has slowed my brain right down, right back past even its most shoddy 2+2=time for a cup of tea calculations. It has done absolutely nothing for my shitty mood these past few days, I can tell you.

My husband is being terrifically sporting about the whole thing. He sees a broken boiler as rather an excitement - time for a vast fire in the sitting room, dust off the blow-heater, micro-manage everyone's wash times so as not to use up the weedy amount of warm water we have via the immersion heater, while our boiler guy sources a vital part for the fucking twatty twathead bastard boiler from, like, MARS, or somewhere.

I, on the other hand, have been moping about in a right old funk complaining about the cold like a really annoying ghost with a drippy nose.

Let's just say this: the highest praise my father can give to a woman is: "We won both wars thanks to girls like you." He has never said this to me.

It doesn't help that I'm having trouble sleeping at the moment. This is a really terrible realisation, but I think I need to do some exercise.

Anyway for the time being, if you'll excuse me, I'll sit the hard work of yet another post out. What?! FFS. I've got a note. Instead the heavy lifting today  has been done by another great gal I met on Twitter called Danielle. She's American but lives in Kent and she's terribly funny. (@pochyemu)
So here we go, Chilli and Cornbread, by Danielle Barton
As a clueless and deluded teenager growing up in small-town America, I decided that by the time I was 25 I was going to be a millionaire and Secretary of State for the U.S. government. Right hand to the president. Swanning around Washington D.C., confident as hell in my power suit and my helmet-esque hair-do. “Anything is possible”, I thought, “seeing as how 25 is forever away and also so old I’ll be practically dead”.

I was such an idiot.

Anyway, I’m 27 now, a graduate who holds two degrees largely to do with minority rights issues in Estonia (always an in-demand subject). Hillary Clinton pipped me to the post for Secretary of State. I live in Kent. Oh, and I’m unemployed with zero millions of dollars in my bank account.


It’s at times like this (times when you’re unemployed and haven’t showered or dressed in, like, maybe 3?, days, eating tuna out of the tin with your fingers because getting a plate seems like SUCH a hassle) when one reaches for comfort food. Quick and easy food that tastes good. The food you grew up on. The food your mother or father made you. You know, when you were young and stupidand living at home rent-free with no responsibilities or worries except how your parents were so mean, keeping you from drinking all your brain cells away and making you apply to universities.

I am no different from you in this respect. Therefore: chilli and cornbread muffins.

Some of you think you know chilli. You do not. You know English chilli, which is generally horrible. Real chilli should be full of recognizable vegetables and soup-like, NEVER SERVED OVER A BAKED POTATO FOR THE LOVE OF MARY. This is my mom’s recipe (or near enough) and it’s good.

Cornbread, I understand, may be new to you. That is a shame because it is God’s own food. It’s bread that tastes like cake that you eat with lashings of butter. It’s amazing (if done right). I normally make it with boxed mix that I bring over in my suitcase, but I’m out and therefore have made it from scratch for the first time ever. This recipe is the real deal and delicious.


2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
500g mince (can be beef, pork or turkey, depending on your preference and whether you’re watching your weight)
2-3 carrots, cut into small chunks
3 or 4 smaller potatoes, cut into cubes
1 tin sweetcorn
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tins kidney beans
2 tins’-worth of water, or enough to just cover the ingredients
2 packets chilli seasoning (I prefer Old El Paso)

1 In the pot you’ll be cooking in, fry off onions, peppers and mince in oil, draining off any fat that comes off the meat. Add the remaining ingredients and top with water. Simmer 30-40 minutes until veg is cooked through, then add spice mix and simmer for another 15-20 minutes to combine the flavours. Serve in a BOWL like SOUP, not over a potato. Potatoes already inside, see?

Honey Cornbread Muffins

(Recipe adapted from one on RealSimple.com, which has good American recipes)

4 tbsp unsalted melted butter, as well as some to grease the tin
160g plain flour
125g course cornmeal [No idea where to find this... Waitrose? – E]
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
280ml buttermilk (280ml whole milk plus one tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar, left 5 minutes on the side to curdle and thicken)
80ml runny honey

1 Heat oven to 180C. Grease 12-cup muffin tin. In a bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and soda. Whisk in eggs, buttermilk, honey and melted butter. Combine (mix will be a bit lumpy, just try to break down any big clumps). Pour batter into muffin cups until nearish the top and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the inside is just cooked through when a toothpick is inserted into the centre.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Peanut butter brownies

I have been really down in the dumps recently. Not clinically, but I'm just SO BORE-DUH of everything. Especially my face - man alive! If I have to look at that stupid beaky ruddy beady gingerish freckled fat mish-mash of shapes once more I will scream.

It has been made worse by a girl I know having had a baby a few months ago and having a MARVELLOUS time with it. And she's not lying either. She really is just finding the whole thing okay. And she and her husband are terribly relaxed and on days off just wander into town and have lunch and the baby sleeps when it sleeps and not when it doesn't. My friend has not decided to confine herself to the house during naptimes and never finds herself sitting on the stairs outside the nursery picking her fingers, rocking to and fro hissing "go to fucking sleep go to fucking sleep", which is what I spent basically the first 10 months doing with Kitty.

And when her husband says "Shall we go out for brunch on Sunday", my friend doesn't scream, like I do, "Are you MAD?!! She will fall asleep in the CAR on the way BACK and then WAKE UP  when we get home and it will be a disaster!!!!!"

I had thought that my experience of new motherhood was quite normal, quite widespread, but now I feel like I have sort of deliberately backed myself into a hellish little corner of parenting philosophies and to-the-minute timings because, basically, I don't think I deserve to have a nice time.

So I went to the hairdresser and got all my hair cut off. And do you know what, it has made me feel much better.

I also thought I should make some karmic amends by being nice about a recipe for a change. The last time I was really mean about a recipe it was one out of Waitrose Food Illustrated and the editor, William Sitwell, told me at a party the other day that I'd upset everyone, (not him, he doesn't seem to give a fuck, because editors never do), and my name is now dirt in their office.

I was slightly outraged at this and called him all sorts of foul names.

(This might have been because I was sitting next to Sara Parker-Bowles and had gone a bit berserk with the effort of not grabbing her by the throat and screaming "What is the Duchess of Cambridge like?!?!?!!? What does she smell like?!?!?!?! PLEASE TELL HER THAT IF WE MET SHE'D REALLY LIKE ME!!!!!!"

Instead I had been pretending that I've got no idea about anything ("Queen who? Prince what?") because it's so, so rude otherwise, but the effort of appearing nonchalent drives you a bit demented after a while.)

Anyway where was I? Oh yes, karma, so I thought I would correct this imbalance by being terribly nice about a thing out of My Daddy Cooks. I was mean about Nick's microwave chocolate pudding the other day and he didn't say a word. Didn't complain, didn't object, nothing. I think that is immensely cool, so I must big up to you now his peanut butter brownies, which I made last night and are terrific.

Peanut Butter brownies from My Daddy Cooks

This is not the exact recipe because I don't like vanilla essence and I didn't have enough chocolate chips. Don't worry too much about the amount peanut butter. I didn't have quite enough of that either and it still worked.

Preheat oven to 180C

200g butter
200g brown sugar of any sort
6 tbs peanut butter
3 eggs
a few drops vanilla essence
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g-ish chocolate chips (Waitrose sell them)

1 Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the peanut butter and mix until smooth

2 Mix in the eggs, followed by the vanilla, flour and baking powder

3 Stir in the chocolate chips

4 Flop into a greased/lined tin (20x20cm if you can be arsed to measure) and bake for 40 mins. Maybe 30-35 if using a fan oven

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Monkfish curry

I have become obsessed with a book called French Children Don't Throw Food. I'm sure you've heard about it; it's by an American journalist called Pamela Druckerman who moved to Paris, had children and wondered why they were such snarling brats compared with the quiet little bonbon-ish children of her French counterparts.

She did some investigating and turned her findings into this book, which, if like me the two things you find most abhorrent in the world are badly-behaved dogs and badly-behaved children, is utterly gripping.

The secret, she says, is that the French just sort of ignore their children and let them get on with things by themselves. They are not constantly in their faces, trying to entertain them They do not rush over to their child at the first squeal of frustration. They practise "La Pause", which is the moment where you stop and think "Is that a cry of distress? Is my child actually hurt, afraid or upset? Or is she annoyed because she can't get the star-shaped wooden thingy into the square-shaped hole and will recover herself in a moment? And should I therefore just continue to hang up this washing and not run over there?"

They also don't really tell their children off that much. When they do, they make it count - but they don't tell them they are naughty. They say something along the lines of: "NO! We do NOT lick shoes. Non, non, non!" and they consider it part of the toddler's education, teaching them not to lick shoes because they are dirty, rather than a terrible curtailment of their freedom of expression - or as discipline.

Anyway, I could go on but I won't because we'll be here all day. But the upshot is that I have been implementing this advice as much as possible and although I can't say that Kitty is now a model child, at the very least I have ceased to feel even remotely guilty when I leave her bumbling around alone with her toys for 45 minutes while I lie on the sofa eating mini-eggs.

On an entirely separate note, I made the other night a really fantastic monkfish curry and it was terribly easy. I had a lot of monkfish knocking about from a trip to the farmers' market over the weekend and it felt like a curry night.

It utilised a curry paste from Jamie's 30-Minute meals, minus a few things I didn't have. We are eating a lot of fish and vegetables at the moment because my husband and I have both got terribly fat in the last few months and seeing as we're neither nice people nor useful to society, the least we can do is be thin.

Monkfish curry

2 monkfish tails (or any other firm white fish), cut into chunks
1 knob fresh ginger
1 red chilli seeds in, don't be pathetic
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1 tsp tamarind paste (if you have it)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 mini cans cocnut milk (you can get these from Waitrose, or 1 large one will probably do)
1 tsp coriander seeds, (if you have)
2 tbs groundnut oil

1 Put all the ingredients for the curry paste into a whizzer and whizz. In 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil fry off the paste for about 5 minutes.

2 Add the monkfish chunks and some sad old veg (baby corn/sugar snap peas etc) you have hanging about if you need to get rid of it. Stir this round until the monfish looks opaque on all sides, but don't cook for longer than 8 or so minutes.

3 Add the coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes until everything is very hot. If you had some fresh coriander, you could stir this in or sprinkle over at the end, but who ever has fresh coriander?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Staff announcement

For no other reason than I feel like it, I have decided to appoint a girl I met off the internet, Emelie Frid, as editor-at-large of Recipe Rifle. (You will remember her from her Jamie's Mince Pie Cookies post, which was such a success.) And when I say "at large" I mean that she lives in Letchworth.

The title of editor-at-large doesn't really mean anything, except that she will (when she feels like it) post here. And if she should ever find herself one day in the future doing drugs in the bathroom of a London private member's club, it's something to say, isn't it? I say that having no idea if she's ever done drugs before - we don't really have those kinds of chats - but in my experience, people doing drugs in bathrooms of private members' clubs are almost exclusively editors-at-large of media outlets. ("It's called Jazzhole. It's a cross between The Spectator and i-D. We're based in Bow. It's really cool actually.")
Anyway, as it's an entirely unpaid position, and Emelie is about to have another baby, the chances of her getting off her redheaded pregnant butthole and doing a post more than twice a year is probably quite slim.

And that's the kind of work ethic I like around here.

So here we go, French Toast Creme Brulee by Emelie Frid.

This is an American breakfast recipe. Now, I’m a confirmed sugar junkie regularly laughing in the face of certain diabetic coma, but I personally would find this a little too sweet to eat first thing in the morning. So I served it as dessert instead, which worked very well indeed. It’s almost like bread and butter pudding! However, if I WERE to have it for breakfast I would serve it with bacon. I’m healthy like that.

The recipe uses corn syrup. In Letchworth, where I live, it’s easier to find the Grail than corn syrup, so Esther gamely schlepped to the post office to send me an unopened bottle she had sitting in the larder. I don’t know how easy it might be to source corn syrup elsewhere – I mean, Letchworth is not exactly the centre of the universe. More like the armpit. If you can’t find it for love nor money, I have seen it suggested that maple syrup would work very well as a substitute. Or perhaps golden syrup?

For approx six servings you will need:

6 slices of white farmhouse style bread, about ½ inch thick. Or you could use whatever bread you fancy here – panettone? Brioche?

115g butter
200g brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
4 eggs
350 ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orangey booze (full disclosure: I didn’t have this, so I chucked in some orange zest instead. It worked out great)
¼ teaspoon salt

HEADS UP: you have to prepare this in advance, as it needs to chill for at least 8 hours before going into the oven.

1. Melt butter in a small, heavy based saucepan on a medium heat. Mix in sugar and corn syrup and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish

2. Cut the crusts from the bread (or leave on – up to you) and arrange on top of the sugar and butter mix in the baking dish, in a single layer. You want them to have a tight fit.

3. Whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, Grand Marnier and salt. Pour evenly over the bread.

4. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight if serving this for breakfast.

5. When ready to use, preheat your oven to 175C. Remove the dish from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

6. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven, until it’s puffed up and browned, approx 35-40 minutes. Don’t be afraid to bake this until properly browned – you don’t want it too soggy in the middle.

I served this with fresh fruit – banana, berries, kiwi – and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. And not that I would presume to tell you what to do with your children, but I gave a little bit of this to my young daughter, the feral Goblin, and was still trying to peel her off the ceiling an hour later. So next time she’s just getting the fruit and the yoghurt, no matter how imploring she looks when she holds out her fat little hand saying “Mmmmmmm, tack, tack?!”

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Peach and whiskey chicken

This really ought to be called Chicken in Jam, because that's what is it. I made it following a medium amount of fuss about its excellence on Twitter and I'm really not sure about it. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say I actually didn't like it. Sorry, yet another bum recipe from me. What can I say? It's an unlucky streak.

It's a recipe from a wildly popular American blog called The Pioneer Woman, who is on her SECOND cookbook by the way. If I never hear about another blogger who's got a flaming bookdeal it will be 8 million years too soon.

Anyway and in this recipe she covers a lot of chicken in whiskey and jam and sticks it in the oven for 1.5 hours. The thing about Americans - and I say this with the proviso that I really, really like Americans - is that they don't half eat a truckload of chicken. And I think they think it probably gets boring, so to liven it up they do things with it like cover it in jam. It's terribly French. The problem with this recipe is there's not much to counter-balance the overwhelming sweetness - there's no sourness and no heat. So what you're left with really just is chicken in jam.

But if that kind of thing sounds right up your street, it is a terrific recipe.

Peach and Whiskey Chicken (aka Chicken in Jam)
8 chicken thighs
about a wineglass full of whiskey
1/2 a jar of peach jam (Tiptree do one, available from Waitrose)
1 bottle of barbeque sauce (I used one by Paul Newman because I LOVE Paul Newman)
some garlic cloves
1 large or two medium onions
groundnut oil and butter for frying

Preheat your oven to 180C

1 Melt some oil and butter together in a pot - (the Pioneer Woman recommends a "big ol' pot", which just made me hate her, I'm afraid) - and brown your chicken in it. Ho hum, what a boring thing this is to do. But make sure they are nice and brown.

2 Remove the chicken to a plate. Chop up your onions and fry these off for about 5 minutes. Add the booze and cook down for about 3 minutes. Then add in the barbeque sauce (I wondered here why I wasn't just making barbeque chicken) and then spoon in half the jar of peach jam. The recipe says the whole jar but, like, fuck that. Whisk this all together with a few garlic cloves.

3 Put the chicken and the resting juices back in the pot, cover with a lid and cook for 1.5 hours. My husband said it was nice and went back for seconds but what the hell does he know. I had two pieces and then developed a terrible headache.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Microwave chocolate sponge pudding

Broadly-speaking, I don't really put recipes on here that don't work because I don't think there's any point. Why do you want to know about something that you aren't going to make? But I think there is some relevance in including recipes here that don't work if I think you are in danger of coming across them and making them and getting yourself into a pickle - hence the Jamie griddle waffles of the previous post.

This is another recipe that isn't that great, although it's not from Jamie. It's a chocolate sponge pudding that you make in the microwave from a book called My Daddy Cooks and if you had the book and came across it and like chocolate you'd definitely be in danger of having a crack at it.

I really don't want to give the wrong impression about this book, as it's generally good-looking and inspiring and I very much recommend it, especially but not exclusively if you've got children. On reflection, I've been a bit unfair, maybe, cooking this - it could never be that terrific. I think it's the lack of eggs that does it, you end up with quite a dry thing. Although it's perfectly amusing to make a cake in the microwave, I wouldn't make it again.

Microwave chocolate sponge
Makes a huge amount - for 4 starving adults or 6 starving children

55g butter
200g self-raising flour
170g caster sugar
55g cocoa powder
180ml milk
a few drops vanilla essence
110g soft brown sugar

1 In a large non-metallic bowl melt the butter for about 30-40 secs (depending on how warm it was when you started).

2 Sift in the flour, add teh caster sugar, half the cocoa powder, the milk and the vanilla extract and stir it all together well until you get a cake batter

3 Mix the brown sugar and the rest of the cocoa powder together and sprinkle over the top

4 Pour over 275ml boiling water but don't mix in. It will look an utterly mad and disgusting mess by now, which is normal

5 Put it in the microwave for 7 minutes. Leave to cool for a bit but then eat straightaway because on cooling completely this will collapse and turn into rubber.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Jamie's griddle waffles

I'm rather sad to report on the first Jamie recipe I've encountered that has fallen short of expectations. I tried out his new genius-looking idea for making waffles in a griddle plan this afternoon and everything went fine until I had to flip the waffle to cook the underside and:

it was more or less impossible. The recipe also calls for 2.5 tablespoons of baking powder, which is all very well but it doesn't half make your waffle taste like baking powder (not good).

By all means give them a crack if you fancy it, though. You may be more dextrous than me at the old flipping - it wouldn't take much.

Jamie's Griddle Waffles

2 eggs
300ml milk
100g butter, melted
2.5 tablespoons baking powder
225g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 Whisk the eggs and the milk together, then add the salt and the baking powder. Sieve in the flour (this is important because otherwise you will get lumps) and whisk to combine. Then dribble in the butter in stages and stir in. Rest for 30 mins (yes you must do this).

2 Get your griddle pan very hot and melt over a large knob of butter. Pour in the batter - you might have to spread it around a bit because the batter is quite thick - then turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes. Flip it over (yeah, right) and then cook the other side for another 8 mins.

Full details are here

Thursday, 5 January 2012

St Lucian mac and cheese

Last night I wasn't feeling very well and so Kitty's nanny, Shura, who is from St Lucia, made Kitty's dinner instead. It was mac and cheese the St Lucian way and it was really, really delicious. It is made without a white sauce, which cuts down the hassle factor by about two thirds and it contains onion, which works wonders.  This might actually be a perfectly normal and widely-used method of making macaroni cheese but I've never come across is.

By the way please don't hassle me about having a nanny, okay???, it's too boring. She's not here every day and when she's here I don't laze around eating bonbons - well, not ALL day - so just cut it (as Shura would say).

St Lucian mac and cheese

1 small handful Annabel Karmel baby pasta shells
1 knob butter
1 small sloop semi-skimmed or whole milk (probably about two eggcup-fulls)
1 small sloop cream (if you have it, about one eggcupful)
1 handful grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon of very finely chopped or grated white onion or shallot

Preheat the oven to 180C

1 Boil the pasta as normal. Drain and return to the dry pan. Over a medium heat, add the knob of butter and stir until melted, then add the milk and continue to stir.

2 Throw over the cream if using and the onion, then the cheese and stir until completely melted. Turn out into a small oven-proof dish and stick in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Goat's cheese and roasted tomato tart

Last year I learnt:

1 Why people wear coloured socks. It's not, as I previously thought, because they are insufferable optimists, looking to display their sunny personality through their jazzy footwear. Rather, it is so they don't end up wearing odd socks (one black sock does look so much like the other one and yet they are alwas fundamentally different in size and texture). And there is something really massively unsatisfactory about wearing odd socks. So I now have a lot of very colourful socks, and always wear matching pairs, and very zen I feel about it, too.

2 I cannot control events with the power of my mind. When I went to see Dr O with my nervous breakdown, I explained to her that I feel very superstitious about my anxiety. "I believe that if I worry enough about something, then it will not happen," I said. Dr O looked at me. "So what you are telling me," she said, "is that you can control events just with the power of your mind?" "No!" I shrieked. "It's more complicated than that." But it wasn't. That is what I believed. I don't believe that any more, and I am much less anxious. But I worry that I am less interesting.

3 I am not good at being flexible. When Kitty was very tiny I lived my life and hers by the clock. I'm talking to the second. From the outside it probably looked really mad but I was terrific at it and it worked. I never had to fret over whether she was hungry or tired because she was never hungry or tired because she was fed before she was ravenous and in her cot before she was hysterical. But now Kitty is nearly one and she's more of a real person rather than a blob and some days, like the rest of us, she is more tired or more or less hungry than others. So now I have to do a thing where I have to make about a million little decisions, from day to day, about whether this is one of those days that she needs to go back to bed at 9.45am for a little kip, or whether she can make it until lunchtime. And just between you and me, I hate it.

4 Being a lazy shitbag is okay only for so long. I am a quitter, through and through. I hate making an effort at anything, it causes me genuine pain. I don't like doing exercise, or "sticking at" things. When I think about having to put my clothes away at night I want to cry, so I don't and they pile up on the chair next to my bed until on morning, usually on a Sunday, it even repulses me so much that I do something about it. But last year, I had to persevere at some stuff. I couldn't give Kitty up for adoption, because everyone would know what I'd done and be SO unsympathetic. And I had to keep wearing my stupid fucking teeth braces to correct my teeth because both my husband and my dentist, Handsome Richard, made such an almighty fuss about me giving up. But now Kitty is so much less of a hassle than she was and my teeth are near as damnit straight that I now, with great reluctanct, admit that perseverence might not just be for massive square martyrish losers after all.

And so it is with dinner. The past few months have seen me so incredibly uninspired about food in general and dinner that I am just doing the same old things over and over again. It was mostly because I couldn't be BOTHERED to think about it. I would mull over our dinner options for about three minutes and as soon as I had settled on an old favourite I would just go with that.

But on the way to the shops yesterday I really thought about it and came up with a couple of things we really haven't ever had before, or hadn't had in ages. They don't comply with my husband's usual cry for things to be purchased from the Ginger Pig, or to be carb-free, but there's no time for that kind of dicking about this year. We must have variety, and vegetables, or we will all go mad.

So I did a very obvious dinner thing last night that was nonetheless really nice. It was very lazy pub-starter stuff - just a slab of ready-made puff pastry flattened and goat's cheese and roasted tomatoes on top. But, you know, it was really terrific and terribly easy and I'll be doing it again. If I can be bothered.

Goat's cheese and roasted tomato tart

2 packs Capricorn goat's cheese
1 slab ready puff pastry (I get Waitrose own, which comes in two slabs. One of those, rolled out a bit, is enough for 2 people.)
1 string of baby tomatoes on the vine
1 egg
some mint, if you have
salt and pepper
semolina for dusting

1 Shove the tomatoes in the oven for an hour at 180 with olive oil and salt at some point during the day.

2 When ready for dinner roll out the puff pastry to a longer-ish oblong. Dust a baking sheet with semolina to stop the pastry from sticking. Beat an egg in a bowl and brush the pastry all over with about a third of the eggwash.

3 In a bowl combine the torn-up goat's cheese (rind on or off, it's up to you), the tomatoes, some mint, salt and pepper and the rest of the beaten egg. Then pile up in a fat straggly line along the centre of your oblong (as it cooks it will melt and spread out and you don't want it to slop over the edges of the pastry).

4 Shove in a 180 oven for about 20 minutes. We ate this with Polpo's courgette salad (also on this blog).

Yes yes I know a lot of you will be rolling your eyes at the obviousness of this, but as my husband always says "The perfect is the enemy of the good".