Some days I find myself at a complete loss as to what to cook for dinner. Ok, to be honest, lots of days. The kitschenette household can get pretty sick of the same rotation of pasta, miso soup, spatzle and pizza (things that have been on the menu a lot lately). On such days I pull out my trusty copy of Nigel Slater's excellent and beautiful book, 'The Kitchen Diaries'. Oh, the awesomeness that is Nigel! I love his cookbooks and the way he cooks. His cooking is down to earth and real, a good mix of comfort food and austerity.
'The Kitchen Diaries' is a year of Nige's (I feel so familiar with him, he's Nige to me now) eating. He wrote down what he ate and took photographs of it all, for a whole year. How fab! I absolutely admire his perseverance. So when I am stuck for inspiration, I turn to whatever Nige was eating on that day (in 2004) and wait to feel inspired. For example, there is no recipe for today (he didn't do every single meal for every single day), but on Feb 2nd he made chicken patties with rosemary and pancetta, eaten with lemon wedges and a spinach salad. On Feb 4th he made a herb and barley broth. And on Feb 6th he had indian spiced potatoes with yoghurt and mint, and leftover roasted meat.
Tonight I'm making a good old fashioned meat pie with the leftover beef stew from a few days ago. Pop the sauce in a pastry case, pinch and crimp the edges closed, brush with egg yolk, poke a couple of holes in the top, and bake at 200 degrees til golden and the filling is hot. I have some bouncy fresh nusslisalat to go along with it.
But tomorrow night…chicken patties with rosemary and pancetta!
Chicken patties with rosemary and pancetta, from Nigel Slater's 'Kitchen Diaries'
a medium onion
2 cloves garlic
thick slice butter
100g cubed pancetta
3 bushy sprigs rosemary, needles removed and finely chopped (a mezzaluna is great for this!)
450g minced chicken
oil for frying
250ml chicken stock
Melt butter til frothy in a non-stick pan. Dice the onion and garlic and saute in the butter until honey coloured. Add the pancetta and rosemary. Cool a little, then tip into a bowl.
Add the chicken to the onion mix and season – careful with the salt as the pancetta is already quite salty.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
Shape the chicken mix into little patties and set aside for half an hour – Nige reckons this amount makes 6 burger-sized patties.
Fry the patties in the oil (use the onion pan, but wipe clean first!), 3 minutes per side.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish and pour the stock around the patties. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes til patties are sizzling anf stock is hot. Serve up with lemon wedges and spinach salad. Don't forget to spoon over some of the hot stock over each patty.
Wow, that sounds good. I can't wait to make these tomorrow…