Ongoing problems with my wretched wisdom teeth almost floored me last weekend. To the extent I ended up having lots of baked potatoes and melted cheese for several days. And as I don’t eat baked beans very often I had them with lots of salad instead. And again last night, as I just wasn’t in the mood for cooking proper. So I thought I might as well go with them as a post. As the intention was to go with salads, none of which turned out brilliantly. Or good enough. Baked potatoes it is, then. And even then I’m lying! As they’re not conventionally baked in an oven. Rather, I use my trusty little le Creuset saucepan with lid and cook them on the hob/stove top. And I have to admit, they are ridiculously tasty with all of that melted cheese. Perfect comfort food when you can hardly swallow! Incidentally, why is it when your lymph glands are the size of a golf ball that it’s essential to swallow every 10 seconds or so. Just don’t understand that. Anyway, I’ve been back to normal – at least my normal – for the last couple of days. Thankfully.
As for the salads I’m only going to list ingredients here. The salad to the centre left of photo above is avocado mashed with fresh lemon juice and eaten with shaved red cabbage, tiny baby plum (Roma) toms and black olives on pitta bread that’s been Melba-ed. Go figure. They’re very nice and crunchy. The
very anaemic fresh looking salad at top of frame is raw shaved macerated fennel with Braeburn apple, fresh orange juice, extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar (rice vinegar would be better). And fennel seeds as it ended up tasting incredibly bland delicate without the oomph of the seeds. This could be a better salad with perhaps wild sorrel leaves and a smattering of nigella seeds as well. By far the most disappointing was the very dark beetroot salad. Last week I ended up trying mashed pickled beets with lots of fresh lime juice and freshly ground black pepper, and actually liked it. But I kept wanting more, as in ingredients. So I ended up with the idea of using dried cherries. And couldn’t quite believe my luck when I spied dried sour cherries for sale at the little International store. Those were plucked greedily off their display – regardless of their price! And hydrated today in boiling water and sugar – all to no avail. They really are the nastiest tasting dried fruit I’ve ever had. What on earth to do with an entire pack?! Anyway, turns out the combination of beets and tart cherries would be loosely based on a Georgian recipe, Charkhlis Chogi. Ain’t for trying that again, unless I can get me paws on some dried – normal – cherries. If there has to be a positive at least I’m eating fennel, which has never been a favourite. And I do happen to like the idea of beets, lime and lots of black pepper. But the one salad-y type dish I still haven’t gone with is pomelo salsa, as the store that’s selling them keeps running out. Who knew – or would’ve thought – those were decidedly de rigueur in these parts. And how come I’m the last to know?!
Pull-apart Baked Potatoes and Melted Double Gloucester, onions and chives cheese
PREP: about 10 mins ~ COOK: up to 40 mins + ~ READY IN: less than 1 hour
ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: cast iron (Dutch oven) saucepan with lid + tinfoil, grill/broiler
- up to 300g (10.58 oz) x baby and salad potatoes (Charlotte used) per person, scrubbed and any bad or knobbly bits cut out (I’ve used a selection of baby and normal salad potatoes for their different sizes)
- about 100g (3.527 oz) x double Gloucester onion and chives cheese, sliced
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4 out of 6, and line it with a double layer of tinfoil. When pan is hot add the larger potatoes in a single layer and clamp on the lid. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After that time reduce heat to No 3, grab a pair of tongs and turn each potato over (be extra careful doing this as the pan will be very hot. Any tinfoil that sticks to the potatoes needs to be removed). Add any smaller potatoes, replace the lid keeping it slightly ajar and continue to cook until the potatoes are softening when gently squeezed in their middles. Remove lid further to help the skins to crisp up.
- When needed preheat grill/broiler to 200°C or 392°F. Slice the baked potatoes in half lengthways, place on a suitable platter, cover liberally with slices of cheese and place on the second shelf down. Close the oven door and give them 10 minutes only. That’s enough time to reheat the potatoes and melt the cheese.
- Serve with sour cream, chives or anything that is normally suitable with baked potatoes.
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