on my plate: parsley cheese scones / aubergine & goat’s cheese frittata

 

THIS week’s on my plate is a two fold post. Firstly, I wanted to rave about some dangerously tasty and ridiculously easy to make parsely cheese scones (recipe curtesy of Dan Lepard). And secondly, I wanted to demonstrate how dinner for one can be a delight not a chore.

 

Too often I’ve had conversations with friends about how their desire to make a delicious supper goes down the pan if they are going to be the only recipient.  This may be slightly alleviated if they have a companion in the kitchen – say a housemate cooking their own dinner alongside them – but on the whole it seems that the enjoyment of creating and devouring a dish is intrinsically linked with a desire to share the experience.

I completely get this. There was a time when I would never dream of eating by myself at the dinner table. If left with no choice, then it would be a TV dinner all the way. And if I was – by some unforseen TV malfunction or complete lack of even the most vaguely interesting thing on it – resigned to be without said accompaniment, then I would find any sort of magazine / book / newspaper to distract me from my eating isolation. And whatever I would be absent-mindedly munching on was inevitably a mish mash of whatever I had to hand.

Slowly but surely however, (perhaps in line with my growing interest in food as a whole), I have discovered that it can be equally as satisfying to cook with the same gusto and passion as you would for a loved one even if it is just you reaping the rewards. Try viewing it as a form of pampering – an indulgent treat to be able to sit down in the peace and harmony of a quiet kitchen and enjoy the fruits of your own labour.

Yes there are times when things turn out so well that I wish I had someone to share my ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ with. But there are also times when this isn’t the case, when I’ve tried a new dish and the seasoning is a bit off, or when something hasn’t quite been cooked to my satisfaction. It’s at these moments that I’m glad not to be serving up my culinary disappointment to expectant hungry mouths.

The above aubergine and goat’s cheese friatta is an example of one of my recent one-man suppers. It was a concoction of the random bits residing in my fridge. I’ve never been much of an omellette / frittata person, so this was as much an experiment as it was a way of quickly feeding myself.

I gently softened red onions, leeks and fresh red chilli, then added in cubes of aubergine, coarsely ground black pepper and sweet paprika. Following the addition of blanched baby broad beans and the last few stalks of some coriander, I combined the whole lot with eggs and chunks of goat’s cheese. After the underside had set I popped the pan under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown the top, and voila! Some crispy salad leaves and a dash of balsamic vinegar was all I needed on the side of this speedy success.

 

The parsely cheese scones were also a speedy success. (All this warm weather is definitely inspiring a cook-it-and-go spirit in my kitchen, as the sunshine just keeps calling me outdoors.)

I prepared these for a friend’s baby shower involving afternoon tea and champagne.  I know, sounds very la-di-da. But it was in fact just a great excuse for a get together involving silly games and daytime grazing on yummy food and drink. It was a completely unpretentious spread, and full of old school treats such as jam tarts and mini Mr Kipling Battenburgs.

As I couldn’t splash the cash with the present I decided to add in the gift of homemade food. And savoury scones just seemed to fit the bill. 

These were apparently a ‘healthier’ version of the typical cheesy scone, though with the amount of cheddar I added in I seriously doubt that they were that much better for you. They certainly didn’t taste like any health food I know. Moreish to the extreme, straight out of the oven the buns were still slightly gooey inside from the tangy mature cheddar, whose flavour was perfectly balanced by the addition of spring onions.

I may have forgotten about them slightly towards the end of their baking time… A firmer than preferred outter layer therefore formed, though this was remedied by the fact that it now contained scrumptiously crisped cheesy bits. Once through the scone’s exterior though, the texture was light and highly aerated. 

I am already thinking that these will be a staple of any picnic I attend this summer. Exciting enough in flavour (and moist enough in texture) to easily hold their own without any topping, I can also picture them smothered with cream cheese and cracked black pepper. Or with a dollop of Boursin and a juicy slice of fresh tomato. Mmmmmm.

Think I’m going to organise some out-of-doors eating fast, so that I can indulge in these combinations before I dribble all over my keyboard…

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