My Mum used to cook ratatouille, Spanish omelette and chicken risotto. She used garlic long before many of our friends did. We ate stinging nettles instead of spinach and she put rose petals in the fruit salad – she was imaginative and adventurous.
As a consequence of pulling up all the dandelions in the garden (the guinea pigs got the leaves and we made coffee with the roots) the front lawn of our semi-detached house on the housing estate we lived on was mainly just dandelions… and no Pampas grass!
My mum was also an expert in using up leftovers, we didn’t throw food away in our house. Another standard was corned beef hash. Corned beef is a bit like posh dog food in a tin. It became popular in Britain and France after World War II as rationing limited the availability of fresh meat. In the 1970s it was a cheap and versatile option for feeding a family, in other words, you could disguise it with other flavours!
I thought about how to recreate this dish – what I like about it was it is classic comfort food – grilled crispy brown potatoes with garlic and onion. I thought about meat alternatives but reckon kidney beans would be by far the best substitute.
- 3-4 medium potatoes, chopped small
- 1 large tsp vegetable stock (Marigold Bouillon)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tin kidney beans, strained
- A few good slugs of veggie Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Boil the potatoes in a pan of water with the stock for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
- Add the kidney beans, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and mix well so the beans break up a bit but not entirely – this is not refried beans!
- Add the potatoes and mix roughly.
- Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish.
- Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes until sizzling and brown on top, you can grill it too if necessary.
- Serve with a big pile of shredded cabbage OR baked beans!