I love days where all I’m allowed to think about is food, make food, photograph it and write on my blog and today was one of those days. The rain, usually a tiresome thing in the summer/spring excitement, was quite a welcomed type of weather today as I new I was making comfort food.
To go along with my comfy day inside, I sometimes revel in my television guilty pleasures that mainly consist of documentaries, the most recent being Obsessive, Compulsive Cleaners. Even watching it makes me feel clean, and after writing this post, I know I will probably get up and tidy my front room.
I understand how people live in ridiculously clean homes, they dedicate their time to cleaning almost all the time, but everything has it’s place, there’s no grime and it obviously sorts out and relaxes their mind. But people who live in complete dirty clutter puzzles me! I will never be a super clean person, and I don’t find it easy to put things back where they came from, but one thing I do benefit from is having a clean kitchen. As it’s so small, I have to keep it in order, all the washing up has to be done before I start cooking. This is especially important in keeping track of where ingredients are. Last week we had a case of a missing pepper mill and it really boggled my mind as I searched high and low for this damn thing, and it turned out to be hiding in the cereal cupboard.
But my life is starting to look less like Tracy Emin’s bed and more like a controllable space, except for the bedroom, I just have no idea there, I think it will always be the bain of my life to keep tidy, especially now with the addition of another person’s clothes to keep under control! (He has more bags than I)
So, on the next rainy Sunday when there’s nothing better to do and the weather is miserable, why not have a good sort out. It will lighten the load a little and as a reward, why not make this comforting pie. Mr Slater is providing me with many new recipes that are so simple, and so tasty, and this one is one of my favourites so far.
I had to stop myself from eating all of the garlicky, buttery, parsley covered mushrooms that were softening in the pan. They add such a depth to the dish. The parmesan on top also provides a good crust which has a very satisfying crunch when you cut into it. This is perfect for a main lunch for one, but would also be great as a side to some cold meat and buttered spinach as Mr Slater suggests.
One more thing, the gooeyness of the gruyere as you cut into it, well, it just made my heart melt.
1.5kg floury potatoes
100ml warm milk
2 free range eggs
75g parmesan cheese & 200g fontina or gruyere
350g brown mushrooms
2 tbsp of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
+ 100g butter
From Nigel Slater’s Real Food 1998
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, the skins will peel off easily at this point.
Cut the mushrooms into slices or quarters and fry them with the butter and garlic until golden and sweet, then sprinkle on the parsley and some salt & pepper. Lightly butter a round baking dish or cake tin.
Mash with the butter, hot milk, add the two eggs and two thirds of the parmesan and mix well.
Smooth out half the mash over the bottom of the dish, cube the cheese and lay out on top of the mash, then add the mushrooms and trickle the left over juices from the pan. Smoothing the remaining mash on top and dust over the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for thirty minutes until the crust is golden!