We own many, many cookery books and it’s safe to say that most of them are Allison’s. Of those that are mine, I have a particular fondness for Delia Smith’s One is Fun!, in which the queen of British TV cookery explores cooking for the lone diner. Written in the 1980s, some of the recipes can seem a bit old-fashioned these days but the basic premise of this book is that it’s sometimes difficult to scale down recipes for four to a recipe for one (how, for example, do you add half an egg to something?), so within its covers are presented recipes designed with one person in mind.
Tricky? No. This, after all, is Delia Smith – the woman who has always done her best to make cooking look simple. No glossy TV shows involving shouting at waiters or using liquid nitrogen, just basic home cooking that makes the viewer think ‘I could make that’. You cannot go wrong with Delia.
You will not be surprised to learn that in our flat, One is Fun! usually gets an airing when Allison is out for the evening and I have to fend for myself in the kitchen.
Last Friday was a case in point, and Gratinée of eggs Savoyard à la Delia was on the menu.
Ingredients-wise, it looked eminently do-able. Eggs, a potato, bacon, an onion, olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper are all there is. What could go wrong?
First of all, I diced the potato and put it into the frying-pan with the oil. This had to be browned and then cooked for ten minutes before the bacon and onion could be added, to be cooked for a further ten minutes.
While all this was going on, I turned on the grill and greased a Pyrex oven dish. The contents of the pan were tipped into the dish, and two depressions were made with the back of a spoon. Onto this I broke the eggs, seasoned them and topped the whole lot with grated cheese. This then went under the grill for (Delia reckoned) about seven minutes for soft-set eggs.
What, you may be wondering, about a vegetable accompaniment? I went for cabbage, which means that, basically speaking, this meal was using the same ingredients as would be used for a fry-up with bubble-and-squeak – just cooked differently!
The meal was delicious, although next time I think I will grill it for just a little bit longer as I’d like the eggs to be done a bit more, although there’s a balance between this and making sure that the cheese topping doesn’t burn.
Dinner over, I went to the pub to watch the football. Delia would definitely approve of that!