Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baked rice with egg and vegetables

Over the years, the contents of any individual cook's repertoire shift and change. Along with newly acquired knowledge and influences, individual dishes come and go. And tracking these changes in my own cooking was one of the reasons for my starting this blog in the first place.

2 cups of white basmati rice
2 courgettes
1 bulb of fennel (or use onion or leek)
6 rashers of streaky bacon
6 eggs
plenty of salt and pepper

  1. Cook the rice according to your preferred method. I microwaved it this time, which worked well.
  2. Finely chop the courgettes and fennel, and fry gently in plenty of olive oil.
  3. Fry the bacon. When it is done, cut into little strips.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice, vegetables and bacon.
  5. Beat the eggs and add them to the mixture.
  6. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, stir well, and transfer to a large ovenproof dish.
  7. Cover with foil and cook for about 20 minutes, until the egg has set but is not too dry.
Caledonia's everything I've ever had
This is a dish I made frequently during the not entirely happy year that me and Gemma spent living in London (1997). She was finishing off her Political Science degree through Spain's equivalent of the Open University, and I was managing a publishing programme for a pair of incurable optimists at an outfit called the Open Learning Foundation. It was the year of the Labour Party's first election victory under Blair, the year of Lady Di's death, and the year when Chick Charnley (the white Pele) briefly set the Scottish Premier League alight.

It was also the year of commuting daily on a pre-refurbishment Northern Line, the year of working alone in a large Victorian building from which my colleagues were permanently away on business trips, and the year of a shabby rented flat in Archway where the living room was permeated by the smell of goat curry from the West Indian domino club camped out in the empty hairdresser's salon below. Comfort food was needed, and this was one of the forms it took.

Fortunately, by the end of the year we had managed to work out a route back to Edinburgh. I even had a little Caledonia moment of my own at King's Cross, with a dialogue which went as follows:

Me: A single to Edinburgh please.
Clerk: You might as well get a return. It's only 50 pence more than the single.
Me: I'm not coming back.