- Food & Drink
A few months ago Bellerina was going through a second-hand book sale like a (very attractive and elegant) pig in search of truffles when she caught a whiff of cookbook gold. Elbows out, head down, she emerged from the sale triumphant, clutching a copy of The Cockney Cook Book by Brian Murphy, which she gave to me because she’s nice and I have a cookbook habit that I can’t support on my own.
There are recipes for pickled eggs, boiled beef, stewpot and spotted dick mixed in with a bit of light social history and a guide to having a Traditional Cockney Knees Up (you need a meat pie, a piano and beer). Some of the dishes have faded into history but some have stuck with us through thick and thin and thick again, like bubble and squeak.
Murphy writes: “The proportions do not matter as long as there is more potato than cabbage, or spinach or sprouts or any other cooked green vegetables.” And this is the problem with bubble, because no one goes easy on the roast potatoes at Sunday lunch. They are the 1st things to go (2nd if there are Yorkshire puddings). To have a bowl of roast potatoes leftover you’d have to cook a field of them, which only the most neurotic over-caterer would do.
Readers, I am that feeder. On Saturday I made a roast pork dinner that’d serve 10 and tried to force it down the gullets of 5 people. When your guests adopt defensive digestive poses and there is worried talk about how a ruptured long intestine would feel, you know you have gone too far.
The result was a large bowl of cold roast potatoes, a small bowl of cold mixed vegetables and a pot of pork dripping. Breakfast, the first meal I ate 15 hours later, was sweet.
Bubble and squeak
Fat from the roasting tin
Cold roast potatoes, chopped
Cold cooked vegetables, chopped
Ketchup or brown sauce, to serve
1 Add a spoonful or 2 of the fat from the roasting tin to a deep frying pan and heat until melted. Add the potatoes, vegetables and 1–2 tsp wholegrain mustard and fry for 5–15 minutes, mashing and stirring with a potato masher or fish slice, until the bubble is heated through and has enough crusty black bits to suit you. Taste and season.
2 When you’re nearly ready to serve, heat some oil in a frying pan and crack in as many eggs as people you’re serving. Fry, splashing the top of the egg with hot fat, until cooked to your liking.
3 Spoon the bubble onto warm plates, top with the egg and serve with ketchup or brown sauce.