Slacking – patatas bravas pg.20 and griddled aubergine salad with nuoc cham pg.34, The Accidental Vegetarian

Wow – considering I haven’t been tackling these cookbooks for a fortnight yet, I’ve already fallen behind with my blog posts. I sincerely apologise to those of you who check in regularly as I really do appreciate your support, and I’m about to get my blog back on track. Promise!

You’ll be glad to know that despite my writing tardiness, I have been persisting with working my way through the recipes, and earlier this week, I killed two vegetarian birds with one stone – patatas bravas and griddled aubergine salad.

The first thing to note is that I was seriously craving blood, I mean meat! So had defrosted two juicy steaks to serve with these vegetable dishes. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the largest of the two (my husband would have to make do with the smaller cut.)

Patatas bravas
One of my favourite types of cuisines is tapas. Mainly because I’m one of these people who likes everything so can never pick one dish off a menu and either has to wait until the very last minute when it’s just you left to order, or you persuade your husband/sister/dad/friend to share two dishes. Therefore, tapas is a dream to me – you can order around half a dozen dishes (more if you’re with someone) and have a taste of everything. And no matter which tapas dishes I order, be they meatballs, calamari or scallops with chorizo, I always have to have patatas bravas. Considering this fact, I don’t know why I haven’t attempted to cook them before now.

Note, that the 600g of potatoes recommended by Simon Rimmer to feed 6 people would be ok for 3 if serving a number of dishes, but only 2 as a main meal! Also, from my experience of making crispy wedges and roast potatoes, I wasn’t sure about putting the potatoes in the oven wothout at least blanching them in boiling water first, but I was determined to follow the recipe. Unfortunately I was right and even though I left the potatoes in the oven longer than suggested, they weren’t as crispy as they could have been. The sauce on the other hand was delicious.

I never used to be bothered about chillies – I didn’t mind them but I always felt that they overpowered the taste of a meal if they were too strong. However, since I had really bad food poisoning a month ago, I can’t seem to get enough of those bad boys so I loaded the tomato sauce with them. Very much recommended if you can take the heat!

Griddles aubergine salad with nuoc cham
I don’t have a griddle so the first part of recipe was doomed to fail from the beginning, but I soldiered on with a frying pan…I love aubergines when they’ve been fried (don’t even get me started with tempura aubergine!) and the yoghurt with roasted cumin seeds plus the chili-fuelled nuoc cham not only went well with them but with the patatas bravas and steak as well.

This was pretty much a perfect meal – the kind of food my husband and I really enjoy, just a pity that the potatoes weren’t crispier…

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