I know it might seem frivolous to write about food when London’s burning but, well, since I am scared out of my life by the proximity and madness of current events, I am focusing on what I can do to try and block out what I can’t. And it is already affecting food shopping and normal behaviour. It’s eerie to take your route home and see that all the shops and bars are shut. Only one was open last night, the Turkish greengrocer, and there was a massive queue in it as locals stocked up. It suddenly struck me how dependent on all-hours shopping I am; I have practically nothing left in my fridge after ten days of clearing out but, until tonight, I felt no sense of panic because I live around the corner from 24-hour shops. However, this evening even Tesco’s didn’t dare open. The shutters were down, the cashpoint closed.
Suddenly that heading I always type on here seemed apt: ‘cupboard, or things you may already have’. If ever there was a night that I needed the contents of the cupboard it was this one. Freaked out by the queue in the corner shop, I went home, ‘made do’ with the contents of my kitchen, and cooked piperade, a dish that stretches to accommodate whatever you have, or don’t have. The only things that are really necessary are some eggs, something oniony (I used spring onions but any type would do) and some peppers/tomatoes and garlic. The bacon/chorizo/ham is optional, as are the parsley, yogurt and smoked paprika. It’s a dish that doesn’t take very long, is delicious and soothing. I need some soothing right now.
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive oil, a glug for frying
garlic clove, 1
sea salt and black pepper
spring onions, 2 or one small white or red onion
red pepper, 1-2 depending on their size (those long flat ones, think they are called Romana, are good in this)
tomatoes, 2 medium or 8 plum
bacon, 4 rashers of streaky, or about 80g ham, or cooking chorizo (optional)
flat-leaf parsley, a tablespoonful
plain natural yogurt, a tablespoonful (optional, to serve)
smoked paprika, a pinch (optional, to serve)
1. If using, chop the bacon or chorizo into small pieces and dry-fry until crisp (best not to do this with ham, unless raw).
2. Whilst the meat is cooking, chop the peppers into dice or rings depending on the type, peel and chop the garlic, peel/trim and chop the onion/spring onions, dice the tomatoes, rinse the parsley leaves and chop them, discarding the stems, and put the eggs into a bowl and beat them lightly together.
3. Once the bacon is done, remove it to a plate then pour a glug or two of olive oil into the same frying pan, add the peppers, tomatoes and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softening/blistering and colouring slightly.
4. Now add the spring onions to the pan, cook them for a minute or so then add the eggs. If you are using a white or red onion you may want to cook it a little longer before adding the eggs.
5. Stir the eggs into the vegetables and cook as you would scrambled eggs: either barely set if you like them runny or for longer if you prefer them harder. Finally, stir in the parsley and bacon, season and serve. This is lovely gilded with a spoonful of natural yogurt and a pinch of smoked paprika.