culinary cock-up: hasselback potatoes

right, when i attempt to make fancy shite and invariably fuck it up, it shall be encapsulated in a ‘culinary cock-up’ post.

a couple of days ago i saw a beautiful picture of a potato which had been thinly sliced into rounds attached at the bottom, then baked. it looked a bit like a pillbug, and was called a hasselback potato cos of some swedish restaurant. challenge accepted.

so last night i chose five smallish potatoes – two each for husband and me, and one for super-picky stroppy eldest son – and sliced them into rounds joined at the bottom. except i sometimes sliced too deeply and nearly sliced a couple potatoes in twain. whoops.

then i covered them in olive oil and put them in the oven for half an hour. when i took them out to put margarine on them, this is what i found:

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decapitated fucking pillbugs.

whatever, i’ve come this far, i may as well make the whole effort. like the time i decided i HAD to make congee, even though i knew it was going to be disgusting about halfway through cooking it.

anyways i was prepared to write these off as a failed effort and rail against them in a blog post (JUST BAKE YOUR FUCKING POTATOES LIKE A NORMAL PERSON YOU POSH TWAT), but 45 minutes later, when i took them out of the oven and served them with rosemary hollandaise sauce…they were delicious.

seriously. the skins were crunchy, but the centres were creamy like a normal baked potato. good for a relatively easy, fancy dinner addition.

having said that, eldest son didn’t like them. ungrateful little poop.

and NO, you don’t get a picture of the finished item, because i couldn’t be bothered. if you want fancy pictures go to another blog!

the white sauce grimoire

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see this?  it’s called a roux, and it is your new best friend.

just by combining flour and margarine over the hob, you now have a magic thickener that enables you to turn a 59p carton of soya milk – or any other non-dairy milk, hell, even water – into a delicious white sauce that even your omni friends will love.

(apologies if you already know what a roux is, my tone is perhaps more condescending than strictly necessary.)

i’m going to give you my recipe for a basic, bare-bones white sauce, and then tell you how i fancy it up.  all measurements are for around 100g of pasta, or enough for two people.

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oooooh lookie i did a mise-en-place! lol

basic white sauce
ingredients
2 to 3 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flour (can be gluten-free flour if you must)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soya milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t have any to hand, substitute with 1/2 to 1 tsp marmite.  but add more salt to get rid of that bitter aftertaste!)

method
1. melt the margarine over a low-medium heat.  add the salt and flour, and stir until combined into a paste – about one minute.

2. immediately add a splash of the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth.  add the yeast and stir.

3. gradually add the rest of the milk while stirring, until the sauce is smooth and well-mixed.

4. allow to thicken over the heat.  don’t worry if it boils – this is non-dairy milk!  add more milk for a thinner sauce.

5. take off heat.  sauce will thicken upon standing.

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pictured: fancy chipotle mac

variations
bechamel – add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and possibly a bay leaf while on the heat

pepper sauce – bechamel + 1 to 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

mac’n’cheez – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and 1 tsp cider vinegar

cheddar mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 Tbsp tomato passata (or 1 tsp paste)

chipotle mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce such as cholula), and 1 to 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander and a quarter of a lime added when the sauce is off the heat.  i also added avocado and vegan chorizo sausage to mine.

fondue – add 1 tsp garlic granules and 1/4 cup hard cider or beer

hollandaise – add 1/2 to 1 tsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and either half a lemon’s zest or a quarter of a lemon’s juice

lemon cream – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and the zest of a whole lemon. smoked paprika is nice with this one too.

that’s what i got today.  stay tuned for why you really need to keep nutritional yeast around at all times!