I am now back home in not so sunny Australia. After a mammoth journey of nearly 36 hours, the first thing I did after walking in the door was go and lay on my bed and cry. I know; tragic isn’t it? The combination of no sleep, not much food and homesickness was all too much for the little chef. As Mr T comforted me, I said that I didn’t know where home was anymore. This is a difficult thing to say out loud, it’s scary to think that your sense of belonging is floating about somewhere in the universe but you’re just not quite sure where. I have given this a lot of thought in the last few days and realised that I may never know where home is. Because home is everywhere, home is with Mr T, home is with my family in England, home is with my friends down the street in Australia, home is with my friends in New York or Afghanistan or Liverpool. I feel like I never fully understood the phrase before but home really is where the heart is; and my heart is shared amongst many people who are scattered around the world.
As I sat on the plane trying not to be a scaredy cat, I started dreaming of what I would cook when I got home. Things which are at once both comforting and delicious. Visions of perfectly roasted chicken with crispy skin flashed through my mind, rice pudding with a little sprinkle of mace and my old favourite; spanish omelette or tortilla if you will. Tortilla is what I make when I want nurturing, it is also what I make when I am poor. Currently, I am both, so it really is the perfect dish.
My jetlag has been working out perfectly for Mr T as it means that I wake before dawn, wander into the kitchen, put the kettle on and then start cooking. I found myself baking a cake at 4:50 am the other day, which was followed by freshly brewed coffee for Mr T, then a two course breakfast, he needs a lot of sustenance for those long days in the vineyard. Today, instead of cake, it was tortilla which was first into the oven. I love the simplicity of the dish, there are a few steps in the process but only four ingredients. Easy peasy! Even my friend Miss E who likes to make soggy cakes would be able to manage this one. The other thing I like about it is that it makes a great snack. Sometimes I purposely make a large one so I can just slice it up and have it in the fridge, ready for my next craving. It makes many an appearance at my dinner parties too. As my guests stand around the island in the kitchen watching me cook, they can nibble away, no plates required.
So, I will try to write this in the most orderly way possible but this really is a chuck it together recipe.
Amelia’s nurturing tortilla
6 Free range eggs
5-6 small potatoes (I just weighed a small potato to give you an idea and one weighed 90g)
Half brown onion
One clove garlic
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees c
- Slice potatoes into 4-5mm rounds using a mandolin (if you don’t have a mandolin just cut into 1 cm cubes, easier than slicing by hand)
- Put potatoes into a pan with cold water to cover, bring to the boil and boil until nearly tender, you want them slightly undercooked
- Whilst potatoes are cooking, slice onion and garlic thinly, fry until tender but not brown, put aside
- Check your potatoes, if they’re ready, strain and put aside
- Whisk your eggs in a large bowl til combined, season with salt and pepper
- Now add the onion, garlic and potatoes to the egg mix and fold together, try not to break up the potatoes.
- Heat a 25 cm frying pan with a metal handle on the stove top, add a little oil and allow to warm up, you want the pan quite hot
- Once pan is ready, pour in your mixture, leave on the stove for a minute to seal the base of the tortilla
- Now pop the tortilla in the oven for 10 mins, check it, it should be set around the edge and still a bit runny in the middle
- Give it another 5 mins in the oven and check again, as soon as the middle is set, it is ready. It can be a bit deceptive so push firmly in the middle or use a skewer to make sure there is no wet egg hiding in the middle. You do not want to overcook it as this changes the texture and you end up with something spongey and rubbery instead of silky and smooth.
- Get a large chopping board or use a large plate to turn the tortilla onto as soon as it comes out of the oven. Be careful not to burn yourself
- Let tortilla cool to room temperature and serve. I like mine with lots of sea salt and japanese mayonnaise. I’m sure you’ll find your own favourite accompaniments. Great for dinner with salad or just as a snack. It ain’t pretty but it’s tasty!
Mr T and I have polished off the tortilla, it went some way to mending my sad little heart. Now all I have to do is cook nurturing food for the next 4 months until I get to see my lovely family again. It is good to be home, in our house, sleeping in our bed and cooking in my kitchen for Mr T and me. Home is just a state of mind, or a state of heart…