Nostalgia has been big over the last couple of weeks.
Perhaps it's something to do with battening down for Winter, or the imminent descent into indecent Christmas traditionalism. I suspect the nesting instinct plays a part, too.
In any case, when MA was due for his weekly lunch visit (purse strings are tight at the moment) this Saturday, kedgeree seemed like the obvious choice. An Italian living in Paris, he has a weakness for all things British, especially when they emerge from my kitchen.
He was surprised to learn that kedgeree is traditionally a breakfast dish. It's an understandably strange idea for an Italian who's favourite morning bite is a cream-filled doughnut. I conjured up (semi-accurate) scenes of Victorian families enjoying a leisurely weekend breakfast over a newspaper or two, served by the live-in house keeper from a silver, gleaming platter. Suddenly it all makes sense.
Kedgeree today has graduated into an all-day-dish, enjoyed for brunch, lunch or dinner. It is comforting, cosy and virtually fool proof. In fact, it's going to go in to my new series of recipes devoted to time strapped kitchen novices (with fathers-to-be DS and JP heavily in mind). Watch this space.
Serves 3 - 4, takes 30 minutes
Salty, soothing and with a touch of nostalgic class, kedgeree is an easy peasy dish to make any time of the day. I served mine with a peppery salad, but it would also be lovely with a few spoonfuls of freshly cooked peas stirred through for some extra green.
* Smoked haddock filet - 300g
* Milk - 2 cups
* Butter - a couple of knobs
* Leek - 2, trimmed and sliced
* Turmeric - 1 tsp
* Curry powder - 1 tsp
* White rice - 1 cup
* Eggs - 4
* Parsley - a small handful, chopped
* Lemon - juice of 1/4, plus extra slices for serving
Place the haddock and the milk in a saucepan so the fish is in a single layer, submerged in the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy based saucepan, fry the butter, leeks and spices over a medium heat. Cover the pan and stir occasionally.
Once the leeks are soft, add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat with all the spices.
Strain the fish poaching liquid into the pan and add an extra cup of water. Stir well, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes on a low heat, covered. Keep the fish warm in a low oven in the meantime.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs for seven minutes. When the seven minutes are up, run the eggs under cold water, then peel them.
When the rice is cooked, flake the fish into the pan along with the parsley and the lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Cut the eggs in half and place on top of the kedgeree to serve.