Smith & Daughters | patatas bravas
I was extremely excited to receive this book for Christmas. My faunt (fake aunt - Mum’s best mate - everyone has one of those, right?) gave it to me, because she Gives Good Gift.
Smith and Daughters are a pair of Aussies who run a popular vegan restaurant in Melbourne. The book is packed with delicious recipes I've been making my merry way through.
Off camera I’ve tried the breakfast burritos, black bean soup and even some things that don't begin with a b - all with great success. But for my first documented recipe, I was told by my ever-patient photographer husband to try something that would ‘photograph well’ - not all great tasting food makes for great photography, he explained. I was to flick through the book and buy the ingredients for the dish I thought would make for pretty pictures.
What an easy assignment!
I settled on ensalada con patatas bravas because I thought the orange glow would make a beautiful wintry picture. I bought the ingredients, set aside a Saturday and got prepping.
Gaz comes in and takes a look at the recipe. ‘That’s not going to make a good picture. Even they struggled,’ he said, pointing to what I thought was a brilliant photo of some brilliant food.
FFS. This game is HARD.
Oh well. I’m here now, I’ve bought Aivar for the first time in my life, I might as well persevere.
Before I get started, it’s important to celebrate tip number two on their 23 tips page: Don’t follow the recipes too carefully.
Music to my culinarily challenged ears…
Back when I was buying the ingredients online, I clicked ‘add to shopping basket’ for what I presumed would be a decent sized bag of potatoes.
Turned out, I bought a tiny 200g bag. TEN tiny potatoes. I need 1kg. So I have one fifth of the potatoes I need. Don’t follow the recipes too carefully. Don’t follow the recipes too carefully. Don’t follow the recipes too carefully.
‘Shit,’ I say, knocking about in the cupboard. Then I wish I hadn’t, because saying ‘shit’ out loud when you are cooking is like waving a flag that says I HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG ALREADY.
‘What’s up?’ Gaz says from his safe place on the other side of the kitchen. I didn’t buy sherry vinegar. I have some white wine vinegar lurking at the back of the cupboard. Don’t follow the recipes too carefully.
‘It wouldn’t be your recipe if you didn’t that’ll-do it, would it?’ says Gaz. I that’ll-do-ing everything I turn my hand to, then wonder why it looks below par.
White wine vinegar it is. While I'm confessing, I might as well admit I haven’t got any oregano* either, but I found marjoram, which says on the label that it tastes similar to oregano. Similar is the that’ll-do-jackpot. Plus - you know what I’m going to say… Don’t follow the recipes too carefully!
* Mum has since informed me I have a garden full of oregano. Oh yeah.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)
1 tablespoon salt
Half a red onion, cut into thin strips
2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips
Handful of flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons Ajvar (it's a red pepper relish, yo)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Half a tomato, seeds removed
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Quarter teaspoon cumin
Half a teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric and oregano
Teaspoon smoked paprika
125ml olive oil
I’ve never cut the seeds out of my tomatoes before, but in the spirit of trying my best, I follow orders. Besides, I know two little ladies who will be delighted to receive unwanted tomato seeds.
Won’t you girls?
Recipe: Pop the potatoes in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer until the tatters are so succulent you can pierce them with a knife. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Preferably a pretty one, right Instagram?
Throw all the dressing ingredients in a food processor except the oil.
Whiz it up, then slowly add the oil (while the motor is running) until it's combined. Add salt and peps.
Bosh it all together and what have you got? Some very delicious food that looks quite good, if not amazing.
This book is a great find. If you’re anything like as useless as I am, don't try and #lifestyle while you're cooking. Just cook the bloody food and enjoy the deliciousness while you scroll through Instagram’s never ending feed of other people’s perfect food porn.