I really like old cookery books...
It's a mix of the almost-musty smell combined with the softness of the well-worn pages, plus the curiosity of who owned them before me. Often there's a name but in one I found recently there was only a handwritten recipe for a Porter Cake, which I have still to make ... but this was still a connection to a previous owner and their cooking, which is something special.
The book is called 'The Good Cook's Encyclopedia' and was published in 1962 so it's hardly ancient, and while I was thumbing through the pages for a recipe for a meaty pie I came across this one instead:
Something appealed about it - probably the thoughts of the salty anchovies combined with the mini-chips and a silky smooth creamy sauce. So I decided to cook it with a small amount of variation. I felt a little bacon would help - as it often does generally in life - and added a little extra zing with a bit of mustard, black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan
So here it is...
- 4 Large Shallots chopped in rings
- 4 Medium Potatoes cut in to mini-chips, rinsed and dried
- 50g of Anchovies in oil
- 300ml Cream
- 1 Streaky Bacon cut into thin strips
- Olive oil
- Black Pepper
- Fry the bacon in olive oil until crisp and remove
- Soften the shallots in the same oil
- In a small ovenproof dish add half the chips, then a layer of anchovies combined with the bacon, top this with the shallots and then finish with the rest of the chips
- Dot the top of the pie with a small amount of butter and drizzle some of the anchovy oil over too for good measure
- Cook in a hot (200C) oven for 10 minutes
- Mix a teaspoon of mustard with the cream and pour into the dish, top with a dusting of parmasan and black pepper
- Cook for a further 30-40 minutes until the chips are cooked and there is some colour on the top of the pie
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.