The first cookery book I ever bought was called The Pauper's Cookbook, by Jocasta Innes, who later went on to become an expert in the sort of paint effects that everyone except idle me put on their walls in the 1980s - you remember, all that rag-rolling and dragging and stencilling. I've still got my copy, an old, browning food-stained Penguin, the front cover falling off. I've always loved it, and this is one of my favourites from it ... easy to make, although it needs a long time in the oven too cook through. A good dish for supper when you've been out Christmas shopping - cheap winter comfort food.
Onion, bacon and potato hotpot
4 large onions
4 large potatoes
one pint of white sauce
Make the white sauce with oil and skimmed milk. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Peel and slice the vegetables (bear in mind that the onions take a little longer to cook so need to be sliced a little more finely than the potatoes). Chop the bacon (I used largish pieces, but you can use chopped rashers, or those little bits you can buy ready-cut in the supermarket). Grease a casserole (one with a lid). Layer the potatoes, onion and bacon, ending with potatoes. Pour on the white sauce. Cover. Bake in a hot oven, 200C, for an hour. Uncover, then bake at 150C for a further hour.
This is good with cabbage or sprouts.
Beaux art - A visit to the American Impressionism exhibition currently on at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is recommended if you are drawn to Mary Cassatt ...
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