My wife Jina and I recently had the bright idea of inputting every single solitary expense we had into a budget app on our phones. The novelty of the whole thing somehow managed to make sorting through your finances and dangerous levels of debt an almost fun thing to do on a Sunday evening.
Two days later, having input the previous months worth of receipts, we came to a shocking realisation. The lovely colour coded pie charts and graphs spelt out one very clear message. You are food-aholics! I can’t actually bring myself to tell you what we had spent on food that month, but suffice to say we could probably save up for a deposit on a house if we stopped eating for a while!
Abstaining from food not being the most practical of options, we decided to overhaul our day-to-day food outgoings. Top of the list was eating out for lunch.
Four lovely new Tupperware boxes later and we were ready for anything, well anything that would fit into the box and not get soggy and disgusting by lunchtime.
A week in and not only have we saved money but we are the absolute envy of all our colleagues with our daily changing menu of soups, salads, frittatas and quiches. So far though the best of the bunch has to be tortilla de patatas, the deep-pan potato omelette that is the most commonly served dish in Spain. Hearty and delicious, it is equally tasty when cold so it is perfect for a lunchtime snack on the run. It is also very robust, so you won’t run the risk of it falling to pieces on your commute to work.
In Spain they eat tortilla at anytime of the day and often customise it by adding in their own favourite ingredients, from roast red peppers to chorizo. Here though I have gone with the classic tortilla and paired it with horseradish mayonnaise that works surprisingly well with it. Tortilla is also lovely with cured meats such as Parma ham, or if you want to keep it Spanish, some jamon Serrano or gently fried chorizo.
Try not to loose the run of yourself though; Jina had to stop me from buying some hideously expensive Italian San Daniele cured ham, which would have completely defeated the purpose of our cost saving packed lunch!
Prepare the tortilla for dinner one evening and enjoy the left overs the following day for lunch.
Serves 10 – 12
8-10 inch non-stick frying pan.
Large round plate that is bigger then the frying ban, as it will be used to turn the tortilla.
Plenty of olive oil
400g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
300g onions, thinly sliced
12 organic/free range eggs
2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lambs Lettuce to serve
Fresh horseradish (if you can’t find it you can use wholegrain mustard)
For the horseradish mayonnaise, grate a tbsp of fresh horseradish into some good quality mayonnaise. If you can’t get fresh horseradish then use 2 tsp of wholegrain mustard.
Pour about 2 inches of olive oil into the frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add in the sliced potatoes and onions and cook until golden, turning every now and again. This will take up to 25 mins so don’t be tempted to whack up the heat as the onions will burn. Once the potatoes are golden brown and a little crisp drain off the oil and keep aside.
In a large bowl whisk together all the eggs and season with the salt and plenty of pepper. Add the potato and onion mixture to the eggs and gently incorporate. Add 2 tbsp of oil back into the pan, when it is hot pour in the egg mixture and lower the heat. As the base begins to cook, pull in the sides to create a rounded edge and shake every now and again to loosen the base.
When the tortilla is well set on the base and sides but still wet in the centre, oil the large plate and position it on top of the frying pan. Using a towel so you don’t burn yourself, firmly hold the plate to top of the pan then quickly and in one movement invert the plate and frying pan so the tortilla is now sitting on the plate. Add more oil to the frying pan and then using a spatula, gently slide the tortilla back into the pan, wet side down.
Cook until the base is set and the tortilla feels just firm, with a little give. The aim is to have a moist centre, so be careful not to overcook it or it will be like rubber.