The wonderful Susie Kelly does it again, taking us along her adventures past and present, making us feel as if we were chatting to an old friend, sitting in a comfy chair, and this time we are even exchanging recipes.
In her latest book “The Lazy Cook” Susie weaves stories from her travels and childhood into a pattern of easy and accessible dishes. What’s more, the recipes are written like a story, making them easy to follow, and giving us confidence that we can all get the same delicious results.
She present foods from every corner of the world, and today she shares with us her recipe for Pissaladière, a dish which originated from Nice that Susie dubs as the “France’s riposte to pizza”.
A pastry crust smothered with caramelised onions, decorated with black olives and anchovies. If cooking for vegans or strict vegetarians, omit the anchovies. If you don’t like olives, leave them off. You will still be left with an exquisite onion-delight.
Finely slice 6-8 medium onions. Put them in a heavy pan over the lowest possible heat, with a large knob of butter or a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a handful of fresh thyme leaves. Leave them to luxuriate in the fat for about an hour, while you make the pastry base. By then they should be mellow and golden. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Roll out your pastry (the stirred pastry recipe works well) into a circle or rectangle. Pile on the onions and spread them evenly over the pastry. Traditionally anchovy fillets are laid over the top of the onions in a lattice, with a black olive in each square. Bake at 200C/425F for 25-30 minutes. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with a little olive oil and some fresh thyme.
Use oil for a vegan version
Crazily easy to make, and lower in fat than the rich light shortcrust.
Put in a mixing bowl 2 scant cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar. Pour
over 1⁄2 cup of oil (not olive) and 1⁄4 cup of milk. Stir until you can’t see any flour. Pat into a ball and chill for half an hour. Don’t leave it too long before using, as it quickly becomes oily. A good strong pastry for pasties and pies. Makes sufficient for two 10″ (25cm) tarts or one pie.
Use soya milk for vegan version
Photo: Stijn Nieuwendijk
Susie Kelly was born in grey post-war London, and spent much of her childhood and young adulthood in the beautiful country of Kenya. She now lives in south-west France with a menagerie of assorted animals, and is passionate about animal welfare. Her first book “Best Foot Forward” was published by Transworld Publishers in 2003, followed by “Two Steps Backward”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Travels with Tinkerbelle” and “Swallows and Robins, the Guests in my Garden.” Susie has recently published her memoires “I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry” about growing up in Kenya.
Her latest book “The Lazy Cook“, published by Blackbird in June 2015, is available on Kindle and paperback.