Make Ahead Bubble & Squeak

If you have a house full of guests, this recipe is brilliant for making in advance the day before, ready to effortlessly fry in the morning, as though you’ve been up preparing since 6am.

MAKES EIGHT PATTIES

VEGETARIAN

Here's how you do it

1.       Peel and chop the potatoes and boil them for 15-20 minutes. Once soft, drain and mash with a splash of milk and a generous knob of butter. Once smooth, mix in the stuffing and cover to keep warm.

2.       Next shred the cabbage and dice the carrots, and steam for approximately 10 minutes, chuck the spinach in for the last few minutes to let it wilt. Remove from the heat when a knife gives a hint of resistance as you insert it into a carrot.

3.       Whilst they are steaming away, finely chop and fry the onion on a medium heat, in a little extra virgin olive oil, until just caramelised as this releases more flavour (still soft, but a lovely brown colour). If the onion does start to dry out, just add a splash of water to the pan as needed until the perfect colour. Be sure to stir every few minutes, increasing towards the end.

4.       Now the fun part. Mix it all together. Get your hands in there if you so wish, make sure the veggies, onions and potatoes are thoroughly mixed.

5.       You have options here. You can freeze this glorious mix for defrosting another day. Or store it in the fridge overnight (highly recommended as the stuffing softens) and cook the following morning for a relaxed brunch. Or cook straight away.

6.       Ready to cook? Good. Heat up your extra virgin olive oil in the pan and once hot, split the mixture into 8-10 balls. I like to place them in the oil and squidge them down into a pattie whilst in the pan, neatening the edges with the spatula as I go.

7.       Fry on a high heat for approximately 7-10 minutes each side, or until they become deliciously crispy before burning. Keep gently lifting every few minutes so as to prevent them sticking.

8.       Whilst they are frying, pop your pot of water onto boil and poach your eggs. Scared of poaching? You’re not alone. Keep it simple – make sure your water is gently simmering, with a dash of vinegar in the water. The most important thing to remember is to use fresh eggs, as fresh as possible. Our eggs are sourced from a local farm, so they are still wonderfully fresh by the time they get to you, perfect for poaching.

9.       Breaking the egg into a small ramekin first helps with gently lowering it in. But first, stir your simmering water into a whirlpool and very gently tip your egg in (you can drain your egg first in a tiny sieve to remove the wispy bits that occur when poaching). Leave for approximately 1-2 minutes for a runny yolk (remove from the heat once you cannot see the yellow of the yolk anymore, they will continue cooking in the heat of the water until you remove them, so don’t leave them too long), and lift out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen towel before serving, so that you don’t drip water all over you wonderfully crispy bubble and squeak. Garnish with a little cracked pepper. It’s not so scary after all.

Obviously, you can bypass all of this if you have leftovers from a jolly good roast dinner the night before. If not, this really is a treat the following morning, after maybe a few glasses of wine. Serve with a copious amount of bread to soak up any excess alcohol lingering in the system and a well-earned cup of tea. However, this is a rather nice Monday night dinner too.

If sprouts are in season, then most definitely chop them up and chuck them in with the cabbage and carrots. But sadly, these wondrous little brassicas aren’t available all year round. Whenever I have tried to cook with frozen ones, I always want to cry a little bit. Make the most of them when fresh, they always get lost (and over-boiled) in the Christmas roast, but pan frying them is simply delightful, leaving a little bit of bite to them.

With regards to caramelising the onion, you can actually cook a few onions at a time and store the remainder in the fridge for a few days for use with another dish later in the week. The sweeter flavour with cooking them longer works well in Asian dishes, French cuisine and is very tasty as a pizza topping. Or simply add to toast rounds on top of a little goats cheese. Oooh. I might have to go and have a rummage in the fridge now.

Ingredients

  • One large onion
  • Half a sweetheart cabbage
  • Four small carrots
  • Handful of spinach
  • Four large potatoes
  • 50g dried stuffing
  • One or two very fresh free-range egg per person

What’s in this recipe