Saturday, 29 August 2009

Savoury Rice with Ham & Cheese Omelette

My flatmates have been introduced to Economy Gastronomy on BBC2 and they have been hooked on it ever since. A common feature on the show involves the presenter chefs, Paul and Allegra, working together with the family whose food budget they're helping to reduce, to produce a fancy three-course meal for the family's friends or relatives within three hours using nothing but £10 and whatever they can find in the kitchen at that point in time.

Inspired by their success, I am starting a parody series, Ekonomi Gastronomi, which will consist of a few blog posts mimicking certain parts of the show, in this case, the one I just described. However, since I'm not a celebrity chef, and I did not plan a budget, for this blog I will produce a fancy one-course meal for myself using £1 and whatever I happened to have leftover from previous posts. So the meal for today is riz aux legumes with jambon and mild cheddar in an egg casing, or put simply, mixed vegetable savoury rice and ham & cheese omelette.

This was a chance find. Have never used this before, but can imagine that this could be a nice alternative to the plain rice that we are all used to. It turned out pretty okay.. perhaps a little salty, but it was still acceptable.

The British love their sandwiches, and in most supermarkets you would find an aisle dedicated to cooked meats and other sandwich fillings. There is a fairly comprehensive range of Basics ones, including cooked chicken tikka masala, but the one that most of us coming from overseas will be familiar with is ham. This comes in two varieties, cooked ham slices, as shown below, and wafer-thin ham, which is, as its name suggests, thinner than usual, and (for me at least) gives an excuse to put more of it into your sandwich. Of the latter, there is an interesting story to tell. Its predecessor to this was the Sainsbury's Basics Wafer-thin Pork Shoulder. I bought this in my second year at university, and regretted doing so. It tasted sweet, almost sickly sweet. I don't actually remember the honey-roasted wafer-thin ham being this sweet at all. I don't remember when they took it off their shelves, but was certainly disappointed to see it gone, because it would have otherwise made for a more entertaining post.

Sadly, all we have for today is the sliced ham. I didn't really want to have 400g of ham that nobody in the house wanted to eat, and those of you living in university dorms might not have a big enough fridge to hold so many items. This ham tastes pretty alright, but does leave a slightly overwhelming aftertaste. Possibly best served with as much bread as possible to compensate said aftertaste. Try not to feed your friends with this.

Alright. prepare the savoury rice by following the instructions on the back of the bag. While it's cooking, cut up the ham and cheese into little pieces.

Heat oil in a pan. While waiting, crack two eggs, and add milk and pepper. Beat with a fork, trying to get as much air into the mixture as possible. The more air, the fluffier the omelette.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and wait for it to set slightly. Add the ham and cheese, and attempt to fold over. Check the rice is done, put together, and serve.

So on to the costings, just like they do it on Economy Gastronomy. I used 2 slices of ham, which works out to be 10p. Add to this the savoury rice, which is 28p, the minute amount of cheese (10p?), the two eggs (20p), and the splash of milk, and the total cost comes up to just under 70p. Hopefully this doesn't come round to bite me in the future in terms of increased medical bills.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Cooked Ham£0.5210 slices+£0.48Higher meat content, better tasting ham, choice between smoked or honey roast
Savoury Rice£0.281+£0.18More variety, higher quality. Recommended.

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