Traditional British Food: Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes

Saturday, June 11, 2011
Bacon, Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes, Poached Eggs
(I also served this with a green salad with walnut-balsamic vinaigrette.)
Because Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes are baked, they're really just cheesy, potato-y biscuits, not what you'd normally think of as a potato cake.  They're really yummy, though.

Paul poached the eggs because he can nearly always manage to crack an egg without breaking the yolk.  He is very, very patient and takes the longest of anyone I've ever seen to crack an egg.  I can't watch him do it, because I start wanting to yell, "Hurry up and crack it already!!!"  I just wallop the egg on the counter and frequently end up shoving my fingers directly into the yolk.  Not great for poached eggs.  We just use our large (13") covered skillet, fill it halfway with water, bring to a boil, salt the water, slide the eggs in one at a time with a saucer, then turn the heat down and simmer the eggs (covered) for 5 minutes.  You'll definitely want a slotted spoon to get the eggs out.  Even though they look a bit funky, I like the texture better than with an egg poacher.  Plus, if you go the "old school" route, you don't have to buy extra equipment.

Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes

Jean Simmons (1947)
Jean Simmons on the set of Uncle Silas
To continue the British theme, I recorded Uncle Silas from TCM (they're showing Jean Simmons movies every Tuesday this month).  Based on Sheridan Le Fanu's gothic novel, which I shamefully have not read, Uncle Silas has more in common with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights than H.E. Bates's genial My Uncle Silas.

The film version of Uncle Silas was made in 1947 and stars a young and very pretty Jean Simmons as Caroline Ruthyn, who comes into a large sum of money, which would go to her unscrupulous Uncle Silas (Derrick de Marney) if anything were to happen to her.  Caroline, unaware of Silas's evil nature, goes to live with her uncle, who is cooking up something nasty for poor Caroline, aided by his dissolute son (Manning Whiley) and an evil cognac-swilling French governess, Madame de la Rougierre, played to perfection by Katina Paxinou.  Will the dashing Lord Richard Ilbury (Derek Bond) come to the rescue in time?

I was surprised at how engrossing this film turned out to be.  The sets are wonderfully decorated and the atmosphere is saturated with gloom and foreboding.  Uncle Silas would be perfect for a dark and stormy night.  Now I need to read the book!

Jean Simmons (1947)
Studio portrait of Jean Simmons in 1947
Uncle Silas is available on DVD.

Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: potatoes, cheddar, shallot, onion, egg

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