Grace’s Algerian Omelette

My three Bloomsbury Cookbook recipes to date have all been sweet so today I thought I would make something savoury. In her cookbook, Jans Ondaatje Rolls tells how Lydia Lopokova (John Maynard Keynes’ wife) had,

‘a passion for an omelette that Grace prepares; today I had it twice’.

I was intrigued because, to be honest, it didn’t sound that nice. A bit boring I suppose.

These are the ingredients:

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Eggs, onion, rice and stock cube. The tomatoes are for the sauce to serve it with. Nothing that tasty really. I was really beginning to think that Lydia lived on mashed potato if she got so excited about an onion.

The first steps were to slowly fry the onion in butter until soft, then add the rice and ‘1 cup stock’ and simmer for fifteen minutes. If you look at the metal cups, in the photo above, the largest one is one cup. That’s what I used. I used wholegrain basmati rice which said to cook for 25 minutes so I knew that my rice would take longer than the fifteen minutes stated in the recipe.

Well after half an hour the rice was still hard. I was beginning to wonder whether I should have used pre-cooked rice as the recipe is not at all clear. However, I am not a fan of reheating rice and it did say to simmer for 15 minutes as you would with uncooked rice so I was almost sure that my method was right.

I kept having to add more water, and more water and it was still hard 45 minutes later. I kept trying it and it tasted very nice but wasn’t getting soft enough to eat. I kept thinking … just ten more minutes.

The recipe says to ‘serve on a hot oval dish, surrounded with tomato sauce. That’s it. No sauce recipe so I had to make it up.

My ingredients: small plum tomatoes, tomato puree, olive oil, Oregano and Thyme.

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I just heated the above ingredients in a pan and it turned out very well. The herbs that I chose were ones that were stated in the cookbook in other recipes so I assumed they would have been freely available.

Still waiting, and testing for softness, so much that I feel I have eaten a portion already. More water, higher temperature and hope for the best. At last, after about an hour things are softening up. The flavour is very intense in a strong savoury sort of way. That can’t be just down to one vegetarian stock cube can it? Must be because there isn’t a lot of other stuff in there.

Time for the omelette and the spreading of the onion/rice mixture on top.

And the verdict? Well it tasted very nice and wasn’t bland as I thought it would be. I was really fed up by the end with it needing so much simmering but perhaps that was my choice of rice or not enough water. Anyway, the top and bottom of it is: NO, I would not make it again, but YES I would eat it if someone put it in front of me already made but I wouldn’t want it twice in one day like Lydia did, or even twice in one month. Nice but not that nice.

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