Monday, October 25, 2010

Band Together

Saturday was the day of the Band Together concert in Hagley Park, a massive free outdoor concert organised in the wake of the earthquake. Since it's inconceivable to go to any Hagley Park event without a surfeit of food, I had to make something suitable for taking on a picnic.

Frittata (p149) seemed to fit the bill nicely. I'd managed to get the ingredients together in a lunchtime supermarket mission on Friday, and got up early(ish) on Saturday morning in order to have it made, cooled and packed ready to go in time for the concert.

The first thing to do was to chop the onions and grate the other veges. I used my food processor for both, figuring it would be the quickest and least messy way to get it done. The recipe gives several suggestions of what kind of vegetable to use; I chose potato and courgette - stupidly expensive at this time of year, but I thought it would be the most tasty combination.

As it happens, I wound up with way too much grated vegetable - I only needed three cups but had about five. I set the excess aside with the intention of turning it into potato fritters on Sunday, but when I checked the bowl later, the contents had turned almost black - I didn't fancy making black vege fritters, so my extra courgette and potato went to waste in the end.

Having chopped, grated and measured out the required vegetables, I set about turning them into a frittata, cooking first the onions, then adding the grated veges to the frying pan. By the time these were cooked, I all I had was a panful of green mush. Not too appetising so far! Still, I persevered, pouring over a beaten mixture of eggs, water, cheese and seasoning.

Having made sure the egg mixture was evenly distributed around the pan, I left the frittata to cook through. This took considerably longer than I had anticipated, and it was at least half an hour before I felt it was starting to set. When I was convinced that the egg was cooked through, I sprinkled parmesan on top of the frittata and put it briefly under the grill.

A few short minutes later, the top was nicely golden, and my frittata was done. I took it out and left it to cool. When it was completely cool, I cut the frittata up, and packed it into a chilly bag with my leftover Russian fudge, a small container with leftover apricot and lemon slice, and other bits and bobs necessary for eight hours worth of picnicking.

We arrived at the concert shortly after noon, found a spare patch of grass and set up our picnic blankets. After the long walk from our cars carrying heavy bags and chilly bins, we were all hungry and thirsty, so the food came out almost immediately. And there was a lot of it! I wasn't the only one who'd been busy in the kitchen: Lauren had made a yummy asparagus slice, and Tom had found time to bake some bread. Lauren's Mum produced chicken nibbles and a number of bakery goodies.

All this, along with the usual chips and lollies, was more than enough for our small group! Even the appearance of a flatful of starving students later in the day did not make much more than a slight dent in our generous supplies.

But of course, the food was all part of what made Saturday a great day: lying in the sun, listening to the performances of a broad selection of Kiwi artists, reading a book, and constantly nibbling. Very relaxing - and the people of Canterbury were in dire need of a chance to kick back and relax.

Towards the end of the concert, a good number of the people sitting nearby had already headed home, leaving an open space which was then commandeered by crazy unicycle man (Christchurch readers will probably know the guy I mean; for anyone else, see photo) whose jugging immediately attracted a huge crowd of children to the space immediately in front of us.

Inevitably we were drawn into the game, and spent the final hour of the concert keeping an eye out for flying juggling balls, while simultaneously trying to sing along to Dave Dobbyn or The Exponents. Hilarious. Even my little bowl of Russian fudge managed to catch a rogue ball at one point, but its abilities didn't stretch as far as throwing it back!

Oh, yes, the frittata. It was pretty good, though the piece I had while it was still warm was better than the ones I had cold. It was a little dark on the bottom, though no doubt if you had a heavier-bottomed frypan than I do, it wouldn't darken up the same. Overall, not a bad recipe - and a decent option for a picnic in the sun.

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