This article was originally printed on The Sunday Times of Malta here.

Between meals in New Orleans

I like to think of New Orleans fondly as New York’s younger, raunchier sister, who’s got more than a touch of a feisty European in her. I don’t know many places which are quite as musical. Day and night, in most random bars and even some cafes, musicians and singers are passionately belting out tunes.

Eating and drinking

New Orleans is a haven for seafood lovers, think of Po boys, so many different kinds of oysters, jambalaya and gumbo. It might not be worth going for the higher-end places, simply because the street food- style places offer delicious dishes. The fancier options might tend to lose their authenticity and layers of flavour. You must try the oysters raw or grilled, they’re usually comparatively affordable, rather large, and served on the half shell with an array of condiments (read: hot sauces).

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There are choices and pathways to take. You discover that following a storm a couple of years ago, the easiest paths may be closed, but you might only find out when you’ve walked through them for a couple of minutes. You’re excited for the adventure, wary, not sure how much you can handle or if you were completely awake when you made the decision to come here. But here you are.

The start is hard. Harder than you feel it should be. You may wonder if this was a bad idea, if you bit more than you could chew, if you had better give up now before embarrassing yourself.

Some parts are dangerous – this is not just a perception – you are risking a lot in this challenge. Have you strayed off your path? Check for signs and you will find them. When walking on such paths, you must keep your eyes on your feet, checking only the immediate next step. Looking forward or at the view is distracting and dangerous, it may cause a loss of footing. Looking back may be equally disorienting.

Stairs and steps may be uneven, narrow, slippery. Sometimes you may need to lean on someone or grab a helping hand. Accept help.

Accept the need for occasional rest. Rest is not ‘giving up’. To enjoy the view, ensure safety and stop completely. Rest is brief, it is only long enough to catch your breath. Don’t worry if you need to stop for a minute until someone gets by you.

Still the mind, listen to your own rhythm.

You won’t believe how far you’ve come, even if the road felt long and challenging. You won’t believe the view. Even if your body aches, you will look at the journey and feel proud.


Spanish potato and chorizo tortilla

Living in a household where both humans can get pretty busy for weeks at a time (and the cats are useless at cooking), getting a slow cooker has been a life-saver. Rather than surviving on quick meals and take-outs during these times (think: production week), just a little bit of effort produced delicious and comforting meals, sometimes prepped at 11pm and cooking overnight. This was especially the case when making breakfast food that you can eat at any time, such as this Spanish tortilla and variations of it. You’ll always need between 6-8 eggs to start with, then add 2-3 other ingredients making sure to avoid food that produces too much moisture (e.g. mushrooms) if you’re planning to make the omelette / frittata last a few days. Once you’ve made this, you’ll have a handy snack to have as breakfast, or to stick into a wrap or pita bread, or for example chopped up and added to some greens, and consumed cold or heated up.

For this recipe I used:

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 small wild boar sausages, chopped into small cubes
  • 8 baby potatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 80g chopped jalapeno cheddar
  • ground pepper to taste

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(I avoid adding salt to uncooked eggs as it tends to bring the water out of them, but that is a personal choice, you can add salt after it is cooked)

Other times I’ve replaced the potatoes/sausage combo (since chopping potatoes can be the most time-consuming part of the process) with sliced courgettes/sweetcorn/bacon or even finely chopped broccoli.

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To make the cleaning time quicker, you may want to line your slow cooker with a baking sheet as so, cutting off the excess before covering with the lid:

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Putting the whole thing together is easy: just whisk the eggs before adding your other ingredients. Then place in your slow cooker and even the top out with a spoon. Set your cooker on low heat for 8 hours and wake up to a delicious breakfast.

Please leave comments with other ideas for making frittata !