The Ratatouille.

There is a kind of order of Frying, from Sautéing to Deep Frying and nowadays also Air Frying. Being more of an adept of the first kind, I will start with just simple pan frying Veg with a little Oil. Veg do get crisp but also tender when they encounter a little bit of Oil. The essential ustensils are a frying pan which can have edges from one inch to more, more is better. The depth is important when you are frying. A spatula is usually convenient to destuck anything but also a large slotted spoon is a must to drain any Oil excess.

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  Rendering Onions in a Frying Pan. It requires a knob of Salted Butter and a little Oil either Rapeseed Oil or Sunflower Oil. It doesn't have to be very greasy. It is almost a caramelisation process. However the Oil prevents the Butter to burn. This method is perfect to cook Onions to build up a Burger or a Hot Dog.

Another consideration to have is the choice of Oil which is important. It may seem like a trivial matter but it isn't especially when you are Frying. The Oil can impart flavours to your Ingredients, your Vegetables. A Garlic infused Olive Oil can give a French or Med vibe to your Dish. A Chilli infused Oil can bring the Veg the Spices to be alive in your palate.

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My Home Made Chilli Oil with the Cayenne Chillies from the Garden. It does give a bit of a kick alright. When frying with it infuses flavours to the Ingredients.

Now Frying doesn't have to mean greasy. There is a just balance. In terms of Sautéing you just render your Vegetables in a Frying Pan up until tender or up until crisp depending on what you have in mind or the recipe you are following. I am rather old school in that matter, starting with a good knob of Butter, preferably salted and then a little drizzle of Oil for the Butter to not burn, then I adjust everything as the cook/meal goes along.

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 Home Made Sage Butter. Butter just like Oil can be flavoured. A Herb twist on a Butter is always good to store in the Pantry or in a Fridge.

To Sauté Vegetables is a nice way to prepare a Side Dish or even a Main. To refer to the picture of my Home Made Sage Butter, it goes really well with Butternut Squash sautéed with Cavalo Nero Kale. The Dish takes time (about an hour) to cook through but it is worth the patience. It is Autumnal and goes really well with Belly of Pork or Lardons. It can be either a Sunday Dinner Side Dish or a Midweek one. 

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Sautéed Butternut Squash and Cavalo Nero Kale with chopped Shallots, Parsley and Hazelnuts. Optionals are Chilli Flakes, Cumin Seeds, chopped Garlic, smoked Paprika. It is a seasonal Dish which is mainly for September, October and November.

More commonly throughout the year, I do like preparing a Side of Sautéed Potatoes. Usually I am not peeling them just washing them prior to dicing them. The varieties of Potatoes which are quite suitable to be cooked in that way are the small ones: Baby New Potatoes, Charlotte Potatoes, Baby Royal Jersey Potatoes, Anya Potatoes... There again, it is a start in the Frying Pan with Butter and a little Oil. Then add the diced Potatoes. Build up the flavours with either chopped Onion or Shallots and Garlic. Chopped Rosemary, Parsley and Thyme do not go amiss in that simple Dish. Cracked Black Peppercorn and Sea Salt to season then you finish with a very substantial Side.


Sautéed Potatoes. Rendering the colours gives the richness to the flavours of that simple Dish. It is all about the Butter and the base and the Herbs.

The Sautéed Potatoes can be elevated to other dimensions depending on the feel you want to give them. May it be Spanish: Patatas Bravas style... When your Potatoes are rendered, then add Tomatoes as well as your chopped Spanish Onion and crushed, peeled Garlic. Stir. The melted Butter and Oil should or partly have disolved into the golden crust of your diced Potatoes. This time to peel the Potatoes during the preparation is closer to the Spanish version, but it is not necessary. However what is necessary is smoked Paprika for the Spicy Tomato Sauce you are building up. But I will say also the addition of a chopped Chilli would not go amiss to give the Sauce a kick.

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Patatas Bravas. (Picture is from Dreamstime). This Tapas Dish can easily be accompanied with an Aioli Dipping Sauce but also some slices of cooked Chorizo (either Dolce or Piquante), and chopped Parsley for decoration and for more added Flavours.

In terms of Frying Potatoes, especially, of course we can not escape the French Fries, the Potato Chips and the Crisps. Spuds do land themselves in the realm of Frying and Deep Frying perfectly well. I do have memories of helping my Mum to prepare them when I was young. It was almost a family affair: the Children were at the peeling the Potatoes duty, my Dad was usually at the preparing the Oil in the deep Pan to reach the right temparature task, while my Mum was removing the 'eyes' of any Potatoes before carving them into decent Fries. I would say it was like a well oiled routine with a smile but I will also add we, all of us, didn't mind it because of the excitation that we were having French Fries that night or afternoon. My Mum always triple fried the Fries which could take some times but it was worth the while. Our slight impatience was always met with delight at the table, speaking of great expatation. They were usually eaten with Roast Chicken on a Sunday afternoon Lunch or Dinner.

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Deep Fried French Fries: Golden crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They are claimed to originate from France but also Belgium. In essence, they are a Side, but can also be eaten on their own at leisure strowling about the Seaside. Their shapes are the matchstick one to be French Fries, if not they will be called simply Chips. The Oil we used back in the days in my Family was Sunflower Oil or Vegetable Oil. I do the same concerning French Fries whenever I do them nowadays. (The Oil I use the most for Deep Frying is called Flora).

A fried Potato can come in any shape or form because the Potato is so versatile as a Veg. Once I did them whole, with skin on. They were small Baby New Potatoes. You can put them onto Skewers to be dipped to fry into the Oil. To be honest when you have a Summer Party on, those littles babies are winners, even if they are ever so simple to make. They can accompany different Meaty Skewers (Beef, Chicken, Pork) or even other Fried Veg Skewers. Potatoes are a staple Veg.

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 Baby New Potatoes Skewers, fried: They are simple yet convenient and substential as a side. You can dip them in a lot of Sauces, one Potato at a time. Dip and eat then go for your next Potato in the line. It can mean plenty of Dips and Sauces to indulge upon, like Tomato Salsa, Béarnaise, Chilli Mayo, Aioli, Blue Cheese Sauce, Ranch, or Honey and Mustard... The list can be long depending on the party you are holding.

To remain in the realm of Potatoes, fried, we can mention Wedges, or if you prefer to call those the Rustic Chips. They are not the French Fries style when you cut around the edges to make them look like rectangular matchsticks thick or slim. Wedges are more or less a rough cut of a Potato but they are still ever so enjoyable. If I prefer Sautéeing them in order to give the Wedges the nice treatment of being coated with dry Spices to give them some Oomph: Garlic Granules, and Onion ones, or shall we say Salt or Powder since they are so small but they do impart Flavours, Smoked Paprika is welcomed to the mix, then a dried Herb of your choice or even two.

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 Fried Potato Wedges, garnished with Parsley served with a dip of Tomato Ketchup. When they are still piping hot you can grate some Parmesan upon them to make the Wedges even more lavish. As for the Dip you can always jazz it up a bit. Going for Ketchup is a safe bait crowd pleaser.

From the Rustic Potato Wedges, we are going to dive in the refined world of 'Pomme Dauphine'. Pommes Dauphine are in fact little balls of puréed Potatoes being souffléed and Fried. When those were dished out for a Meal in my childhood, I can tell you one thing there were no leftovers whatsover. It does require a fair amount of technic to do them but at the end, it is puffed and light hence a delight.

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Those little puff Potato Balls are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Pommes Dauphine are like Ferrerro Rochers are in the world Chocolate, but there are in the world of Potatoes. We can also compare them to be the profiteroles Potatoes hence the Créme de la Créme...

Then we should turn our eyes to Crisps for Fried Veg they are indeed... We all know the Potato ones, we almost grew up with them. Back in the days in France they were called Flodors due to the main brand there. But in England, 1996, Walkers, pretty much ruled the market for Crisps. I remember eating my first Salt and Vinegar Crisps then. It almost felt like a revelation. Crisps didn't have to be flavoured with Oil and Salt only. The World was your Oyster and Potatoes didn't have to be the main base for Crisps either...

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  Above My Fav... in terms of Crisps. Next would be Tyrells Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar ones. My Man and I do play blindfolded tests upon products. We choose a product we like a lot, then once a month we do play the game, get many of items of that product from many brands and do the 'Taste' test. It is a very interesting thing to do. It is to try to be more assertive as a buyer. It is also to make sure that we do buy for the Taste but not solely for the Brand because we kind of grew up with it, the big Brands, to the extent that we are just Buyist now. So we played the Crisps Game with the flavour we like the most for Crisps; Salt and Vinegar. We thought that the Walkers would come right on top but nope. In our household we both definitely preferred the Kettle Crisps flavoured with Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar.

 To make Crisps at Home is not a Science but does require caution especially since dealing with Oil to Fry: extra hot. Another caution does regard the Vegetable to be used to be thinely sliced. So it is a matter of not chopping or cutting a finger doing so... A Mandolin can help to achieve good results in terms of slicing in an even fashion the Vegetables. But there again when using one you must pay attention at what you are doing. As a rule of thumb, like a Mother could say anything that does have blades is no longer a playing matter therefore carefulness is to be had.


A Mandolin is a very useful tool to have in a kitchen for grating or slicing. It is convenient. However you always must take care whilst using it, for your fingers to not be a bit dented as well.

It goes without saying that the thinner the slice of Veg is, the faster it will cook. But it doesn't mean that a little preparation after the slicing is not necessary. Soaking the slices in Water for half an hour is always best. The Water can be at room temperature or cold. Give it a generous handful of Rock Sea Salt and a couple of Tablespoons of Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar adds a nice subtle flavour to the Crisps). This bath of the slices does also get rid of the last impurities upon the Vegetables.

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A little Vinegar does help with the flavours. Coming from Normandy, I tend to go or reach for Cider Vinegar. Aspall makes a very good one. 

After the Spuds Spa Bath, there is the sauna: the pat drying session in the Tea towel or a Dehydrator. It is a matter of drying the slices before cooking them because we all know what happens when we pour Water upon hot Oil. It can go all over the place and getting burnt in the making. Now we need to know when the Oil did reach the right temperature to start frying. A culinary Thermometre is a helpful ally in the Kitchen for that matter. For a guide line you aim to fry at temperatures from between 130 degrees Celcius to 190 degrees. 160 degrees Celcius is the average best. However there are tricks or tips which you can use to guess the right time to fry with your Oil.

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 Onion Rings. Originally they were a trick to be used to guess if the temperature of the Oil was right to start frying. A battered Onion ring will not only give you the taste of the batter but also tell you if your batter would cling on and pass the test, then it would signal if the Oil was ready to fry the Fish. This was a Fish and Chip Shop tell tale of a good batter but also the one which warned that it was time to fry. This was the tip: throw an Onion Ring covered with batter in the Oil and see what it does... The good old Onion Rings were then created to be something we liked and kept on doing throughout the years.

The history of the Onion Ring is quite something when we think about it. The reported or published origin of it dates from the early 1800's, 1802 to be more precise. Onion Rings just like Potatoes are seen/regarded as humble food hence they can be eaten on their own. They can be said to be Pub Grub or Street Food but they are there to stay for their sweetness is well nice. The Taste or the Test of Time, that is what we can say for them.


  Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To put on the analogy, Onion Rings were meant to be discarded back in the days. But they were kept because of their taste after the Oil temperature test. They were a proper meal deal.

To stay in the Allium family which can be rather pungeant when raw but sweet when cooked, we can mentioned the Shallots. Chopped crispy fried Shallots are not only delicious but also do add texture to a Dish, may it be a Salad or Pasta. They are easy to do. But they need to be overseen during the process so they do not end up being carbonised. We want a golden brown crispy finish, not a black ash finish. 


Preparing a Jar or two of crispy fried Shallots in advance for the Pantry is handy. It can also make a good re-use of cooking Oil which you don't want to throw away. There is no specific rules about how many times you can use your deep frying Oil. But as a rule of thumbs, three to four time is fine as long as you filter your Oil to clear it from any debris and taste it regurlaly. If the Oil start tasting fishy or give a Fish flavour to everything then it is time to change it. My Mum used to keep her deep frying Oil to cook with for up to eight times.

To return to the crispy Fried Shallots, once made, dried, and jarred you can keep them for one to two weeks in your cupboards. Their usage is plentiful. They can add taste and texture to the good old Mac&Cheese. The seasonality of Shallots is rather broad which means that they can be a good addition for a Summer Dish as well as a Winter one. For exemple, a Summer Salad could be juicy sliced Tomatoes on a bed of Pea Shoots, Mint and Basil, topped with crumbled or diced Feta Cheese and the crispy Fried Shallots. Add Italian Herbs, seasoning, a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. You will have a little delight on your hands. Simple.

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Simple sliced Tomato Salad with garnishes of chopped Parsley, toasted Pine Nuts, Sea Salt and crushed Black Peppercorns, and Fried Shallots to add the texture. This is when the very simple gets elevated.

Well Frying is a rather efficient way of cooking especially since it is rather fast. However there are a lot of aspects to consider in the terms of what you did decide to cook. Because preparation add time to the matter. So cutting time in one way doesn't mean it does cut the overall time of cooking a great deal of a lot. A lot of my frying will involve some type of Batter or Breading. It can be rather messy sometimes and sometimes it goes like a letter put in a postbox. Sometimes I have the military line ready: Flour, Eggs, Crumbs... to get the perfect Breadcoating. But I do like to experiment with either Batter or Breading. Therefore the results tend to vary however I do make notes. 

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 Croquettes Potatoes upon a little Bistro Salad. It is a simple Side Dish yet a very decent one to serve. Croquettes are little Mash Potato rolls incased within a breading coating. They are usually made with Mashed Potatoes and any other filling which could be Spring Onions for exemple or Ham or both. It could include Cheese as well. You can be very experimental with those  Fried babies.

When I say experimental with Croquettes, I do mean it. As per say, for a base I do use fluffy milky buttery Mashed Potatoes. But then I tend to includes other Ingredients to jazz things up inside the Croquette. Going Spanish style could involve Chorizo, Manchego Cheese and a little Smoked Paprika. Going Italian may mean Sun Dried Tomatoes, Parma Ham and Oregano. Going Greek with a Potato Croquette can ring a bell with Kalamata Olives and chopped Anchovies. The World is your Oyster upon Potato Croquettes.


Potato Croquettes with leftover Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Filling, BlackPeppercorns seasoned Breadcrumbs coating, served with a chopped Tomatoes and chopped Shallots Salsa with chopped Parsley.

The scope with Breading and Batter goes hand in hand with Frying. So much so that I can not think of a single Veg that you can not cook in that way, either by Frying or Sautéing. Frying involves more Oil in the matter of cooking, rather than Sautéing, if Sautéing does use a source of fat, it is more likely to be Butter. But the lines are so thin in between the two methods, that they are interconnected.

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 Broccoli Florets, sautéed in Salted Butter, with a little bit of Chilli Oil, and sprinkled with Chilli Flakes. (Chopped Garlic to add even more flavour). A handful of Breadcrumbs or chopped Hazelnuts can be delivered to the Dish just before the end to give texture. This is a simple Side to do which can jazz up your Greens. It goes well with a fillet of Fish or a white Meat like Chicken or Turkey.

Vegetables are not really a cup of tea with my Man. You can imagine at the size of him, Omer Simpson saying Doughnuts... Everything brown goes down but everything green will look like evil to him. So a bit of Batter or a bit of covering the Green goes down far much better. No comment! It is a trick, I know, but hey?

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 Breaded Asparagus: They can be such a treat during Easter time. Cover them with a good coating of Breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan and chopped Parsley or even Chervil. Fry them until golden. You can dip them in Soft boiled Eggs, just like Eggs and Soldiers. You can also up the ante, by using Duck Eggs instead of Hen ones. It is Yum.

To say the least, frying Veg has been helpful to make my Man eat them. Otherwise he would only certainly eat Potatoes... So it was a little bit of a dilemma: a How to make my Man eat his Green? The fact is to not to force someone to do his best but to make it a pleasurable experience for his taste or palate, which is second to none. It felt like an up hill challenge. Smile. It was all about creating Dishes or Side Dishes, Starters to entice someone to have a healthier diet.

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 Pan Fried Cauliflower Florets with Five Spice. Rendered with a mix of Chilli Oil and Sesame Oil. This is a very nice Side to have with Asian style Dishes with Meat like Pork Belly or Chicken but also substantial Fish like Monkfish.

Fried Veg can be a go to for people who do not like their Vegetables, I am afraid to say or constate. However I will also say this, despite the fat content the Veg are cooked with, they do taste even better. Don't crucify me, it is just my humble opinion. Anyhow after a Frying session a pat dry is necessary which is not always the case with Sautéing or a simple Pan Fry in shallow Fat.


Rustic Pan Fried Eggs, with Sweet Bell Peppers, Chillies and Tomatoes. This recipe has been adapted throughout the ages. It is known mainly as Huevos Rancheros. The variations of it are multiple, so much so that no one can come up with the original one. (This picture above is not mine, I bought it). I do this Dish on occasion mainly for Brunch. It is very satisfying. The way I do it is by frying Sweet Bell Peppers first (a couple deseeded and chopped). The Oil can be neutral or spiced like my Home Made Chilli Oil. Then I add a fully peeled and crushed Garlic along with an Onion, chopped, a Large Spanish one or a couple of Red ones. A Chilli comes next, it could be sliced and deseeded (A Cayenne Chilli Pepper can give the right get up kick.) Then comes the Tomatoes, all quartered, fresh if possible, from the Garden if possible, all in the frying pan (about four medium size ones or more). Just be liberal! The Tomatoes with their juices will water down the pan a fair bit therefore you are going to need to reduce the juice in order to fry again. It is time to add Herbs dry or fresh (Parsley) but also some Vinegar (Red Wine Vinegar, not much, a TBSP or two). Reduce until you can put your Eggs into the gaps you made to cook them thoroughly. Wait until the white is rendered but the yellow can still be runny... Then enjoy a good hearty Brunch. An optional element can be added before the Eggs in the Dish if you are not Vegetarian which is Chorizo. It imparts a nice Paprika note to the Brunch.

To stay in the wave of the Mexican and Spanish influences we will keep it rolling with something delicious fried and spicy: the Chilli. They can be done as a Tapas or as a part of a lay out Banquet when everyone can help themselves, or as TV nibbles to watch a good Football match. Now growing my own Chillies, I will recommend the Padron one for that purpose. It has a mild to medium heat to it. You can also stuff them with flavoured Cream Cheese (Not spilling the bean: Philadephia and Chives, or the Garlic and Herbs one= Yummy Treats). Easily spicily pleased.


Padron Chillies are rather mild but one in ten can give you a little bit of kick which was a bit more than expected. Therefore it is customary to warn everyone about it/heat. However their size makes them an execellent Fried Snack. For they are bite size.

Now we were speaking about stuffing Padron Chillies, but a lot of veg can be fried stuffed. It includes Flowers, like Courgettes Flowers. Courgettes also called Zucchini have bright yellow Flowers. We do grow them in our Garden. They tend to be very abundant rather than not so we do end up with what is called the Courgette Glut. Therefore eating Courgette Flowers is a very good idea. For they are edible but also can make you feel like being in Italy...

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Courgette Flower from our Garden. We tend to grow Courgettes every year along with Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes. Our success with Courgettes is good. So if there are too many Flowers on a plant, to eat some of them is best to avoid a glut later in the year.

The stuffing of the Courgette Flower is a gentle and rather delicate process but the result after frying can look like a delicacy on a plate, a light yet filling Starter. To use Batter consolidates the Flower before it does hit the Oil but also provides it with the seal it needs to retain its filling. A Batter is of a rather runny consistancy but still does give a good coating. A Batter is created with a base of Flour but also Liquid. The magical recipe of a Batter belongs to you mainly dealing with the ratios for every Ingredient used within it. If a Beer Batter can be nice with Fish, a Sparkling Water one is much better to use with a Flower. 

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 Fried Courgette Flowers in a light Batter.

The Stuffing for Courgette Flowers usually consists of Cheese with a creamy texture: Goat Cheese, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Philadelphia... The addition of Herbs is a bonus like Chives, Parsley, Chervil, even the fragrant Rosemary or the delicate Dill. You can think of making your parcel Flower less Veggie by including chopped Parma Ham or Prosciutto or even little bits of Smoked Salmon. Lemon Zest can also be a plus. The combination is up to you. It could be Philadephia, Chives, Dill, Smoked Salmon and Sicilian Lemon Zest. It can also be Goat Cheese, Wild Garlic and Parsley. Another filling could be the melt in the mouth Mozzarella, with chopped Basil and chopped Sundried Tomatoes. Or you can use chopped Bottarga, mix it with Ricotta Cheese, add Rosemary and Lemon Zest.


For Stuffed Courgette Flowers the possibilities are endless. This means make it your own. Serve it with a good Pesto Sauce or Pesto Oil.

In  terms of the Courgettes themselves, they also can be sliced, Breaded or Battered then fried. So does the Aubergines (Eggplant), so does Tomatoes and Spring Onions. They can all be part of a sharing platter which is great to have during Summer time. It is casual Food which has to be done in small frying batches to keep the temperature of the Oil right. Seasoning or spicing the Breadcrumbs is a must in my view. I prepare batches of Breadcrumbs which I keep in the Pantry in sterilised Jars. It is ever so handy to have. My favourites are Breadcrumbs with Rosemary, Black Peppercorns and Lemon Zest. The other Home Made ones I do like a lot to make are the Breadcrumbs flavoured with Smoked Paprika, Chilli Flakes, a pinch of Cayenne Pepper and Sea Salt.

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 All I will say is if you have a blender, you can make Home Made Breadcrumbs which taste banging and are excellent to make a nice coating upon something you want to fry.

As I said My Man doesn't like eating his Vegetables too much. Sometimes it feels a bit like having a giant five years old by your side. But by sautéing and/or frying Veg, I can get him to eat them. Another thing which does work is to encourage him to grow Veg with me. It worked with Aubergines... Smile.


Pan Fried Aubergine slices. They are lovely on their own but they do make an excellent Side for Lamb Chops. You can flavour them by giving them a coating of Breadcrumbs seasoned with Ras El Hanout, chopped Hazelnuts for texture and garnish with chopped Parsley.

To resume Frying Vegetables or to Sauté them give them Oumph. It is the time to love them by giving them all they need to sing on a plate their swan song. It is the time to go lavish with special seasoning in their coating, to dish them out with a good Dressing or Sauce. It is a pure LOVE your Veg. The Oil spin the wheel smoother and the Butter makes it luxurious.