Thursday, May 31, 2007
Have a nice weekend everyone and take care :)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Most of you know that I don´t like fish and I have a mission: to find recipes that makes fish taste less fishy. From the start my intention was trying to eat fish at least once a week but as I see I´m very bad at it. BUT then I found a new "candidate" that I could think of trying. It´s a Jill Dupleix recipe and comes from delicious. Aus Vol3 Issue3. Recipe says to use any white fish so I used cod, which is a fish that doesn´t taste too fishy from the start. Then comes the Prosciutto wrapping that I was hoping would add another dimension to the flavour of the dish.
fish saltimbocca with mashed peas
1 x 160-180g skinless firm white fish fillets
1 thin, wide prosciutto slice
1 large sage leave
1/2 tbs vegetable oil
100g frozen peas
5g unsalted butter
snow pea sprouts and lemon wedges to serve
Season fish and wrap in prosciutto, secure sage leaf on the presentation side with a toothpick. Cook fish over medium heat sage-side down for 5 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp and golden. Turn and cook for a further 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness, until fish is cooked. Keep warm.
Cook the peas in simmering salted water for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 tbs of the cooking water, Whiz peas with butter in a food processor until a coarse mash, then season. Return to low heat and gradually beat in water with a wooden spoon. Dollop peas on a plate, top with the fish, sage-side up, and serve with sprouts and lemon.
This turned out great! I loved the sweetness of the peas combined with the salty, crispy prosciutto wraps and the lemon squeezed over it. Yummy!
My only complaint was that it was too small a serving of the mashed peas. I didn´t have any carbs with it and didn´t really missed it either, but next time I´ll double the peas up. This is a keeper, and I think it would qualify to Pistachio´s "Quick midweek" . Check it out, it is very useful for a working girl!
Table for one
Once considered the preserve of travelling salesmen and those who had been stood up, eating out alone is now commonplace. In fact, says Julie Bindel, for committed foodies, solitary dining is a pleasure
Wednesday May 30,
'The best number for a dinner party is two - myself and a damn good head waiter," said the eminent British businessman Nubar Gulbenkian in the 1960s. A sentiment shared, though often not admitted, by a growing number of foodies.
Although one of my favourite pastimes is cooking for or eating out with friends, I positively love dining out alone. Whether travelling for work, or popping into Chinatown at the end of a busy day to savour braised pig trotters with star anise, it gives me a thrilling sense of being a proper, independent grown-up. Fish finger sandwiches make great lazy comfort food, but occasionally I want to indulge myself a little, undisturbed.
Food writer Clarissa Hyman often dines out alone, either as a restaurant reviewer or when work takes her away from home. "The quality of a restaurant can be determined by how lone diners are treated," she says, "so if you are put in a dark corner and ignored, standards are obviously low."
To the Oyster Bar at Bentley's, Richard Corrigan's new venture in London's Piccadilly, for dinner. From the moment I sit at the sumptuous bar, I feel comfortable and relaxed. I am the only woman - several businessmen tuck into their food and read books or newspapers. The waiter pays me just the right amount of attention so that I felt looked after but not patronised. After downing some delicious oysters, followed by haddock, crushed potatoes and cabbage, I strike up a conversation about the joys of black sambuca with my neighbour. He tells me that, as a man, he never feels self-conscious eating alone because, "everyone will assume I am a travelling businessman", which indeed he is.
Barrafina, an L-shaped 23-seat tapas bar in Soho, is also perfect for lone diners. There is usually a queue snaking out the door, which can make leisurely group dining feel somewhat selfish. Wines and superb sherries are served by the glass, dishes are small, and there is plenty to entertain, such as watching the chefs cook tortillas, shuck clams, and fry melt-in-the-mouth chicken croquettes. Tiny lamb chops cook on the plancha (flat grill) as my waiter delivers raw baby clams.
This has to be the perfect way to dine alone. I can watch everyone else, summon the waiter with a glance, and order several dishes all to myself without being stuffed to the gills or worrying about hogging a whole table to myself.
This solitary pursuit is not, however, without its pitfalls. One of the problems, says Hyman, "is that without the distraction of dining companions we eat too quickly." We can also drink too quickly in the absence of conversation or the need for decorum.
Hyman also says she would never ever take herself to a restaurant on a Saturday evening. "You are stared at as if no one wants you, and restaurants are always full of couples having a romantic meal."
For female diners, unwanted attention from men is not unusual. Friends have told me about lone male diners sending over drinks, presuming that any woman eating alone would welcome company. While this can be flattering, it can also feel intrusive. Waiters, too, can sometimes overstep the mark, such as the one who spent half the evening asking me where my husband was, and whether I wanted a drink with him later.
When foreign correspondent Rose George was working in Goa, she soon tired of eating alone every evening. "There's only so much room service you can take," she says. One evening she was taken pity on by two IT consultants from Australia and asked to join them. "I couldn't comfortably say no," says George, "but the experience did make eating alone seem preferable."
George felt that, alone, she was not treated equally to other customers. "When there was a blackout in the restaurant one night, every table was given a candle except mine. I was the only one eating alone, and my very nice meal was ruined by incandescent fury."
Perhaps waiters expect a smaller tip from lone diners? One waiter in a popular Cantonese restaurant in Soho says that women eating alone often leave very small tips. "Men are better, probably because they want to show off. Or maybe they have more money?"
Food lover Sandra McNeill often travels to continental Europe alone. In Italy she is often distinctly unwelcome as a female lone diner. "You get a look of disapproval from waiters if you order wine, and nods of approval if you don't," she says. (Hyman has found that waiters often assume lone females will know nothing about wine, and I have, on occasion, overindulged on the grape due to the restaurant having no decent half bottles on offer.)
As lone dining becomes more popular, technology lends a hand to those reluctant to enjoy their own company. American website solodining.com has a story of a diner who arrived at a restaurant with a portable DVD player and headphones, and watched an entire movie while eating an elaborate three-course meal. Meanwhile, some enterprising high-end hotel restaurants have even installed individual TV screens and headphones on single tables, so that female lone diners might feel less open to unwanted interruption.
"What a terrible idea," says Hyman. "One of the pleasures for women eating alone is to be able to eavesdrop. Recently I heard an entire conversation between an elderly married couple which was as good as an Alan Bennett play." Even worse, she says, is the latest trend towards communal tables, where you can be forced to talk to boring diners. Aside from restaurants such as Wagamama, where the communal table is simply for convenience of space and very few people talk to each other, restaurants such as Dish Dash in Soho positively promote the concept as a way to get lone diners communicating. "If you view yourself as a community restaurant," says a spokesperson for Dish Dash, "then what you're doing is giving the community you serve the chance to meet and get into conversation with one another."
As someone who believes that exceptional food needs no distraction - particularly from friends moaning about the cost - I take exception to the words of the novelist Henry James: "Women never dine alone. When they dine alone they don't dine." News to me.
I too have actually been put , not into a dark corner, but to a table by the door where the waiters were running in and out all night and I had to share table with a nice, old gentleman. This was on another holiday in Greece, the gentleman was about 70 and I was 30, dreaming about meeting some nice guy to have a chat with, and here I was, politely listening to his story about how him and his wife, who has passed away, has been going to this same island and restaurant for the last 30 years. Don´t get me wrong, it was nice and occasionally I do enjoy talking to older gentlemen, but that evening I would´ve preferred looking deeply in someone else´s eyes and listening to completely different stories :) Also it is not uncommon being invited for drinks by waiters, by the owner of the island´s bakery (and "you really should accept it, Ms!!") or the gentleman sitting by the bar :D To accept or not to accept, that is the question.
So what do you think, Ladies? Do we have a tough life or what? ;)
How about you? Have you been dining alone? Any funny, sad, nice, boring stories to share? Please, join me at my table for one, and tell.
Monday, May 28, 2007
then made these and just had to try one, and then try one more, and then one more to be able to decide what I thought about them
so today I thought it would be on it´s place with a bit healthier food if I don´t want to buy a new bikini before my trip.
The pancake recipe I found on Kelly-Jane´s blog and since then I´ve made them twice. They are just perfect! The recipe works every time, you don´t have to fiddle with it. The pancakes are wonderfully fluffy and taste buttery, caramelly (is there such a word?).
Here is the magical recipe, from Dorie Greenspan´s Pancakes from Morning to Midnight via Kelly-Jane:
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fl oz) buttermilk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or jug mix the buttermilk, egg and butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Fry pancakes.
I promised myself not to buy any cookbooks during the summer as I would like to squeeze in another vacation later in August and I´ll need all the money I can scrape together. (The cookbooks I might find in Greece or Hungary or Romania doesn´t count, of course!!) However, the first book I´ll buy this autumn will be one of Ms Greenspan´s. I don´t think I can go wrong with any of her books because I´ve seen lot of praise out there in the food-blogosphere.
My next stop was Nigella´s Cappuccino Cupcake. I´ve had my eyes on them ever since I bought the "Domestic Goddess" and now their time has come too. They looked great and they were nice but I was a bit disappointed,I guess I just expected too much. Somehow it´s my own fault, I built it up in my head several times, I thought they will be heavenly. Well, they didn´t do it for me. I won´t type in the recipe as I believe most of us has got the book but in case you haven´t and you would like to have the recipe, let me know.
So, finally to today´s lunch. I made the Saag Paneer with "fake" paneer. I wanted to use up the halloumi I had in my fridge and in Feast Nigella uses it in the Muttar Paneer, so I thought why not? This was nice but sadly it didn´t have any mmmm-factor... I based this on a recipe I found in World Food Cafe but last time I made it was a bit bland so this time I tried to spice it up a bit. I searched and found various recipes on the web, so I added cardamom, garlic, chilly powder, nutmeg, ground and fresh coriander but without a good result. Thing is that I like Saag eller Palakh Paneer very much when eating it in a restaurant, so I´ll just have to keep looking for recipes or be more attentive next time I have it and try to identify "secret" ingredients :)
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Anyway, I had some lamb mince left after making Tessa Kiros´ moussaka and I thought it was time to use it up. I had about 365g so I adapted the recipe to serve 3. I didn´t know what to expect taste-wise but I was pleasantly surprised. It tasted so comforting, it was slightly sweet from the tomatoes and it was interesting to pair the meatballs with the eggs. I definitely liked it and this goes onto my list over regulars. this is very easy to make and I´ll give you the recipe for 4, because then it´s easier for you to halve or double.
1 large red onion
500g lamb mince
2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs olive oil
800g canned chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1-2 tbs finely chopped coriander root
1/2 red onions, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
2 small pinches of saffron threads
juice of 1 lemon
For paste, pound garlic to a puree with a pinch of salt. Ad all other ingredients except juice, then work into a paste. Stir in juice. Set aside.
Mix onion, mince, parsley and ground coriander well with salt and pepper. Use hands to make 12 balls. Heat oil in a heavy based pan over medium heat, add meatballs and brown all over. Remove and set aside.
Add paste and stir for 1 minute until aromatic. Return meatballs to pan, add tomato and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked and sauce has thickened. Carefully crack eggs on top for final 5 minutes. Serve scattered with coriander leaves and black pepper.
Yesterday for lunch I had Nigella´s Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry and I had some coconut milk left that I wanted to use up. I remembered that Ilana at I heart Risotto! has adapted a Tessa Kiros ice cream recipe and I went to look it up. I found the recipe, made it last night (it´s sooo easy, no custard involved, just whisk everything together) and I had this wonderful ice cream today after the Kofta Tagine.
dreamy coconut ice cream
250ml coconut milk
250ml heavy cream
125ml maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together the maple syrup and heavy (double) cream. Add the vanilla and whisk in the coconut milk. Transfer to a measuring jug. From here on,either you churn into your ice cream machine or you start the boring work with putting ice cream into a container, in to the freezer, and then whisking ice cream vigorously every hour for 3-4 hours...and get your reward in the end! It´s so worth it!
I was a bit short of coconut milk but used cream instead and also to pump the coconut flavour up, I used a few drop of coconut essence. I omitted the vanilla flavour as I thought it would be too much. The end result was fabulous! I loved that smoky, burnt flavor of maple syrup and the coconut together and didn´t miss the vanilla flavour at all. Thanks Tessa and Ilana!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Oh, sorry, here comes Mr. Bill Granger´s recipes for the tapas. It has been a lot of feelings lately, I´ll try to keep that down and come up with some nice recipes. Tomorrow I´m planning to have Kofta Tagine. For one. ;P
tomato & chorizo salad
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 chorizo sausages, sliced 1 cm thick
125g plum tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp sherry vinegar
squeeze of lemon juice
Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes, turning, until crisp. Drain on paper towel, then combine in a bowl with tomato, onion and parsley.Whisk together the vinegar and remaining olive oil, then toss with the salad. Serve in little bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice.
4 slices bread
a drizzle of olive oil
1 garlic clove
2-3 plum tomatoes, halved
Jamon (I only had Prosciutto)
Preheat oven to 200C. Brush bread with oil and place on a baking tray. Bake for 5-10 minutes, turning once, until golden. Rub one side of the bread with the garlic, then with the cut side of the tomato, allowing the tomato juice to soak into the bread. Serve with Prosciutto and olives.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
As I said, this is not a lecture. I´m not going to tell you to think about starving children all over the world, but I feel that sometimes we might just take food for granted. And of course not just whatever food, but we are chasing new flavour combinations and taste sensations, striving to reach new culinary heights, try new ingredients because we get tired of the same old.
I can hear you asking "OK, where is this going?"
I just wanted this to be a reminder for myself to be grateful for my everyday bread and appreciate the old and the simple more, and I want to share this wonderful part with you:
"I say to him ,Why can´t you go to England, Dad, so we can have electricity and wireless and Mam can stand at the door and tell the world what we´re having at dinnertime?...
...He sighs, Och, aye, och, aye. All right he´ll go to England after Christmas...
...The women stand outside the pubs talking. Mam tells Mrs. Meehan, The first telegram money order I get I´ll be in the shop buying a big breakfast so that we can all have our own egg of a Sunday morning.
I look at my brother Malachy. Did you hear that? Our own egg of a Sunday morning. Oh God, I already had plans for my egg. Tap it around the top, gently crack the shell, lift with a spoon, a dab of butter down into the yolk, salt, take my time, a dip of the spoon, scoop, more salt, more butter, into the mouth, oh, God above, if heaven has a taste it must be an egg with butter and salt, and after the egg is there anything in the world lovelier than a fresh warm bread and a mug of sweet golden tea?"
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Caesar Cleopatra...and I
serves a couple or a hungry single :)
1/2 cos lettuce
1 egg yolk
1/2 tbsp mustard
1 small clove of garlic
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
the juice of half a lemon
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1 small grilled, cold, shredded chicken breast
handful of croutons
Monday, May 21, 2007
Every time I have this stew, I can´t help thinking of Ms Lust´s story. That, in combination with the tin bowls - like the ones my grandmother used to have - the whole meal turns into a nostalgia evening. It feels like all of her family and mine were sitting around the table, and that is so much nicer than having a meal by myself. This time I had my mother as company and although she is not too keen on polenta, she loved it served with cheese and stew.
In case you decide to read the story and you do get the urge to reproduce this warm and homey stew, here is the recipe.
Stew and Polenta
for the stew
2 pounds/900g chuck roast or other stewing meat, trimmed and cut into chunks
2-3 tbsp oil or rendered fat from the meat
1 large onion, cut into thick crescents (I often use 2)
4-5 small cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
1 bay leaf
1 good pinch each of oregano, thyme and rosemary
1 glass of red wine
16-ounce jar of canned tomatoes, roughly cut, including their liquid (this is 2 cups or 500ml)
2-3 stalks of celery, including their leaves, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
quartered mushrooms, 1 cup/250ml or so, optional (made both with and without the mushrooms, but I preferred it with, as it gave the stew a more rustic taste)
1 turnip, pealed and sliced, optional (sometimes I use parsnip or a chunk of celeriac)
salt and pepper to taste
for the polenta
1 cup/250ml polenta
4 cups/1 liter cold water
salt and pepper
a few handfuls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Friday, May 18, 2007
I just wanted to tell you quickly about a recipe I´ve found in delicious.October 1995, Aus edition.
I had a small piece of pumpkin left after making the Pumpkin Salad the other day and I wanted to use it up finally. We have been eating out today but it was about 4 pm and I couldn´t go to bed with an empty stomach but I couldn´t eat anything heavy either. I didn´t change a thing about the recipe but sprinkled some fresh sage leaves on top. Oh, and I used 50ml cream, as I only had a 6cm cutter and my pies would hold less egg-cream mixture. They were just great and I will be making them again.
Open Roast Pumpkin & Feta Pies
350g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
2 tsp olive oil
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
100ml light thickened cream
100g low-fat feta, crumbled
fresh or dried sage leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease two 12-hole muffin pans. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked.
Cut 20 rounds from the pastry sheets using a 6.5cm cutter. Press into muffin holes to cover base and a little of the sides. Whisk eggs and cream together. Divide pumpkin among rounds, top with 1 teaspoon of egg mixture, then sprinkle with feta. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly, then turn out.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Actually this was kind of a project, because I haven´t seen stem ginger in syrup in Sweden, so I started to look on the web for a recipe . I´ve found a pretty easy one that only uses sugar, sliced ginger and water and all you have to do is to bring it to a boil and then simmer until it thickens. And so I did. It´s just that I didn´t have a clue what it should look or taste like as I have never had that but in the end I did have some ginger syrup.
Made the cake yesterday evening and I couldn´t really wait but had to try. I expected it to taste more gingery and warming but instead it was lemony, tart and cool (keeping in mind that I loooove lemons). There is a possibility of course that my ginger syrup was a weakling, so would I get hold of some authentic ginger syrup, I think I would give it one more chance. I guess this won´t keep too well, as this evening the cake felt already a bit compact and dry. Would you like to make a nice, moist lemon cake, I would say give it a go. If you are looking for a ginger fix, keep on looking.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I ploughed through the indexes of my cookbooks and I finally I settled for the Lamb Mechoui by Sam and Sam Clark. I was happy to try something from Casa Moro as I´ve had that book for more than a year but only cooked one recipe from it (which BTW turned out great!). What cought my interest were the spices used, because they reminded me very much of the Hungarian kitchen. Just think of gulyás with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and you can´t find anything more Hungarian! Now I was really curious, how could something taste Moroccan when you use a Hungarian spice combination?
I started to understand as soon I opened the cumin that I bought in a Middle Eastern shop. Smelled completely different from the cumin I was used to! I needed to investigate this, so I turned to my books for some help. It turned out that this misunderstanding was based on my ignorance. I took it for granted that the cumin was the same spice that is called kummin in Swedish, Kümmel in German, kömény in Hungarian. Well, it wasn´t.
Carum Carvi(Latin) = caraway seeds(Eng), kummin(Swe), Kümmel(Ger), kömény(Hun)
Cuminum Cyminum (Latin) = cumin(Eng), spiskummin(Swe), Kreuzkümmel(Ger), római kömény(Hun)
So this was the end of my theory about Hungarian spices in Moroccan food :D We use caraway seeds in Hungarian cooking and Moroccans use cumin. Are you still with me? I wouldn´t blame you if you got tired on the way to Cumin-land...now back to the recipe.
Lamb Mechoui with Cumin and Paprika Salt
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds, freshly ground
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tbsp seasalt, roughly crumbled
6-8 lamb chops
20 g butter, melted
1/2 kg pumpkin or butternut squash, trimmed and cut into large chunks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
a sprinkling of caster sugar (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 220C/425F/Gas7
Put pumpkin chunks in a large mixing bowl and add the spices and olive oil and toss the pumpkin pieces until they are lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting tray in the hot oven for a good 20-30 minutes.
Remove and cool a little before mashing. Check the seasoning, including the cinnamon. If the pumpkins are not particularly sweet, add a little caster sugar and if the mixture is very thick, thin it down with a little hot water.
I didn´t use any sugar, because although I have a sweet tooth I prefer my savoury dishes not too sweet. Also I didn´t add any hot water, just had the pumpkin as a mash. This salad is good with lamb or among a selection of cooked salads.
This was a very delicious meal, it really had a Moroccan feel about it from the first second I started to mix the spices. The chops were well done but still juicy and had a smokey flavour so I almost felt like standing up and pretending I am on a market place having a quick meal. This is something I will definitely make again, now that summer is on it´s way (in the northern hemisphere anyway) but next time I´ll have some nice, fresh flat bread to go with. Finish the meal with a glass of strong peppermint tea.
Anyways, here it goes:
softboiled eggs with a big knob of butter, salt and a slice of bread cut in cubes, mixed in a large mug.
The Székely are of uncertain origins. A widespread theory asserts that they descend from the warrior tribe lands, on which the Magyars soon settled, along frontier mountains to defend against invasions from Tatars and other menacing people from the east. (The above facts have left their imprints on our food habits)
Finally I would like to tag Caroline at Bibliocook, Shaun at Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow and Anna at Morsels & Musings. The other bloggers I would´ve like to tag has been tagged recently.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
OK, I´m joking, am not that scared, but it got me thinking. Why don´t I like fish? The very simple answer could be that I haven´t been eating fish growing up in a mountain town, besides some plaice and that only during the summer months. We don´t have lot of fish in our food culture. My mothers culinary skills - when it came to preparing fish - were exhausted in rolling the plaice in a mixture of flour, salt and paprika powder and frying it in sunflower oil. (Sorry Mum!) If she wanted to have some variation she used polenta instead of flour. Actually this is a good way to cook plaice, I still find it too fishy if prepared in another way. See Thai-style curried fish when I tried to do something else with the plaice...nice but not a winner.
I might have to put some anaesthetics on my taste buds or spice those little fishies up a bit and trick myself to eat fish at least once a week. So I decided to start a project and try to find recipes that make fish edible (for me).
I´m a bit chicken though, so I´ll start my fishy life with a safe card, an old favourite of mine (yes, actually I do love this particular fish-dish). Oh, I just looove saying fish! Fish, fish, fish, fishy fishes, fishie. Right.
This is very simple, you don´t even need a recipe. For 1 person you will need a generous knob of butter, 1 salmon fillet, 150-200ml cream and 1 smallish leek.
Melt the butter and brown the salmon fillet on both sides, it won´t take many minutes but it´s a bit up to you how you like it. Transfer salmon to a plate, try to keep it warm. Use the fishy :P butter to cook the leek until softened and it develops a wonderful sweetness. Then pour the cream over the leek and let it bubble away for a minute or so. Put the salmon back, let it be warm again and serve with plain cooked potatoes. Doesn´t look fabulous (in the contrary, looks very boring) but this is a great weekday meal.
I love the sweet taste of caramelized leek. Actually I reckon leek and cream is a winner combo, I used to make a quick pasta dish with fried bacon, leek and cream sauce with lots of pepper. Yum! Now I no longer can eat pasta, I do that sometimes anyway, but then I have to take the consequences...
So, what about you guys? How often do you have fish? Is there anyone having it three times a week?
Sunday, May 06, 2007
150g green asparagus
200ml chicken stock (I used a very light vegetable stock)
100ml white wine
Trim asparagus but keep four tips for garnishing. Cut the stems into 2-3 cm pieces and simmer in the vegetable/chicken stock and wine for 10 minutes.
Add the cream and reheat to just under boiling point. Mix it with a handmixer and sieve. Season to taste.
The Limoncello Cupcakes recipe I´ve found at 52 Cupcakes last summer and have been baking them a few times since. These cupcakes have the perfect combination of sweet and sour and they are a bit chewy somehow. I only made a half a batch this time because I find they don´t keep too well for more than three days. I seem to substitute buttermilk with yogurt a lot, as yogurt is what I always have in my fridge.
I wanted these cupcakes to be so pretty but the cupcake cases just didn´t want to stick to the cupcakes...
Non-stick cupcake cases :P
So, what is a poor girl to do then? Hmmm... either put them in new cases:
...or serve them on small plates:
Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello Glaze
makes 10 cupcakes
240ml/1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 ml/3/4 cup sugar
60g unsalted butter, room temp.
2 large eggs
60ml/1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp finely grated lemon peel
Glaze and topping:
90ml (or more) powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Limoncello
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
3-4 large strawberries or 10 raspberries
Preheat over to 170 C. Line 10 cupcake pan with liners. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Beat in lemon juice and lemon peel.
Divide batter among liners.Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks.
Glaze: Stir icing sugar, butter, limoncello, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and glaze comes to simmer. Whisk in additional powdered sugar by tablespoonfuls if glaze is very thin (I always need more). Spoon 1 teaspoon warm glaze over each warm cupcake. Cool cupcakes completely. Arrange 1 strawberry on top of each cupcake. Drizzle remaining limoncello glaze over them. Let cupcakes stand until glaze sets, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I used to think that the more recipes and pics the better but now I see that that´s not always the case. To start with I like the layout of Weekend Food better, it´s somehow prettier, more romantic or perhaps the pics are more summery. The way the book is divided in chapters like Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday lunch, Tea time I find very appealing. It says a lot about what type of recipes you find in the respective chapter, whether it is time consuming or easy, quick dishes.
According to Tamasin her "bible" is more bold, vibrant, arresting, simple, elegant and sexy. Well, it might be all those things but I just don´t like it. And how many recipes do I girl needs for mayo and Creme Brulé ? No, I´m not being really fair here. This is what it states to be: a basic cookbook and a very versatile one actually, with Geranium Creme and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce in the Classic Recipes section. Hmm, I think I need to give it more time before deciding how I feel about it.
In the Weekend Food I have bookmarked at least ten-fifteen recipes!
To give you a taste there is Baked Cod with Romesco Sauce and Greek Potatoes, White Chocolate Tart with Raspberries, Kirkham´s Lancashire Cheese and Apple Tart, Almond and Orange Florentines, Cod Charmoula, Drenched Ginger and Lemon Cake, Daube of Pork with Apricots, Pineapple and Walnut Upside-Down Cake, Orange-Scented Ricotta Cake. Nothing groundbreaking perhaps but I find these recipes doable. I also like that she gives ideas what to serve the different recipes with. It makes my life so much easier, since I´m lacking fantasy when it comes to this matter.
The only negative reflection I have about this hardback edition is that this seems to be a miniature version of the first hardback and paperback editions. It´s really annoying and hard to read. So if you want to buy this book, I would recommend you to buy it in the original size.
I wanted to try something easy so I made Easy Roast Tomato Soup with Cheese and Thyme Scones from the Weekend Food. I used plum tomatoes instead of cheery tomatoes because I find it has more flavour.
The soup turned out nicely but nothing that rocked my world, however the scones were a hit! These I´m going to make again, they were very nice with a plain cup of tea. Since I can´t eat a whole batch in one day (well, actually I could...) I tried to freeze a couple of them. They freeze quite well, I pulled the frozen ones out in the morning, let them thaw for couple of hours and then put them in the microwave only for a few seconds just to warm them slightly. Very nice. Also at room temperature, without the microwaving part they were delish!
Cheese and Thyme Scones
Makes 12 scones
225g strong white flour
a pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
110g strong cheddar
1 tsp English mustard powder
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
a pinch of cayenne pepper
150ml of yogurt (or milk)
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Rub the butter into the flour, salt and baking powder. Add 2/3 of the coarsely grated cheese and the mustard, thyme and cayenne and the yogurt. You might not need it all but you want a soft dough. Roll it out into 1.5 cm thickness, then cut with an upturned glass or pastry cutter. Put the scones on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for five minutes before you eat hot with lashings of butter.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
There is something I would like to draw your attention to. You migth have seen it already, it´s about a blog event called A Taste of Yellow. Our fellow blogger Barbara over at Winos and Foodies invites food blogers to participate in LiveStrong Day by making some type of dish containing yellow food.
"LIVESTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's (LAF) grassroots advocacy initiative to unify people affected by cancer and to raise awareness about cancer survivorship issues on a national level and in local communities across the country. LIVESTRONG Day 2007 will occur on Wednesday, May 16."
I thought I will try to bake something if I´ll have the time somewhere next week but I guess this tart that I made yesterday wouldn´t be all too wrong either.
Main ingredient as yellow as can be
Biggest problem is that there are numerous recipes for Torta al Limone and I don´t even remember what the cake looked or tasted like anymore, besides that it was divine.
Anyway, I decided to try different recipes until I eventually exclaim: "this is the one!". The first one I tried is from Carlotta - fellow forummer on nigella.com - who has kindly translated the fallowing recipe for me. Thank you Carlotta :)
Torta al Limone
For the pastry:
250g flour 100g sugar
125g butter, softened
pinch of salt
4 tbsp milk
For the filling:
2 eggs, separated
juice of 2 lemons
Place the butter, flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg ans milk and process until the dough comes together. Gather into as ball, wrap in clingfilm and put into the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Torta al Limone
Recipe says you should sprinkle with icing sugar and then put in the oven for 5 minutes at 250C. Well, that is exactly what I did but the top didn´t look very pretty, it started to burn very quickly and since the filling was still very soft I couldn´t even lay a bakind parchment on it. I guess you could just try is without the sugar-sprinkling part.
This lemon tart is very nice but this just isn´t IT... So the search goes on...