Sunday, January 27, 2008
Part of the problem - or shall I say the challenge - when cooking for one is what to do with the rest? With the rest I mean if you use a few spoonfulls of anything, what to do with the rest of the tin or jar?
In this particular case, I have had my eyes on the Creamy Avocado Milkshake from The Traveler´s Lunchbox for quite a while, but didn´t want to open a tin of condensed milk, only to use 2 tbs of it. Ummm, not until yesterday evening anyway, when I felt in the need for some comfort and moral support. As I didn´t have access to a nice comforting hug, I felt entitled to make the milkshake to compensate :)
With the recipe comes a warning that the drink is quite rich, so I prepared myself for that, but I must say I found it only thick, nice, yummy and even refreshing!!!
Of course, since it was only me, myself and I, I halved the recipe (very hard when you feel like I did yesterday evening ;) and used
1/2 Haas avocado
2 large tbsp of sweetened condensed milk and
150ml milk, a bit more then in the original recipe
few drops of vanilla essence (optional)
I took a sip before adding the vanilla essence and decided to leave it as it was. This might have been the reason to the difference between the drink being rich or refreshing, actually...
MY WARNING: This drink is addictive!
I intend to make again, and I think if I won´t have condensed milk, I would go with a tbsp of runny honey for similar result.
Well, that was done, but it left me with an almost full tin of condensed milk that had to be used. Also I had 6 egg yolks in the fridge since making the Pavlova last weekend, and they needed to be used urgently before going to waste.
When I did the math, it gave:
So, today's assignment became Key Lime Pie, that I have seen, read about, heard of lots of times but have never actually made or even eat before. I started to look for recipes and found too many. I noticed the main difference between the recipes was that you could either cook the pie with the filling or not. I guess it was only a coincidence that all the recipes I found in Swedish books used the uncooked version while in my American cookbooks the filling was cooked, but this was enough for me to decide that the "original" Key Lime Pie recipe was the cooked filling one. Please, if you have an opinion about this, don´t be shy, share it with me :) Thanks!
Also, it feels safer to eat cooked eggs...
So here is the recipe I finally used (from a book called The Best Pies of America by Jane Whitman Tierney who owns a coffee shop called Wishing Stone Farm in Maine ) :
Key Lime Pie
yields: one cakemonster or 8-10 normal people
13 digestive biscuits
100ml melted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tin sweetened condensed milk (397g)
110ml lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
Crush the biscuits and mix with the butter and sugar. Press it into a spring form (23-25 cm diam.) and bake for 10 min on 150 C. Let it cool slightly on a cooling rack. Increase oven heat to 175C.
Beat the egg yolks with an electric hand mixer until starting to thicken, add the milk and keep on whisking until thick. Mix it carefully with the lime juice and zest and pour into the pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack. Put it in the freezer for 3 hours.
Note: I used about 3 1/2 limes and as I didn´t have Key limes (obviously...), I added the juice of 1/2 of lemon. As I didn´t have any place in my freezer, I just put the Pie in the fridge overnight, and I found it very nice. Most of the recipes garnish or serve the pie with whipped cream or ice-cream but I love the tartness of the pie and would never dream of sweeten it up with any of the above mentioned serving tips.
This was the first time I made Key Lime Pie and I must say it is both quick and delicious, something to make over and over again.
Friday, January 25, 2008
For one person you need a large orange, 2 medium beetroots, 5-6 walnuts, a good handful of ruccola and either goat´s cheese, or if you don´t have it just use regular Feta or if you don´t have that either, try some slices of Camembert. When I´m feeling too chilly for cold food, I grill a few slices of Halloumi, and that´s fine too. The secret of this simple lunch dish is lying in the dressing (I reckon): mix some olive oil, 1/2 tsp runny honey, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Another take, with Feta this time...which I prefer for the contrast between the sweet of the beet and the saltiness of the Feta, then the tart from the lemons in the dressing...perfect combination!
Oh, and it was my birthday last Saturday. I had a few friends at my place, I invited them for an Afternoon Tea. I bought clotted cream at The English Shop, Strawberry Jam and Apricot Jam with Armagnac for the scones, made cucumber- and egg sandwiches for the first time in my life and they were very nice. I preferred the cucumber ones, very refreshing.
I made Nigella´s Christmas Pavlova with pomegranates and made some fairy cakes. It was my very first Pavlova and I was very nervous for how it will turn out, but everything went fine. The only thing is that mine went a bit beige, even though I covered it with baking parchment after half an hour...Is there any trick that I don´t know about? Or is it only my oven? How do I make beautiful white Pavlovas?
didn´t turn out too well...the supposedly baby blue cakes had some strange 50´ies mint green color and the pale pink was more salmon colored. Oh well, people liked it, that was the main thing. I used Nigella´s basic fairy cake recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess and made the butter icing from the back of an icing sugar box (Tate+Lyle). 75g softened butter, 175g icing sugar, 1 tbsp milk. I added 2 more tbsp´s of milk and a few drops of coconut essence, and it turned out unexpectedly well.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Months ago, while I was still reading blogs, I got inspired by Shaun´s enthusiasm for Feast, Silvena Rowe´s Eastern European recipes. Ever since then I have been wanting to either try some of the recipes from Shaun´s blog or buy the book. Until this date I haven´t done any of these things, but I will do both. The other day I remembered the book and googled Silvena Rowe and found a few recipes at UKTV Food. I wanted to try some recipes before buying the book as I have been disappointed a few times lately ordering books from Amazon, and now I have severalbooks standing on my bookshelf unused. One of the recipes caught my eyes because I had some lovely grapes that needed to be used...just a minute, I have to stir...
...yummy! Nice, very nice. I think Pistachio would like this, it´s sweetish, but in a very warm and cosy way. I know I shouldn´t write cosy about food, but that´s how I classify them. I like my winter dishes to be cosy.
I have been trying to take an acceptable photo, but I couldn´t . The dish has got a boring beige colour with bits of orange and green from the fruits, but it doesn´t look appetizing at all. I must think of something (pommegranates?) for the next time to cheer it up with, but taste-wise I like it very much and I can highly recommend it .
Here are some of the ingredients...of course this wine wasn´t going into the dish...
Chicken with Grapes and Apricots
by Silvena Rowe
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
100ml white wine
1 large chicken, about 1.8kg, quartered
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
100g seedless grapes, halved
100g apricots, pitted
2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
boiled rice, to serve
1. In a large mixing bowl combine the honey, ginger, ground cinnamon, pepper and wine, and stir together. Rub this mixture over the chicken pieces, then add the chicken to the bowl, cover and leave it to marinate in the fridge overnight.
2. When ready to cook, drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or casserole, add the onion and fry until it has just turned golden. Add the drained chicken and brown all the pieces over a medium-high heat, turning them to ensure even colour. 3. Add the chicken marinade to the pan, along with 300ml of water and the cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chicken pieces are cooked.
4. Add the grapes and apricot halves to the pan and continue simmering for 5-8 minutes. Serve almost immediately, sprinkled with the sesame seeds and accompanied by plain boiled rice.
Notes: I used two large chicken breasts but kept the amount of onion, wine (of course :)) , liquid and grapes, used slighly less cinnamon, 50 g dried apricots and only 1 tsp of honey. Cooking time wasn´t affected seriously, it took about 20-25 minutes, but you can check easily when the meat is ready.
I would use the same amounts next time as it fitted my palate perfectly...
Oh, and I´m definitely buying the book! Cheers! :)
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Why am I amazed every time I use fresh spinach? I bought a whole bag full of green leaves and after wilting it, there was no more then a handful left...
225g plain flour
good pinch salt
a little cold water (I didn´t need any)
450g pumpkin or squash
2 large eggs
250ml double cream
50g Parmesan, grated
freshly grated nutmeg
I love plum jam a lot, so the last plums of the autumn I used for cooking a batch of jam. I didn´t use any particular recipe, just added some cane sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Heaven, with a glass of warm milk.
Although it´s quite late, but we have the whole year in head of us, so I would like to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and may all your dreams come true...