Recipe 7: Lemon creams

February 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Posted in baking, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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While I enjoy cooking main courses, my real love is dessert. I think that  a good pudding is the pinnacle of a good meal! I probably spend far too long on working out what would be the ultimate pudding for any given meal. The dinner party for friends options were shaped by one of the guests not eating chocolate… which is an opportunity to start thinking about all the lovely lemon-y puddings that are out there too! And as I thought – I remembered that in How to Eat, there is something which Nigella says is basically tarte au citron without the pasty – which to me sounded perfect (I’m scared of pastry…. perhaps later in the year I will start tackling that fear)

Making it: Another make ahead recipe. Nigella says that the flavours are more intense if the mixture has time to steep before cooking. So I assembled the mixture on Wednesday for the Friday night. Assembly was easy – cream, eggs, sugar and the juice and zest of lemons and mix. Then ignored in the fridge for 2 days.

Part 2 was no more difficult – I then had to distribute the mixture between some ramekins (Nigella said it served 8, but my ramekins were slightly bigger so it did 7 – not a problem as there were only 6 of us for dinner). Then the filled ramekins went in a roasting tin half filled with boiling water (a bain marie for those in the know!). It all went in the oven for about 30 minutes until they looked set. It was difficult to work out whether they were ok… I just went on trust that they had had enough time and didn’t look raw!

Yummy pots of lemon loveliness

Eating them: they were utterly delicious! I served them with shortbread (I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe). The sign of a good pudding is that the table goes silent as people dig in – and we were definitely quiet while we ate! The texture was soft and the taste tangy! 2 days later I ate the sole leftover – and that was still yummy!

Next time: As it was rich – I think I would share the mixture out between 8 ramekins. But there most definitely will be a next time!

So the evaluation of  the dinner party menu – 2 hits and a miss… I think that is a good score

Recipe 6: The tenderest chicken

February 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For the main course – I thought I would do something pretty straightforward so that I would be able to enjoy chatting with my friends, instead of dashing about in the kitchen. Chicken pieces in a marinade to develop flavour is a winner with me (usually simple to prepare and taste good – so a fantastic effort to taste ratio) – Nigella promised that this produced very tender chicken… so it sounded worth a go.  I  served with little lazy roast potatoes (cut potatoes into small cubes, toss in lots of olive oil and cook in hot oven for an hour or so).

Making it: Simple marinade of mainly buttermilk, with a few bits and pieces to boost flavour – it only took a couple of minutes to prepare.  I put the chicken thighs in the marinade on Thursday evening, so they had about 24 hours to develop flavour. Once I was ready to cook – I took it out the marinade (this is where is started to get messy) and  I was meant to wipe off all the marinade – but that was almost impossible – so I just shook off the worst of it. They were then put in the oven for about an hour (the potatoes were already cooking). But my oven decided to have a go slow day  – so they probably took a little longer than advertised.

Eating it: Boring! I know I was doing something simple… but this didn’t really have anything to redeem it from being boring. I didn’t particularly think that it was tender. I have had much more juicy, tender chicken using other methods – mainly roasting with some liquid, such as slow cooked chicken with lemon and garlic from Forever Summer or San Tropez chicken from Feast.

Next time: I’ll do San Tropez chicken.

Recipe 5: Pea and garlic puree (for crostini)

February 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Friday night dinner: I had plenty of time to do some faffing in the kitchen, and everyone else was coming from the office, I thought it would be wise to have a flexible starter – something that we could nibble over drinks while everyone arrive. The pea and garlic puree had caught my eye when I first owned How to Eat, but canape style nibbles were not part of my culinary repertoire at that point. But now I am much more grown-up (!) I thought this might be a good opportunity to try them out.

Making them: Very simple! The garlic is roasted, so that was popped in the oven while something else was cooking. Then all I had to do was cook some peas, add the roasted garlic, some parmesan, and butter and blitz with my lovely wand food blender thing… Then once it was all cool,  I spread the puree on crostini. Continue Reading Recipe 5: Pea and garlic puree (for crostini)…

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