Saturday, 28 January 2012

The perils of being onehanded

Deepest gloom!!  I was s having  my family for lunch and had made a large lasagna.  Put it on a tray to get it into the oven, and ,yes,youv'e slipped and shattered on the floor. Broken glass, wet lasagna, mess everywhere, and there I was ready dressed to go to a Memorial Service with them that afternoon . 
Fortunately a neighbour was at home, and she very kindly came and cleared the mess off the floor , before the family arrived. We had to eat a takeaway.Not what I had anticipated at all.
Today, for a surprise Birthday party I have made a
Meringue Roulade, filled with lemoncurd and passion fruit cream and fresh fruit. 
This was OK, but I managed to get an egg on the worksurface as I was trying to separate the eggs. As there were so many egg yolks,I decided to make some lemon curd whileI was doing the Roulade. I found it tricky to roll the Roulade, probably because I was trying to do 2 things at once.
Maybe one day I will learn not to do this.  
No unsalted butter for the lemon curd , but some in the freezer, so I put it in the Microwave, and didn't realise that the paper was metallic! A flash of bright white light, and a loud pop...... and a nasty smell.However, it still seems to work.

Far better was Thursday when I had 2 dear friends to lunch for their birthdays,(both on the same day, AND  their wedding Anniversary too)  We had Pheasant Pate,with a small salad,and some chilli jelly , and then I cooked Jamie Oliver's
Salmon  fillets wrapped in Proscuitto  with Py lentils ,and wilted spinach. Served with some plain yoghurt,and herbs, I used flatleaf Parsely, Chives ,Dill and the last of some GreekBasil all chopped fine and added to the yoghurt. They passed on the cheeses,which were a selection of Goat's cheese,and we had Coffee Jelly, topped with Dates infused with Coffee and Cardamom,and a  blob of clotted cream underneath the dates. They loved the jelly, which I have done before,and there's a photo to prove it  further back in the blog..

Tomorrow I shall make some Soda bread I think.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Time for marmelade

How has it come round so fast?
I have been assisted by a good friend,and she has done the boring part.....purchashing the fruit and sugar for me.Now I must find enough jars ,and then start     .
Made a brilliant sandwich yesterday, very seeded  bread, one slice with Philadephia cheese spread over it, the other with Marmite,and the filling ,DRIED CRANBERRIES .  Really good, I love a combination of both sweet  and sour, and the cranberries were more on the sharp side of sweet, making it even more tasty.

Well ,the marmelade is made, 14 pots , but \as I like my marmelade sharp rather than overly sweet, some of it  did not set, so I had to reboil 2 lots as it was still too liquid.
 In so doing, I lost around a pot and a half overall ,which was most annoying! I find cutting up the fruit one handed very time consuming as one can imagine.     Ha, no wonder it went wrong, it was Friday the 13th!

However, I  have done some other bits of cooking that may be of interest
I made some leek and potato soup, to which ,after blitzing I added RAW SPINACH. The colour was amazing.  As the soup was just off the boil, the spinach blended well,and it had a really good flavour
 Also I had some Mangoes left from Christmas, which were never going to ripen ,so made them into  MangoChutney.
I cut them into small pieces, put them into some cider vinegar,with some onions, a few spilt  cardamoms, nigella seeds and some coriander seeds, finely sliced root ginger and salt. Boiled this up and then ,when the fruit was softened, added sugar to taste,and cooked it until the mixture became jammy. then potted it up.
I have left it for a few weeks to mature, so hope it tastes as good as it smelled.

Just tasted it yesterday (the 27th jan,) and it was yummy... Try it ,it's so  easy to do.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The photos surprising ,as I have had my goddaughter and her childfen for lunch, and I'm not totally in control!

First up you can see the potato pea and goat's cheese with mint  tart, and then the coffee jelly with Greek yoghurt and cardamom spiced dates , Sorry that they have come after I have written all about them on the last least you can see  them.
 Also forgot to say that with the pheasant left from dinner last week, I made some pate,
Pheasant Pate
left over meat from the birds,  plus
Some cooked chicken livers, some streaky bacon,some ham, the left over chestnuts, a little fresh  thyme then seasoning, plus dried ginger, and allspice, and some sloe gin. All put in the processor, and whizzed up with some butter ,and some clarified butter on the top. We had this today, 4 days after making ,and it was extremely delicious.  I hate to waste anything. 
At lunch we drank a combination of Prosecco and Campari plus Red Martini Vermouth,with ice and a slice of orange     It's rather like a Negroni, but not quite so alchoholic( I hope) and a Rose wine from California. No wonder I keep making mistakes!

Post Christmas ,and New Year.

Wll, here we are 4th January already.Where has the time gone? I had a busy time cooking over the holiday period, starting with Christmas Eve dinner, which has now become a ritual when I'm staying with Rupert's family.So here's what we had.
First af all, I did the Pink Picante Prawns,raw prawns dipped in beaten egg white and then in a mix of smoked paprika, sea salt and crushed Cardamoms, just served plain with lemon slices. Then i made Jamie Oliver's Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb, involving marinating the lamb for 24 hours !
It is slashed all over, and a mix ofYoghurt, lemonjuice and paprika rubbed into the meat, then it is placed on a bed of 2 sliced red onions, and a whole head of unpeeled garlic cloves,seasoned ,and half a bottle of red wine is poured over , it is covered with foil and left . Then roasted at 170o for 2 and a half hours covered, the foil removed for the last half hour, and finally  left to rest on a dish for another half hour, loosely covered.
The meat falls off the bone,(or rather someone takes it off for me, )but there's no need to carve!  The residue in the pan I whizzed up and made a delicious sauce. Then we had couscous with it ,and the lamb was scattered with Pomegranate seeds and Coriander. Some extra yoghurt was served as well, to which i had added some finely chooped mint.  We couldn't eat anything more after that.
It was rather difficult for me, as being one handed ,I can put a reasonably heavy pan into the oven, but when it's hot, I find it much harder,and have the experience of a nasty burn to remind me that I must ask for help .
I made mincepies and some biscuits ,cheese biscuits also ,but i am giving the recipe here for the
Walnut Gazelle's Horns.   This recipe has been given to me by a good friend who is American,
Sorry there won't be a photo of them , but they disappear very quickly..
I shall have to convert the recipe to grammes, as it's in ounces...
250 g butter
90 g caster sugar
300 g plain flour
200 g walnuts

Put the walnuts into the processor, then add the sugar and butter, and finaly the flour. add a few drops of vanilla.
Shape into a roll, and then cut pieces off the roll ,and form into crescents.The dough is very soft, so you will need to use a little more flour to amalgamate the dough before forming it inot the shapes.
Put onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15-18 minutes at 180 o   They burn easily so watch them like a hawk!
I usually make half the ammount given, which is qute enough.
  Last week I had friends round for a meal, and I braised the pheasants  shot by my son in law, just with some root vegetables with a little bacon and Calvados.I added chestnuts at the end,as they tend to break up easily.
I have also made an interesting coffee jelly (had some left over from the morning) just a touch of sugar, but served with Greek yoghurt,and some dates that I had marinated in very strong coffee with some sugar,  cardamom seeds and a cinnamon stick  overnight in the fridge. Have taken a photo of this ,plus one of  the potato, pea and goat's cheese tart that I made as well. now I have to get tHem onto this posting.  AND I HAVE LEFT THE CAMERA DOWNSTAIRS!!Hopefully I can do it, but the pics may appear on the next posting.