Gastronomically Terrific

January 31, 2016

Baked salmon with parmesan crust

Baked salmonsOn to the main for my dinner party. This was even easier than the starter, but looked (and tasted) pretty good.

I seasoned four salmon fillets (one each) and put them on a roasting tin. I then made a white wine and mushroom sauce (by cooking the mushrooms in the wine, removing the mushrooms, boiling wine and cream together, then returning the mushrooms to the pan), and added a small amount of the sauce to the top of each salmon fillet.

Finally, I made a breadcrumb topping with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon and paprika. I sprinkled this topping over the salmon fillets, then baked them in the oven for 15 minutes.

I served the fillets with extra sauce over the top (saved and reheated from earlier), buttered and minted potatoes, and some rocket on the side. Whilst I wanted a decent meal, I didn’t want to stuff everybody before they had tried my tiramisu!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 76

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January 27, 2016

Baking update

Filed under: Cake, fish, main, party, starter, vegetarian — lawsonanna @ 1:18 pm

Since we returned from California in September 2015, I have done a fair amount of baking. I’ve made a mixture of old favourites, new interesting recipes, and things I think my son will be able to help with. What I haven’t done is blog about the majority of these bakes. I do have some draft posts saved here, with some pretty good photos of some of my November and December 2015 bakes.

So, instead of attempting to blog about all the baking I have done over the past few months (and really can’t remember that well), I’ll try and supplement the draft posts I’ve already written and add them to the blog.

I’ll then do my best to start blogging about my bakes and cooking experiments again! I have a good starting point for this, because last weekend I put together a 3-course meal for a few friends. To whet your appetite, this is what I made for it:

Stilton and leek tarts for starters

Baked salmon with parmesan crust for main

Tiramisu for afters…

… and some mini cocktail cupcakes for aperitifs. I’ll write proper posts about these four bakes once I’ve had a go at redrafting and posting about some of my more interesting bakes from 2015. So look out for a smattering of blog posts from me over the next week or so! I’m going to start with ladybird cupcakes…

 

May 11, 2015

Creamy kedgeree

Filed under: main — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 10:54 am

Creamy kedgeree from aboveThis was a recipe I had planned on making before baby J appeared. It didn’t happen, so got forgotten about for a couple of months. However, I was still keen to make it as I thought that both I and the toddler would enjoy eating it. So when I had a spare day, I finally got around to making it for tea.

Creamy kedgeree is basically a risotto with fish added to it. You poach the fish, then cook some rice, vegetables and spices in the poached fish liquid. Once everything is cooked you add some peas and the fish itself and make sure everything is heated through. You also need to hard boil a few eggs for this dish to work…

… Because the fun part is making the dish look like a fish before you eat it. Put the rice mixture on one side of the plate, and add a slice cucumber for an eye, with a raisin on top. Then slice up the hard boiled egg and lay the slices out like the scales of a fish. Finally, we added two slices of apple to make the fish look like it had a fin.

Looks good, and doesn’t taste too bad (although not incredibly exciting). The toddler and I both ate it fairly happily!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, pg. 20-21

January 1, 2015

Redder-than-red cranberry sauce

Filed under: Christmas, freezer, main — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 4:45 pm

Cranberry sauce mixtureAnother recipe I made in advance and froze in preparation for Christmas Day. It’s a Nigella Christmas recipe, and incredibly simple.

You put cranberries, caster sugar, cherry brandy and water in a pan, then simmer it all together until the cranberries pop. It takes minutes to do, smells lovely and makes you feel virtuous because you haven’t just gone out and bought a jar of cranberry sauce. The hardest thing about the whole affair is finding fresh cranberries in the shop in the first place.

It was easy to get ready on Christmas Day too – I just removed it from the freezer a couple of days in advance and left it to defrost at room temperature. Five minutes before dinner was ready, I reheated it on the hob and gave it a stir to remove any lumpy bits.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 119

Christmas dinner extras

DSC07611Including:

1) Brussel sprouts with(out) buttered chestnuts

It’s Christmas, so you need brussel sprouts. But brussel sprouts are quite dull. Thankfully, there are ways to make them a bit more interesting. I had intended to add chopped-up chestnuts, but when I went to use them they had grown a nice layer of mold. I figured it was better to throw them away and just add the flavouring to the sprouts. It’s a really easy recipe – basically you just boil the sprouts for a few minutes, then fry them in butter, salt and pepper and nutmeg. It worked well, and the lack of chestnuts really just meant that, well, there were no chestnuts!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Daily Cookbook, pg. 311

2) Bacon-wrapped chipolatas

These aren’t complicated, and I’ve made them before. They’re so simple, in fact, that I don’t even need a recipe to make them. Just some chipolatas (in this case, some mini ones and some longer ones), some streaky bacon and a bit of time to wrap the bacon around the sausages.

I made these back in November and froze them ready for Christmas Day. This makes basically no difference to how they taste, and on Christmas Day they were still a favourite. The last few tasted good on our Boxing Day Christmas pizzas too!

Who made it: Anna

December 31, 2014

Aubergine five-nut roast

Filed under: Christmas, freezer, main, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:14 pm

When the rest of us were eating our Christmas turkey, this was my hubby’s alternative. I actually made it about a month in advance, at the end of November, and just reheated it on Christmas Day – if nothing else, it saved on oven space!

The recipe itself isn’t too complex, but there are a lot of ingredients – so there’s a lot of grating, zesting and chopping to do before everything goes in the tin. Basically, you mix together nuts, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, lemon juice and zest, onion, celery and garlic, then wrap it all in aubergine strips. It is then baked in the oven for about an hour.

Nobody except Dan actually ate this on Christmas Day (there was tasty meat on offer, after all), but I did try some a few days later when we were eating up the last of the Christmas dinner left-overs – and it tasted alright. Not like bacon-wrapped chipolatas or turkey tastes, but pretty good if you’re a vegetarian.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 93-94

December 30, 2014

Sage and onion stuffing

Filed under: Christmas, main, meat, vegetarian — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:21 pm

Another recipe I made in advance of Christmas Day, I’ve never actually made my own stuffing before. My mum always does, but I’ve gone with the (very tasty) shop-bought variety. This year, I had the time, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I used Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection recipe for the stuffing and I have to say, it was incredibly easy to make. You boil some onions (yes, I found boiling onions odd too), then add breadcrumbs and sage to the mixture. And that’s it! I froze the stuffing in two halves, so that I could use half of it to stuff the turkey, but still have some left to cook separately for my veggie husband.

It turned out OK, although could probably have done with a little longer in the oven. Th stuffing inside the turkey was quite soft and (unsurprisingly I guess) hadn’t crisped off at all. The veggie stuffing was nice and crisp on the outside, but just as soft on the inside as the stuffing that had been inside the turkey.

In hindsight, I think using bought stuffing would have been just as good, but I’m glad I gave it a go. I’m not sure I would bother with my own stuffing again – or I would at least try a different recipe (there are some in Nigella Christmas book that I would like to try…).

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 113

Spiced and superjuicy roast turkey

The last (and first) time I cooked the Christmas Day dinner was back in 2012. Then, I used Nigella’s Christmas turkey recipe. It turned out OK (there was nothing wrong with it), but Christmas itself was a bit of a sad affair – everybody in the house was ill for various reasons, I had a 4-month old baby, and needless to say, ended up eating my Christmas dinner cold.

This year, feeling that life had calmed down a little, I offered to do the hosting at Christmas again – hoping that things would run a little more smoothly. I decided that, to make life easy, I would cook a nice simple turkey that didn’t require being put in brine. Then my brother said “that turkey you did last time was really nice… can we have it again…?”

Turns out, flattery will get you everywhere. So, umm, yes, apparently. I defrosted the turkey in the fridge 5 days before Christmas, then on the 23rd I put the brine together and placed the turkey in it, before finding a very cold spot (in a locked outdoor shed) to let it soak up all the flavour. The brine contained a myriad of spices and flavouring, including orange, cinnamon, cloves, mustard seed, fennel seed, nutmeg, garlic, onion… basically anything with a vague hint of Christmas flavouring that you can think of. This was a great job for a 2-year old as well; he loved tipping all the measured out ingredients into the bucket of water. Although he was less keen to touch the turkey itself!

On Christmas Day morning, I stuffed the turkey with my sage and onion stuffing, and then basted it with a mixture of melted butter and maple syrup. It took 2 1/2 hours to cook; the first 30 mins or so at 180C, and the next two hours at 160C. That meant it got taken out of the oven at midday, an hour before the rest of our dinner was ready. This worked out well, as it meant that there was space in the oven for everything else, and the meat got to rest, but was kept nice and warm, with a layer of tin foil over the top of it.

The end result was pretty good, and I was fairly pleased with myself for getting the timings and the flavourings right. Definitely more of a success than my 2012 effort!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 115-117

December 27, 2014

Parisienne potatoes

Filed under: Christmas, main, meat, salad, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 4:58 pm
These potatoes both looked and tasted better in real life

These potatoes both looked and tasted better in real life

I decided to make these for our Christmas Eve tea (along with the aromatic Christmas ham and a salad), knowing that they would be a fairly simple dish to put together before the work of the Christmas Day roast).

I peeled and sliced the potatoes and onions Christmas Eve morning, so that all I needed to do when my family arrived was boil the potatoes, pop them in a roasting tin with cream and grated cheese and then cook them in the oven for 15 minutes. This worked well with reheating the Christmas ham, which needed about 5 minutes in the oven before the whole meal was ready.

The whole meal worked well, and was nice and easy to prepare. It was a great choice for an easy Christmas Eve meal, and the only thing left over was a bit of ham – which was great for a late, easy tea on Christmas Day evening.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 140-141

Aromatic Christmas ham

Filed under: Christmas, main, meat — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:09 am

I’ve made this before, more than once. I made it last November (2013), as a test to see if it was worth making at Christmas. Turned out that, yes, it really is. So this Christmas I made it for Christmas Eve tea, the first meal my family would have with us at Christmas.

It’s really not a difficult recipe to follow – you put the ham, some red wine and a range of spices (plus onion, garlic and fennel) into a large p0t, cover it all with water and let it simmer away for an hour or so (depending on the weight – this was for a 1.45kg ham. My mum’s advice is 20 mins per lb, which seems about right).

You then remove the ham from the flavoured water, let it cool a little, carve off the fat, add whole cloves and a glaze of redcurrant jelly, cinnamon, paprika and red wine vinegar (which takes minutes to boil together on the hob), then put it in the oven for 15 or so minutes. I made the ham a couple of days in advance, then covered it in foil, put it in the fridge, and reheated it for a few minutes on Christmas Eve. So I didn’t even need to cook it on the day (although it wouldn’t hurt if you did, as it smells amazing)!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 32-33

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