Gastronomically Terrific

February 1, 2016

Tiramisu layer cake

Filed under: Cake, party, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 2:34 pm

To end my dinner party, I decided to make tiramisu for dessert. I’ve made tiramisu before a number of times, but I had never tried the one in Nigella’s Christmas cookbook. The majority of recipes from this book seem to come out well, and I knew that the likelihood of it being fairly alcoholic was relatively high.

Thankfully, nothing disappointed. The recipe was simple, there was plenty of alcohol, and it made for a great dessert.

I had bought a loaf cake to make this tiramisu with, but I was a little worried it was more coffee than chocolate flavoured, and I knew that without chocolate cake the coffee flavour was likely to be overwhelming. Luckily, earlier that week I had ended up making chocolate sponge traybake with my son, having failed to make sure I had the right ingredients to make apple crumble in the house (or rather, having had the ingredients but then somebody eating all the apples). So I used that in place of the shop-bought loaf I had.

Now, Nigella’s recipe states quite clearly that homemade sponge cake doesn’t tend to soak up the alcohol as well as shop-bought loaf cake. Not so my cake, which soaked up a lot of Kahlua… I had to use three times as much as suggested (I’m not sure what this says about my baking, but it meant extra booze, so I guess it’s a good thing). I was also using Kahlua rather than the suggested Tia Maria; simply because that’s what we had in the house. It seemed to work fine!

Making tiramisu is actually pretty easy – it’s mostly about creating layers. Other than beating together eggs, caster sugar, mascarpone, double cream and the Kahlua, all you need to do is layer up the cake.

Firstly, you soak the sponge in Kahlua. Then you add this to the bottom of a tin before adding a layer of the cream mixture. You basically keep going with soaked sponge and cream layers until you’re done, ensuring you end with a cream layer. It’s a good idea to use a spring-form tin because when you’re done the cream hasn’t set yet – it needs to go in the fridge for at least 12 hours for this to happen. Having a spring-form tin means the cream stays in one place – but once it has set, you can remove the sides and it looks pretty good around the edges. And tastes, hopefully, lovely and boozy!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 93-94

 

July 2, 2015

Easter meringue tart

Filed under: pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 11:04 am

Easter meringue tart very CUWanting to make a slightly different, interesting pudding for when mum was visiting, I decided to make this Easter meringue tart (even though it was in no way close to Eater). I made it the night before she arrived, and we ate it over the course of the week she was with us, as it was rather large.

The first thing I did was make a flan case using the recipe in the same book for cuddura, which is basically a sweet pastry made from flour, icing sugar and butter. That was fairly easy to do.

Once I had made that and used it to line the base, I made the rice filling – basically a rice pudding made with milk, rice, caster sugar and almond essence. That took ages because I had to wait for the rice to cook in the milk. I got a bit bored waiting. I then added egg yolks and waited for the mixture to thicken, which was much faster!

Once that was done, I covered the flan base with cherry jam, and added the rice pudding mixture.

Finally, I made the meringue mixture (by whisking the egg whites and then adding the caster sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon) and added this to the top of the tart. Once the tart was assembled, the whole thing was baked in the oven for an hour at 110C.

Whilst the tart was fun to make, and looked pretty good, it did taste a little odd. The rice filling didn’t really feel like it belonged, and we were all in agreement that really it would have been nicer (and much more normal) if it had been a standard lemon meringue tart.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 26-29

May 12, 2015

Chocolate mallow cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:22 am

Chocolate mousse cakeThis is an incredibly simple recipe that I found on The Teal Ribbon Girl’s blog (which they, in turn, found in a Sainsbury’s magazine). I wasn’t planning on doing any baking, but the recipe appealed to me not just because it was simple to make, but also because it used eggs, cream and chocolate, and little else. We just happened to have tons of eggs and cream to use up.

To make the cake, you beat together caster sugar and the yolks of five eggs. You then add dark cooking chocolate and whisk in hot water. You then need to fold in the five egg whites, which have to be whisked into soft peaks first. This cake mixture is then divided between two tins and baked for 20 minutes. Once the cake has been cooled in the fridge, you need to add the whipped cream and sandwich the two layers together. You can then dust the top of the cake with icing sugar.

Initially I wasn’t very impressed with the final result. I thought it looked a bit rubbish. This was entirely my own fault-I rushed baking the cake ad came very close to totally messing it up. Thankfully, once we had cut into and eaten the cake, it didn’t seem so bad after all. It looked a lot better on the inside and tasted pretty good too!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: From The Teal Ribbon Girl’s blog (originally from a Sainsbury’s magazine)

February 27, 2015

Frittata

Filed under: lunch, meat — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 11:06 am

Another easy-to-make recipe from my Hallelujah! Easter cookbook, this is basically scrambled egg with added ingredients. I made it for lunch when just my hubby and I were home one day. Whilst it was simple to make, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of adding the ingredients suggested, so it was a good recipe to try out. It would also make a good future lunch if you were feeling a bit peckish!

The longest, and hardest, part of this recipe is boiling a potato before you start (just one small one between two of you). Frying bacon and potato for frittataOf course, if you have one left over from a previous meal this step is much easier! You then fry up the (cut up) potato and some bacon before adding beaten egg, mixed herbs and milk. I actually made two frittatas because Dan doesn’t eat meat and I don’t like tomatoes, so we probably had more food (2 eggs each) than was really intended.

Once the egg is half cooked (which happens quite fast), I added some sweetcorn, tomatoes to Dan’s frittata, and some grated cheese. By the time that was all added and stirred in the eggs were cooked and the meal was ready. Other than boiling the potato, the whole thing took about 10 minutes to put together.

Frittata cookingDefinitely a lunch-time meal I’d make again, and I wouldn’t need to use the recipe to do it. I wouldn’t have thought of adding potatoes and sweetcorn to this, but both were pretty tasty additions. Although if you’re pressed for time I would suggest only adding potato if you already have some cooked. Otherwise just pop it all on a slice of toast!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 24-25

January 3, 2015

Yule log

43 Choc yule log CUOnce again, a recipe I have made before – last Christmas in fact. This time around, I made it because my family were visiting us this Christmas. This was the second chocolate log I made this year, and froze ready for the Christmas period.

The basic roulade mixture only contains 6 eggs, caster sugar and cocoa powder (this yule log is pure chocolate). The great thing about making the log this year was that for my birthday I had been bought a proper (9×12) swiss roll tin, meaning that the roulade came out the right size, and could be made the right shape. In the past I’ve used a square baking tin – which works, just not quite as well.

Both the filling and icing for this roulade are the same – which does at least make life easy. They’re basically just a chocolate icing mixture. I do think that the icing on my previous effort looked better, but this still wasn’t a bad attempt.

The thing that hasn’t changed since the last time I made this was how incredibly rich  and chocolately it is (which I have to admit, I had forgotten). We all ate some of this yule log for Christmas Day tea, and it prevented any of us being at all interested in trying in the Christmas Cake. Thankfully, Christmas Cake is fruit, so leaving it for a few days really didn’t matter!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 191-193

April 10, 2014

Give-and-take biscuit bake

Filed under: biscuits — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 4:16 pm

Give and take biscuitsAs the recipe for these biscuits makes such a vast amount (60-72), I decided to halve the ingredients. That made about 30 biscuits, which was still enough to feed my parents, my husband, my friend, and my colleague and her husband who have just had a baby (which was who the biscuits were really intended for).

As the recipe suggests, I made three different flavoured biscuits. Cranberry flavour, cinnamon and nutmeg flavour and cherry flavour. My least favourite were the cherry biscuits, but that’s entirely my fault for leaving them in the oven a little too long, and them being rather more crispy than was intended.

The recipe for these mini biscuits calls for the mixture to be rolled out and then put in the freezer for a least a few hours before you cut out rounds. The problem with this is that the mixture is then really hard to cut when you remove it from the freezer, because it’s so hard. I also had a few problems mixing up the pastry in the first place – it was way too wet initially (admittedly, partially my fault for adding too much egg). So I had to add a ton of flour to turn it into a pliable consistency. Unfortunately, in the case of the cranberry biscuits it clearly wasn’t enough flour. When I tried to slice up the frozen mixture, it just fell apart.

I was going to abandon the cranberry mixture entirely, but then decided I could easily roll it into balls. This worked well, and it turned out that when I put them in the oven, they spread out and turned into perfect mini biscuits – better shaped than either the cherry or the cinnamon/ nutmeg ones. A good tip for the future, and probably the way I will form all these biscuits if I make them again!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Cakes, Bakes, Puddings and Prayers, page 32-33

April 8, 2014

Three fish pie

Filed under: fish, main — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 3:57 pm
Fish pie with eggs

Three fish pie before the mashed potato topping was added

Inspired by Mary Berry Cooks, which is currently on TV, I decided to make this three fish pie when my parents came to visit for the weekend. Whilst it’s perhaps not the most unusual of dishes, it does lend itself to being made in advance and then just popped in the oven an hour or so before you want to eat it. This was perfect for me because I had a day or two off of work before my parents arrive at lunchtime. So I cooked up the fish mixture, hard boiled the eggs and added them to the casserole dish, and then all I needed to do before dinner was boil and mash some potatoes, and put the whole thing in the oven.

It was a fun dish to make, although there are a fair few bits to it. You need to make a sauce, then cut up the fish filling and add it to the sauce mixture. Of course, this was all made doubly hard by the fact that I was essentially cooking the meal twice – one with fish for most of us, and a vegetarian version with halloumi cheese for my husband at the same time. I ended up cooking each one separately in the end as so many things needed attention at the same time (the eggs, the sauce and you’re chopping fish). And I wasn’t even cooking the potato at this point!

Overall, a tasty dish, and a good one to prepare in advance, but nothing super special to impress anybody; and a fair amount of effort to put in. Fine if that’s what you want, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry Cooks (the recipe is on the BBC Food website)

 

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