Gastronomically Terrific

July 1, 2015

Tomato tarte tatin

Filed under: lunch, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 6:01 pm

I don’t have any photos of this, because life started to get a little fraught around this time – my mum came to visit for the week (which is why I made this tatin), then we went on holiday for a week, and then two weeks later we were due to go to California for the summer. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that this looked, well, a little odd!

It did, however, taste pretty good, and wasn’t too hard to make. I fried up some onions and dark sugar, then removed them from the dish. I then placed tomatoes on the same dish, face down, and poured over the onions and some grated cheddar. I then whisked together 2 eggs and some mustard powder before covering the whole thing in puff pastry. In order to cook it, I then placed the casserole dish in the oven and baked it for 20 minutes.

Now, half of the tatin rose VERY high, in a slightly odd manner. Presumably something to do with how I whisked the eggs… either way, it tasted fine and made for a pretty decent lunch!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 8-9

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

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

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

February 28, 2010

Giant mushrooms with rice and roasted onions

Filed under: side — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 3:59 pm

This was the starter to our three course meal this weekend.  The recipe calls for wild rice (which is very long, thin, black, and looks nothing like normal rice) but we couldn’t get hold of it so we used brown rice.

Giant Mushroom

Like an ordinary sized mushroom, only bigger, and filled with rice and roasted onions.

Basically, all you do here is roast some onions, shallots and leeks, roast  the mushrooms (separately, to get them to cook properly), whilst boiling the rice.  Then pile everything on the mushroom and throw it back in the oven.

The end result is… a bit dull.  The only flavour here is coming from the vegetables themselves, which are good roasted but not enough on their own.  As a starter we thought this was just OK.  However, we had some of the rice and vegetable mixture left over and had it with our main course, and it tasted amazing – a really flavoursome rice dish.  I think the general idea would make an excellent alternative to risotto, but the poor mushroom doesn’t have enough flavour on its own for this recipe.

We will definitely be trying something like this again, but will be tweaking the recipe beyond recognition.  This would have gone well as part of a main course.

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly.

Recipe: “the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 173.

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