Gastronomically Terrific

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

July 12, 2014

Star-topped mince pies with homemade mincemeat

Filed under: Christmas, Sweets — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 7:09 pm

Mince pie one standingAnother odd Christmas bake for June, there were two reasons I chose to make these. Firstly, we were going on holiday with my family for a few days, and I knew there would be, and had been, loads of cake for them to eat (my dad had just retired and there had been a lot of cake on offer). So I wanted to make something that I knew they wouldn’t have eaten much of recently. I figured mince pies were a pretty good bet for June!

Secondly, I did want to do a test run of these before Christmas because I would like to make my own mince pies (I don’t normally). And not just my own mince pies, but my own mince meat as well.

I’m pleased to say, these turned out really well. The mincemeat was really easy to make, and smelt amazing. I wasn’t able to buy cranberries (it was June, after all), but the recipe worked just as well with grated cooking apple. Although I would use cranberries if I could, just because I prefer them. The pastry for the pies took a while to make, but it was worth doing. The recipe suggests you make bite size mince pies, and this did seem to work really well. It does take longer because you have to cut out more pastry pieces, and you could probably easily make standard size mince pies, but I liked the appeal of mini mince pies that you could eat in one go.

The one thing I will say about the recipe is that, as often seems to be the case with Nigella recipes, the amounts are vastly off. I made one third of the mince meat mixture and it made enough (just) for 36 small mince pies – according to the recipe it should only have been enough for about 15-20. Equally, I made half the amount of pastry mixture and it also (luckily) made enough for 36 pies; the recipe states that the full amount of mixture should make 36 mince pies. I was lucky that the amounts matched up; at least I will know for next time!

Regardless of the terrible amount judgments, this is a great recipe and worked out really well. I’d definitely be making these again – probably actually for Christmas next time though!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pgs. 186-189

July 17, 2011

Angel Fruit Tartlets

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:11 pm

Hot little tarts…

With all that fruit it has to be good for you, right?

The tarts are extremely simple: just short crust pastry, with a sweetened mascarpone cheese topping (175g of the cheese, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar, and 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest).  Then a random selection of your favourite fruits sit on top.  Clearly, the only opportunity for excitement here is the topping, but this works really well, being very simple cream cheese with a very intense flavour from the orange.

I can merrily eat 3 of these in a sitting and its only British Social Reserve holding me back from a fourth.  Try them; they are tasty and easy!

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: Cakes, Bakes, Puddings and Prayers, by Susan Over, page 8.

February 27, 2011

Griddled courgette quiche with cheese and rocket salad

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:00 pm

This was our first go at Quiche from scratch, and it was pretty good.   We disagreed a little on whether it was awesome or just nice, due to the intensity of herbs used.  The main flavour here is rosemary, and you have to like a really intense hit – for me it was just a little too much.  We had a salad with it, which was about the best salad I’ve ever had.  It was only a rocket, grape and walnut mixture with a dressing, but somehow it worked really well.

Rocket powered salad makes a nice launch.

The Quiche first.  We bothered to make our own pastry, for two reasons: firstly, short crust pastry is the easiest thing in the world, and secondly this was “enriched”, so used half egg and half butter instead of only butter.  It gives it a slightly more solid texture and richer flavour.  The filling is a courgette, 3 shallots and 2 tbsp mixed nuts (though pine nuts are recommended) all griddled until brown, mixed with 2 small eggs and 75ml double cream and 1 1/2 tsp pesto and 1 tsp chopped rosemary.  (Admittedly, we used way more than this…)  You just mix the lot together, drop on the pastry, and bake  for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius.

Whoops, we forgot a sprinkling of parmesan… now I’m not going to lie to you, everything does taste better with cheese.  But in this case, we didn’t miss it.

On to the salad. This was supposed to be a main meal, with roast chicken in, but we just left out the chicken and it worked really well.  Rocket, celery, cucumber , spring onion, walnut, Stilton and grapes make up the bulk with the dressing being olive oil, sherry vinegar , mustard and mixed herbs.  I think the key is to go lightly with the strongly flavoured ingredients, since everything in here is actually quite interesting to eat in its own way.

Who made it: The both of us.

Recipe: The salad is “The daily cook book” by love food, september 8th.  The Quiche is from “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 255, with the pastry on page 254.

The sa

June 21, 2010

Nuggets of Gold

Filed under: side — Tags: , — thinkingdan @ 8:26 pm

These cheesy bites are a tasty savoury treat.

Cheesy and bitesize.

Flour, butter, cheese.  Yes, you might expect these from cheesy nuggets.  Add mustard, paprika and onion and things are looking a little different.  Something between a pastry and a scone, these little guys are as tasty as they are confusing!

Best fresh, they do keep fairly well and would probably be awesome with a garlic dip.  But they are a tasty little bitesize snack.

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: “Baking making and sharing” by Susan Over, page 54.

March 16, 2010

Mushroom and stilton pie

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:46 pm

I’m proud of this pie for two reasons.  Firstly, it is basically my own recipe; well, at least, I modified this recipe by guessing what might work and getting it right.  Secondly, it was in competition with a meaty pie, and whilst I obviously didn’t try the meat Anna confessed that the veggie was nicer…

Pie. Mmm, pie.

Its not all that complicated, nor all that different from the BBC recipe, but since the details are not anywhere I’m going to give my first proper recipe.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the pastry (150g of pre-made pastry would do fine):

  • 125 g plain flour
  • 60g butter/margarine
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of water

For the filling:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • garlic clove
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms
  • 125 ml vegetable stock
  • 75g stilton cheese
  • 50g mixed nuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (ground cumin would do, but definitely isn’t as tasty)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (ground cinnamon would do, and is probably just the same)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Method

  • Make the pastry by sieving the flour, adding the butter and a pinch of salt and kneading it into tiny breadcrumbs.  Then add the water slowly, kneading it in each time, until it no longer cracks (but isn’t sticky).  Its supposed to be put in the fridge before being rolled out on a flat surface sprinkled with flour.
  • “Meanwhile” crush the cinnamon, fennel seeds and cumin seeds (the cinnamon needs quite a lot of work – you’ll need a pestle).  Then dry fry them for about 5 minutes – this makes the room smell great!  (actually it probably doesn’t change the taste all that much over ground spices, but I like the smell..)
  • Fry the garlic, onion and carrot in oil until soft.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry until soft.  Then add the tomato purée and nuts and fry for another few minutes.  Then add the soy sauce and stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Butter a pie dish and roll out the pastry quite thinly. Cut it to the right size to line the bottom and sides of the dish, put in the pastry and add the mushroom mixture on top.  Crumble the Stilton over it, then add the lid.  Brush the top with egg or milk, and bake at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes – don’t let the top brown until the bottom layer of pastry is cooked through.  (We have to put a tray above whatever we’re cooking to stop it being burnt…)

OK, so its not all that different to the recipe on the BBC website – I just added spice (a lot of spice) and nuts.  But it is extremely tasty!  And next time I hope to have time to make the presentation a little neater, and get some good photos!

We had it with a “potato and leek boulangere” (complete vegetarian cookbook page 262) which was a huge disappointment.  It spent about 2 hours in the oven then tasted of unflavoured potato, despite having smoked cheese and cream in it.  In the interests of fairness, I aught to give a whole post over to it, but I don’t have a photo and it was simply too dull to bother. Not to be recommended.

Who made it: it was a joint effort in a hectic kitchen, but the vegetarian flourishes were me trying to make my own dinner tasty!

Recipe: My own!  Well, mostly…

January 31, 2010

Profiteroles

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:37 pm

The final stop in our three course dinner was:

Profiteroles

Cream, fat, and chocolate.  On a plate.

Profiteroles: an excuse to have chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.

I’ve never been that fond of profiteroles, and until making them, I never understood why.  It turns out that there are two styles of profiterole: the “true” ones that we made, but there is also a sweetened version that I suspect you most often get from bakeries and supermarkets.  It turns out I like the sweetened version most.

The “bun” part of the profiterole is “choux” pastry: butter, flour and egg.  Notice the lack of sugar.  As they are, these taste the same as a scone, with a slightly lighter texture.  As you can see from our picture, ours didn’t come out in the nice round circles I’m used to seeing, but actually looked like mini buns.  They are also quite finicky about how long you cook them; half of ours were a bit too crispy, though the rest were just fine.

You then chop these in half and fill them with whipped cream.  Here comes my second disappointment; I don’t really like cream.  When its sweetened, its just great, but these aren’t.  So: we basically have cream sandwiches at this stage; chocolate éclair without the chocolate.  They don’t taste any better than shop bought ones, and it is fairly tricky to get right.

Finally, you drizzle the whole lot in chocolate sauce, and finally I begin to see the point in profiteroles.  The recipe calls for brandy to give the sauce a little extra, but we took a gambit and came up trumps by instead adding Cherry Brandy.  I’ve only recently discovered this stuff (see here), and I’m forming the following hypothesis:

“Everything tastes better with Cherry Brandy.”

Now this is still an open question; we need to do some experiments before I can call this a true theory!  But it certainly works here; it turns a dull pile of cream sandwiches into a cherry chocolate explosion.   I don’t really see any purpose in making profiteroles again – not unless I find sweeter recipe – but I’m certainly going to take the next excuse I can to make chocolate sauce with Cherry Brandy.  Yum!

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “Halleyujah! Chocolate!” , page 44.

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