Friday, 29 April 2011
Hands up all those who have had a thin vanilla biscuit with your ice cream. Well this is Lorraine's version. Mine aren't quite as thin as you'd expect them to be and I didn't manage to get them to curl round my rolling pin. I made these as an Easter present for Marks Nanna and I think they went down well, I had a couple of little leftovers which were lovely with a good cuppa tea. The only fiddly bit with these is having to make a template of a circle and then spread the mixture over it and lift it off, a really messy job, I ended up with vanilla gunk all over me. But then mess is all part of cooking, it's just a shame there isn't someone to tidy it all up.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Welcome to the seventies! Only just noticed that the tablecloth is also completely in keeping with the food! But these are not filled with the mushroom or chicken stews of the past, these are filled with a pretty simple feta (yum) pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. I wasn't expecting great things from these, I used shop brand puff pastry (I'm being a real wimp about making my own!) and they got a bit burnt. Considering all that though they proved to be really popular. I was really impressed, they tasted really nice, and if I had any ingredients left I'd be taking them along to a royal street party, but they'll just have to make do with fairy cakes instead!
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
What a lot of trouble I had with this one. Wouldn't think it, I've made swiss roll before, I think I even made it in a school cookery class, but with this, you'd think it was the most difficult thing to make in the whole world. My first attempt didn't rise very much and then I couldn't get it off the backing paper, I ended up shredding it as I pulled. This pud was for a family meal so it had to be made. So I decided to start again, this is all an hour before we have to go (all very Masterchef!). Get everything out, not enough eggs. But I do have a lot of egg whites from all the pastry I've been making so I substitute an egg for two egg whites, it'll be fine. Well, it rose, sort of and I managed to get it off the paper but it went all funny. The cake that was touching the paper had a very strange texture, it was really smooth and smelled like pancakes. But it had to do, so I spread out the mascarpone cream, added the strawberries and rolled. Everyone was very polite about it, but it did just taste like a fancy pancake. I'm sure this isn't a true reflection of what it should have been so I'll have to try this one again. The cream was really yummy though.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
The last time I eat a fig I ended up with a raging sore throat for about a week so I wasn't looking forward to this one much. Thankfully my parents are huge fig fans so I took it along for a dish as part of a family lunch. In the book Lorraine says to eat it with a rocket salad, but we were very confused as to whether it should be sweet or savoury. Well, as it turned out everyone chose to have it for dessert. Everything in it is geared towards sweet; honey, figs, cream cheese, cream, mint but the pastry is savoury. As a sweet it wasn't quite sweet enough for me and was a little to sweet for a savoury so we all decided it would make a perfect starter. But whenever you decide to eat it, it's really delicious. On another plus side, I feel like I'm slowly beginning to conquer pastry, as long as I take my time.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Friday, 22 April 2011
From looking at the picture above you'd probably think that everything had gone pretty well. Well I'm afraid it's all a big cover up. I very carefully put the passion fruit through the sieve to get all the juice and pushed through the pulp, then left it to seep while the children were put to bed. Came back and made a start on the rest of the filling, the pie case had already been baked in advance. I've never really used cornflour in cooking and didn't know what it would do but once it was heated with the sugar and lime it thickened really quickly. I was just starting on the meringue when I realised I hadn't put the passion fruit pulp into the mixture, so I quickly mixed it in and it seemed quite thick and I thought the eggs would help once it was baked so crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. It;s pretty safe to say that it didn't really work all that well, as you can see above it looked ok when it was hole. But the picture below gives a better version. All the juice that hadn't been cooked through with the cornflour has leeched out and the filling collapsed. The other thing about the recipe is that you're meant to put half the passion fruit seeds into the filling, which I did. I wouldn't recommend it though, it makes the eating quite hard work, enjoying your pudding and then a sudden crack on a seed. You're teeth are in enough trouble as it is with all the sugar involved!!
Thursday, 21 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Going through my lists yesterday I worked out I had 39 dishes to go, out of 105. So the end is slowly coming into view. Most of the things left know are sweets and random savouries with a couple of Souffles. There also seems to be a frightening number of pastry dishes, looks like I'll be getting plenty of practise over the next couple of weeks!
Monday, 18 April 2011
Ooooo Fancy! These are tasty little cakes with marzipan, buttercream and a fondant covering. I wasn't too sure about these, they looked like a lot of work but yet again, they were really delicious. Bake a cake, cover with marzipan, cut and fill with buttercream and then cut and cover with a really messy icing. They do take some time because after each stage you have to put them in the fridge. I had some royal icing left over from Zoe's cake so I used that on the top. Anyone with the book will have the original picture to compare them to, be warned these are not as dainty as the picture would suggest. I used the right sized tin and they were huge things! They are about 4 times the size of a french fancy by Kipling. Worth every bite though!
Sunday, 17 April 2011
Underneath all this icing is Lorraine's Victoria Sandwich cake. With Zoe's third birthday coming up I didn't really want to veer away from the book so I used the victoria recipe. All Lorraine's sponges follow the same method of creaming the eggs and sugar and then adding the eggs and the flour. The problem is whenever I add the eggs they start to look like scrambled eggs, Lorraine suggests adding a bit of flour to make it smoother but to me it doesn't really work. I'm used to a sticking it all in the bowl and beating it all together. They were cooked in sandwich tins, but they didn't bake very evenly despite being on the same shelf, so when I sandwiched them together I had to use quite a lot of buttercream to get an even surface for the cake, which I hate having to do. Really I should have started again, but there are not enough hours in the day. I will give this one another go but keep it as a good old Victoria Sandwich cake.
Saturday, 16 April 2011
This was another one of those dishes that I wasn't really looking forward to, maybe because it just looks too healthy! But I am a convert and even more surprisingly so is Mark. It is meant to be made with quinoa but I used cous cous, its packed with chilli, feta cheese, herbs and roasted peppers and it was really, really tasty. It was more than enough to fill us for a lunchtime. Yummy!
Friday, 15 April 2011
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Not a lot of planning went into this one. I'd bought shortcrust pastry by mistake when I needed puff so this needed using up. Going through the book bakewell was the only thing that I had enough ingredients in for, or so I thought. So I baked out the pastry, made the frangipane for the filling and went to get the jam. Well, turns out that although I did have some it definitely wasn't edible. We don't eat much jam in our house and it tends to be just there for cakes, we're Marmite, Peanut Butter and Bovril (don't ask) kind of people. So I had to think quick, everything else was ready to go. So what you see before you is a Nutella Bakewell Tart. As it turns out it was pretty tasty. I am never using shopbought shortcrust again though. It wasn't nice, despite my checkered history of making pastry I'd much rather make the effort and get it slightly wrong than eat that again.
Monday, 11 April 2011
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Pavlova is one my favourite puds. As you can see from the picture it very nearly became an Eton mess. In the book this is meant to be an apple, blackberry and quince pavlova but we had a load of raspberries and blueberries in and some egg whites that needed using up so this was the result. I don't think I cooked the meringue for long enough though, I got a bit nervous when it started browning. Which is daft because I've made meringues so many times and they've been fine. These had quite a spongy centre but the outsides were lovely and crispy. By the time it hit the bowl it was definitely an Eton mess, thankfully it all tastes the same.
Friday, 8 April 2011
The foccacia is one of the last breads I've got left to make. Didn't quite get it right though, as you can see form the picture I didn't really get it flat enough before I let it rise so its a bit big rather than a soft flat bread. It still tasted nice though, you could taste the rosemary through the bread. Its nice to know that I'm around the half way mark, although I feel like I've been going through this book for ages and there is still a long way to go. It makes you realise what a lot of work goes into producing a cook book, there must be so many things that didn't make it into this one. Back to the kitchen!
Thursday, 7 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
I'll be the first to admit that this is not one of the prettiest of dishes I've cooked, but it was definitely one of the tastiest. The recipe says 800g of Beef fillet, so off we toddle to Hawarden farm shop, as the meat just didn't cut it in Tesco on a sunday morning. Well, we asked for 600g don't want to be greedy, and the butchers assistant picks out the beef, but doesn't want to cut it, just in case...so we wait for the butcher and I happiky ask for the bigger end, he cuts it, weighs it, and I glance at the price. My internal voice starter going bonkers in my head £29.47!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew fillet was expensive but that is ridiculous. So, with a very red face I double check the price with the butcher, yes, thats right. Ummmmm, I'm sorry, but can we have something else? They were lovely and he recommended a sirloin piece which came out a third of the price. Meanwhile a huge queue had built up to view my humiliation. I grabbed my meat and scurried away.
I wish we could have had the fillet, because then this would have been amazing, it was delicious. I like my beef pink in the middle, when I eat steak I like it to have a quick fling with the pan before it's on my plate. But this was gorgeous, pink and juicy. Sadly the veggies didn't get quite the same attention, burnt the cabbage and carrots in butter, but the potatoes came out ok. The sauce was made with creme fraiche and was meant to have cognac but we didn't have any. Really need to get some booze in the house, have plenty of whiskey!
Saturday, 2 April 2011
This is a no need to knead loaf which was developed by Doris Grant during the 1940's who believed that the white loaf was evil and we should all have more fibre in our diets, and she forgot to knead it. She liked it so much that it stayed that way. It did make life a lot easier not having to knead it, well, I don't really knead anything, I have a machine to do it for me. But it saved some time. Stuck it in the airing cupboard and waited for it to rise. We had this with some soup for lunch and with Zoe screaming with hunger clinging to my ankles we grabbed it from the oven probably sooner than we should. We cut it in half and a lot of it came back with the knife. So Zoe had the end piece, she was quite happy and Mark and I made our way through the middle, it was the most stodgy and soggy bread I've ever eaten (my own fault) but the flavour was nice. I think I'll stick to a kneaded loaf though. Not at the top of my list of remakes.