Sunday, September 29, 2013

289/984 - Pikelets

As a child I only knew of pikelets that came in a packet. They were sweet and I loved them, but now that I think back they had an unusually fake, rubbery feel to them that makes me wonder just how many preservatives and nasty things I was consuming as an added bonus!

The basics chapter in the Cook's Companion contains thirty seven recipes and so I am always quite keen to tick another one off the list. I was very pleased to see that the pikelet mixture did not need to rest and so before we knew it I had whipped them up and watched them disappear into the mouths of my ever hungry family. 

I was left with only one pikelet (honestly the boys inhaled these so quickly I was thrilled they left me one!) and I enjoyed it with grated apple and a spoonful of full fat natural yoghurt which was delicious. I obviously made them a little bigger than I should have because the recipe advised that we would have twenty four pikelets and we ended up with around eight. Apparently I made mega-pikelets!

A quick family breakfast that made me popular for a good couple of hours.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

288/984 - Bircher muesli

I still remember the first time I discovered bircher muesli in the spread of a hotel buffet, and wondering where that little bowl of deliciousness had been all my life. 

Every time we stay at a hotel, my family run straight for the sausages and hash browns and I find myself drawn to my own hotel buffet staple, each time swearing I will make some for myself when I get home. 

Fast forward many years, and I have finally made my own bircher muesli! Stephanie's version is absolutely beautiful, with still enough crunch and texture to be interesting, and so full of slivered almonds it's like my own little bowl of heaven. 

Having been wiped out all week with fluey aches and pains I threw this together hoping it would speed my recovery. Two bowls later I am sure it is starting to work its magic, no doubt helped by the wonderful pot set natural yoghurt that my family devours by the truckload. 

For something different I am thinking that next time I might replace the strawberries with slices of poached pear. In fact I can see the bircher being included in a dessert medley very soon. Imagine this with a ginger ice-cream and some rhubarb compote...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

287/984 - Baghdad eggs

Our chooks are in fine form at the moment and we have more eggs than we can poke a stick at. So in order to reduce the stockpile, Baghdad eggs were on the menu for my lunch the other day. I cooked them as the chefs do on TV; preparing all of my ingredients beforehand and then making my lunch in a matter of minutes.

I always find it easier to break my eggs into a glass before tipping them into a pan as it is much easier to spot stray pieces of shell when done this way.

Even though my boys said they were not hungry when I was cooking, the two of them were like a pair of baby birds with their mouths open as I ate this. They liked these so much I had to make a second batch for Henry, although I did instruct him to grind his own cumin. Even slaves have limits!

I was disappointed to discover that my mint in the garden had died and so will have to make these again when I resurrect the plant, just to see what these decadent eggs taste like with something green on top. With more butter than was strictly necessary, a good amount of garlic, a dash of lemon juice and finished with cumin, salt and pepper, I give this dish two thumbs up.

My tip for maximum enjoyment however, is to eat it far away from ravenous children. Or simply triple the recipe just in case.
My beautiful Slovenian salt

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

286/984 - Brain salad with celery and mustard cream sauce

Look away now if you do not like brains!

I have committed to cooking every recipe in the book and this dish, while it was not my favourite, was loved by the family. I was not particularly well on the day I made this and so was more squeamish than usual. Having to handle and prepare the brains when I was not well meant that by the time we sat down to lunch I struggled to look at the brains, let alone eat them. Lucky for me I have three boys who will eat ANYTHING and so nothing was wasted.

Earlier in this challenge, when I was still cooking from the orange edition, I was proud to have completed three chapters. Since the upgrade I do not have any chapters complete, but amusingly, the brain chapter is one of the few with only a single recipe remaining. 

For the sake of the squeamish readers, I will hold off on attacking the last brain recipe for a little while. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

285/984 - Sticky toffee pudding

My blogging is all over the place at the moment! This is the dessert I served up to my offal crowd a couple of weeks ago. 

I left the dates to soak while we ate the main course and then threw everything together at the last minute for baking. In my opinion, the reason this pudding tasted so good was because it was put back in the oven once the sauce had been poured on top, and it came out soaked through and bubbling. The double cream spooned over the top didn't hurt either.  

My guests were equally impressed and I was feeling quite proud of myself until we headed out to Josie Bones a week later and the boys informed me, in very serious tones, that while my sticky date pudding was lovely, Josie Bones made a better one. I was offended until I tasted theirs and realised the boys were right. I think mine came in at a very close second though. 

I absolutely LOVED this dessert and it was made doubly special with the Pedro Ximenez sherry brought along by Trev's very generous Uncle. 

A match made in heaven to be sure.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

284/984 - Harira

I made this lovely soup for a group of colleagues recently. I don't know what went wrong, but my harira was a bit watery and lacking in flavour. After throwing in some additional bits and pieces including a tin of tomatoes and some coriander root, the soup was absolutely lovely and ready to serve!

This soup was served with chopped, boiled eggs which I sprinkled with salt and roasted cumin. A lovely, and quite traditional, accompaniment. I also served some individual flat breads because they are so easy to make and I love them! Of course I feel spoiled that my thermomix kneads the dough for me but I still have to roll and cook them. 

So here we are, I can't believe there are only 700 recipes to go. It sounds like a lot, but with 284 behind me I am confident I will make it through. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

283/984 - Lamb shanks with couscous

What better way to say goodbye to winter than with a meal of slow cooked lamb shanks?

I messed about with the recipe a bit and used Lebanese couscous, or moghrabieh, which is a much larger version and very much loved by my family. Rather than cooking it separately, I threw in my moghrabieh at the beginning of the recipe so that it could soak up the lovely juices. 

Rather than using 400g as directed, I think I should have reduced the amount because my moghrabieh swelled beautifully and we ended up eating this dish for days, both for lunch and dinner! Not the lamb shanks of course, they were inhaled at the first sitting. I will admit that by the final night of eating the stew, we needed a change and so added chorizo and a pile of extra vegetables so that we could pretend we were tasting something new.

Goodbye winter and hello spring!