All entries for September 2009
September 05, 2009
In a bid to increase my culinary repertoire (not difficult you might say) I’m aiming to make 100 different recipes. No time limit – but I’d like to keep making at least one a week.
1. Scones (July 08)
2. Turkey pie (shepherd’s pie with turkey mince) (July 08)
3. Lentil and vegetable moussaka (v nice Delia recipe) (July 08)
4. Feta, Spinach and pinenut galettes (again – thanks to Delia) (July 08)
5. Banana and walnut loaf (lovely and moist) (August 08)
6. Minestrone soup (v wholesome – almost solid!) (September 08)
7. Bolognese sauce (the proper stuff – left to “improve” for hours) (September 08)
8. Spiced squash and bacon soup (disappointing) (October 08)
9. Spiced apple, raisin and prune crumble (lovely and sweet – I remade this a few days later without the cloves and preferred it. Went down well at Book Club) (October 2008)
10. Chicken, leek and sweetcorn chowder (lowfat recipe – not a success) (October 08)
11. Pancetta pasta sauce and fresh spaghetti (great success with Book Club and quick to prepare) (October 08)
12. Cottage pie (vast quantities for an event – the Worcester sauce really helped give it some extra flavour) (October 08)
13. Fish pie (very very nice – not cheap though – the fish cost £8!!!) (October 08)
14. Quiche Lorraine (tasty) (November 08)
15. Lemon meringue pie (fun making the topping – and it got rave reviews from Cath & family and Becky who helped make sure it all got eaten!) (November 08)
16. 5 vegetable lasagne (bland) (November 08)
17. Chicken curry (overdid the chilli powder… needed 2 glasses of milk to finish eating it) (January 09)
18. Falafel (chick peas/onion/coriander/cumin/parsley/garlic – fantastic fresh flavour) (January 09)
19. Smoked Haddock Chowder (“Cullen Skink”) (January 09) – delicious
20. French Onion Soup (great Delia recipe) (January 09) I love this recipe!
21. Porcini lasagne (wonderful flavour – much better than 16 as a veggie version) (January 09)
22. Apple Pie (Feb 09)
23. Veg. soup (leek, pots, carrot) (Feb 09)
24. Moist rich chocolate cake (with Tom age 9 and Annie age 6 helping … and licking out the bowl!) (Feb 09)
25. Potatoes Boulangeres (pots, onions, fresh rosemary) (Feb 09)
26. Homemade Pizza base and real tomato sauce (Feb 09)
27. Baked raspberry cheesecake (complete success – rave reviews from Teaching Quality, Space Management and Cath’s family! – v proud of “feathering” design of homemade raspberry sauce on the top) (February 09)
28. Beef Wellington (March 09)
29. Bread and butter pudding (March 09)
30. Carrot cake (March 09) (v moist, with nutmeg, extra raisins and extra orange zest – NB must use butter at room temp for the icing – mine was too cold and by the time I’d whisked it to break up the lumps, the icing was v runny…)
31. Coq au vin (March 09) (really rich flavour – v nice)
32. Beef and pork meatballs (albondigas) (April 09) – bit disappointing – not much flavour really despite onions, garlic, herbs etc. Also quite a faff (would be easier if had food processor for the chopping). Perhaps try again with more herbs etc?
33. Moroccan lamb tagine with herby couscous and pickled lemons (April 09) (forget the pickled lemons next time – they looked horrible and soggy. The actual tagine was very rich and tasty and the herby couscous lovely and fresh – lots of fresh mint and coriander)
34. Lentil roast (very tasty – I usually find veggie dishes like this can be bland. Maybe it was because I used 90% parmesan instead of the mature cheddar the recipe recommended – and extra onions as well as the leeks – but it had LOTS of flavour. Not quite sure why you need to line the tin with breadcrumbs – I didn’t feel that added much) (May 09)
35. Beef stroganoff (I was too cowardly to flambe the beef as the recipe said. Does that actually change the flavour? With the hot paprika, soured cream and 150ml of brandy, it had a very rich flavour. Wonderful! The recipe said it’d be enough for 4 – perhaps I liked it a bit too much. Only 2 decent size or possibly 3 smaller servings from mine!) (May 09)
NB Made the beef stroganoff again on 7 June and did flambe it (wasn’t in my own home, so less worried about setting fire to the place ;-) The trick is to put the brandy in another saucepan, set fire to it there, then pour. Very nice again – and the basmati and wild rice was finished off with a few minutes steaming which I think helped it keep fluffy.
36. Salade Nicoise (June 09) Used Delia’s recipe which was nice enough, but actually too oniony (shallots) and salty (tuna plus anchovies) for me – definitely will tone those down next time. Why Delia thinks you need to boil the tomatoes one minute, peel them, then squeeze the seeds is beyond me. They ended up blanched looking (rather than bright red). Anyway, very fitting with the good weather and nice to have fresh flavours (including fresh chives and parsley in the vinaigrette)
37. Lentil and bacon soup (August 09) (Delia’s Complete Cookery Course) – nice and chunky. Not as strong a bacon flavour as I’d have liked, but otherwise delicious.
38. American Chocolate Brownies (August 09) (Delia’s Complete Cookery Course). Lovely texture – mixture of soft and crunchy and very nutty (used brazil nuts). This recipe only used 2oz dark chocolate and it would have been good to have had a more intense chocolate flavour.
39. Courgette and Potato Cakes with Feta Cheese and Mint (August 09) (Delia’s Veggie cook book). Bit of a faff to grate and drain the courgettes, and parboil and grate the pots – but rest was straightforward. Tasty – I particularly enjoyed the saltiness of the feta and the mint together.
40. Madeira Cake (August 09) (Mary Berry) – very nice subtle lemon flavour, slightly crunchy outside – and dead easy to make!
NB Jo showed me a tip for grating lemon (put a strip of grease proof paper over the relevant grating section, and it makes removing the grated lemon rind easier, rather than having to scrape it out from between holes).
41. Gnocchi with butter, sage and parmesan (August 09) (Delia) – a real faff (boil potatoes, peel, crush, add flour and egg, knead to make dough, leave to chill, shape, boil for three minutes) and, to be honest, I don’t see the point! The verdict of the others was that they liked them – but they seemed a bit bland to me. Perhaps more seasoning was in order? Nice sauce (butter, garlic, sage leaves).
42. Kedgeree (August 09) (Delia cookery course) – the best recipe in ages! Delicious flavours and wonderful texture of egg, fish, rice and onion. Complete success!
43. Coriander and chickpea soup (August 09) (Delia veggie book) – (in the book it is meant to have chillis in it, but we didn’t have any – and actually this variation was really nice) – lots of flavours: lemon, turmeric, cumin.The swirl of natural yoghurt (it’s meant to have creme fraiche) and coriander leaves added before serving are a good touch. A really warming and tasty soup.
44. Crunchy biscuits (raisin and hazelnut; apricot and pecan) (August 09) (Delia veggie book) A simple recipe, but I found them hard to make into the right shape (they fell apart and adding water made them too soft). Once cooked they were a nice balance of squidgy and crunchy texture with golden syrup, demerara sugar and oats. The raisins weren’t a great success (the outside ones were overdone), but the apricots went well.
45. Spaghetti Carbonara (August 09) (Delia) – delicious! I had expected Delia’s version to be full of cream – but it wasn’t. Just egg, parmesan, bacon and onion. Simple but great flavours.
46. Blue Gulu’s Italian/Pakistani chicken fusion (August 09) (given the recipe by Blue Gulu aka Jo’s neighbour’s father – it has the base of chicken curry, but with Italian overtones eg basil and marjoram) – not quite as nice as when Blue Gulu cooked it – I think I was too cautious with the spices. Nice flavour though.
47. Chilli con carne (August 09) (Delia’s cookery course) – again, I made it too mild. Nice warm flavour, but could easily increase the chilli next time (I used 3/4 tspn not 1 as Delia writes). I also added lots of veg (carrot, marrow, mushrooms) which were good and gave it more “body”. Oh and I also added cinnamon on Jo’s advice – adds to the depth of flavour or something.
48. Braised Lamb with Flageolet Beans (September 09) (Delia’s Winter Collection) – very simple, but DELICIOUS! Braised lamb neck fillets, onions and garlic, lots of fresh thyme, lamb stock, bay leaves, cherry tomatoes and flageolet beans, cooked for two and a half hours in the oven. “Extremely flavoursome and comforting winter warmer” as Delia says – well, it’s not quite winter, but still nice to have something warm and nourishing. Definitely one I’d cook again.
49. Tea bread – an old favourite of mine that I’ve made lots of times with different additions. This time I added dried apricots to the sultanas and currants and used redbush tea. Moist, lots of flavour… wonderful!
50. Delia’s A sort of chicken basque (September 09) – a quick version of her chicken basque. Rice, chicken, chorizo, onions, red peppers and tomatoes (in a jar), white wine, black olives and pimento. I thought it was nice while eating it – but it left a greasy aftertaste (I think from the chorizo and the red peppers/toms from a jar of oil) and the chicken was overdone. Next time, I’ll cook the chicken for less time – just a quick brown rather than aiming for golden brown. I’d expected better! Perhaps I’ll try the proper version next time – I might try fresh peppers instead – less oily.
51. The London Particular (yellow split pea soup) (Delia’s soup collection) (September 2009) – I made a few changes to Delia’s recipe – but the outcome is good and that’s what counts. I used lamb stock (didn’t have ham, bacon or veg. stock and I particularly like the lamb stock), I used the full amount of bacon, onion, celery and carrot (plus a leek), but only half the split peas. This was because my biggest saucepan is only a 4 pint one, not the 8 pint one she recommends, but I wanted a really full flavour – and unlike the lentil and bacon soup I did recently where there wasn’t enough bacon flavour, this has a great salty, smoked bacon “twang” to it. Hearty is I think an accurate description. And I didn’t blend or process it – I like having chunks of carrot or identifiable piecies of bacon, not some homogenised gunk!
Not done very well at making new recipes or writing up the ones that I have made over last little while. I was given recipe books for Christmas (thank you!), and have started a new cookery course (Indian cookery this time), so here goes with my (belated) New Year’s resolution:
52. Mince Pies (November 2009) – made at Jo’s with her daughter.
53. Roast Chicken with stuffing, gravy, veggies, roast potatoes etc (December 2009) – never made the whole thing – bit stressful, but all tasted good
54. Vegetable Samosas (January 2010) – first recipe of the Indian cookery class I’m taking this term. VERY greasy (fry the veg, add spices, wrap in pastry and deep fry the whole lot…). Not to my taste. But the mixture for the inside was lovely and I ate that without deep frying it the next day.
55. Chicken Biryani (January 2010) – lovely warm flavour – very nice. Easy to make (so long as you have the zillion ingredients… but that’s the same with all these Indian recipes – you need a good stock of spices, fresh herbs etc)
56. Date and Tamarind chutney (February 2010) – looked disgusting. Not my thing. But got good reviews from others (thank you Cath!)
57. Mango and apple chutney (February 2010) – again, not my thing. Shame – the recipe makes 2 tons of it! But again, good reviews from the others it went to.
58. Raw peanut, mint and coriander chutney (February 2010) – the best of the 3 recipes in my opinion. Nice and fresh taste. None of the recipes were difficult (just chop, mix, for some of them simmer… ). Won’t be making them again though ;-)
59. Lamb Pulao (February 2010) – a very simple recipe (marinate the lamb in spices, yoghurt and chopped herbs, cook rice with turmeric, fry onions, green beans, tomatoes, add lemon juice and layer/mix to serve) but quite tasty. I like the crunchy green beans, onions and tomatoes. I think I overcooked the lamb a bit (bit tough) – next time, need to cook it for less time.
[also watched potato and onion bhajias being made. Can’t claim to have made it myself. Like the samosas they were very, very greasy – the teacher explained the difference between bhajias and bhajis and I can’t remember… one is clumps of the thing being fried in batter and one is individual pieces]