Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nigel's cheesy potatoes

Rather like a pan fried potato bake but not as creamy... Faster, though. All in all, a bit of a disappointment.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday night: Nigel's stew

The good: It was great having a ready made, hearty meal, that just needed a reheat in the oven.
The not so good: I used water rather than stock and, in re-reading the recipe I also forgot the bay leaves. Unfortunately, while it smelled fantastic this just tasted a little bland. Next time I’ll stick to my usual casserole sauce base, but will keep the balance; the chops in particular were a nice change for more expensive cuts of meat.

Origin: Nigel's Stew recipe from January in The Kitchen Diaries

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday: A busy afternoon

Sunday afternoon tea: Lemon Tarts
Like everyone else on Taste, my filling didn't set particularly well (even with the addition of gelatine, although I skipped the recommended cornsflour stage so that might account for it!) but these were a yummy treat for almost no effort. Only slightly tart -- might add a wee bit of zest next time -- but lovely and light. I had some nice fresh strawberries left over from last night so topped with those rather than frozen raspberries.

Dinner: Dal and pumpkin soup
Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries pg 7
This is sitting, waiting for the boy to finish his shower, so final taste will tell but on checking for seasoning WOW this soup packed a punch! The colour of baby vomit but no one could accuse it of lacking flavour.

Also now simmering away in the oven is Lamb stew (Nigel, pg 10) which will hopefully prove a delicious - and easy! - supper tomorrow night.

Soundtrack: The AFL... All afternoon
Watching: Also the AFL. But not by choice.
Reading: French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guilland

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sunday lunch: Orange salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Based on Nigel Slater’s salad, pg 7 of The Kitchen Diaries
The leaves I used were a mix of baby spinach, baby rocket and watercress, plus thinly sliced fennel.
The vinaigrette was lovely, but – even though I tossed through some lovely sweet segments of Valencia orange – the salad was just too peppery for my liking. Next time, I’ll use stick to the sweeter leaves.

Saturday: Pumpkin Pasta

Usually this is slow cook day, but today it's also beauty day. The day when my brows and nails get some professional love and attention. Compounded today by the fact that I also got a haircut -- my first in two years. So there was a lot of hair on the floor when we were done :) Then I went shoe shopping (two very successful purchases, thank you very much!). So now I look like a million bucks and spent a small fortune for the privelege.

But it wouldn't be a good Saturday without something that requires a bit of time and effort, so today it was homemade fettucine with pumpkin.

300g OO flour
3 large eggs
A pinch of salt
And a fantastic arm workout
Cooked quickly in salty water at a rolling boil.
(From Jamie Oliver's website, halved for 2 rather than 4)

The pasta turned out great -- my best effort yet at homemade pasta. Mostly because I kept on kneading, and kneading, and then kneading some more. So it was lovely and silky before I set it to rest. There is a lesson in that... Some patience (and tired arms) makes for a better pasta. Box for ticky for next time.

Sauce (as it should be):
Half a butternut pumpkin, chopped in to 2-3cm cubes and roasted in a generous slug of olive oil
Spanish onion, roasted with the pumpkin
Toasted pinenuts
A couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche
1-2 tablespoons of pasta water
PLENTY of parmesan
(Inspired by a segment on Market Kitchen months ago... but who can say how much I've "made it my own" (aka bastardised it) since then?)

First substitution of the day: marscarpone for creme fraiche. I shopped at the small Woolworths up the road, rather than the big one a few kms away, so no creme fraiche for me today. This is a sub I've made before and it's not the end of the earth -- just makes for a richer, denser sauce. Not quite as tangy and fresh.

I roasted the pumpkin as always... but this time I forgot to dice up a spanish onion and roast that too. Ooops. Then I got distracted and left my pine nuts toasting a little too long... double ooops. Good thing that creamy marscarpone and roast pumpkin tastes great -- even with burnt pine nuts!

Verdict: All things considered the pasta was delicious, but the sauce wasn't my best effort.

Chocolate cake (just a pretty dull recipe, nothing special). To go with it: a chocolate ganache and some strawberries that look superb and will hopefully taste just as good. Also icecream... thanks to the boy's quick dash up to the shops to buy it, as I forgot. Ooops.

Soundtrack: Glee
Watching: TrueBlood
Reading: Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews