Friday, 4 February 2011

a long blog

Last weeks menu,
Lunch Quiche Lorraine
Little Chef friday, Sushi and chocolate fondue with fruit
Dinner, Salsify Beignets, Roast Woodcock, Spinach
Chocolate Mousse and La Tarte aux Pommes normande
Scrambled eggs
Game pate leftover Quiche Lorraine
Hare stewed in red wine with Braised Celery and Pommes de Terre dauphine
Leftover mousse and Apple Tart
Roast Chicken a la Anna with token ED Turnip dish and Vichy carrots
Rhubarb Pavlova, sorry ED
Chicken salad with Hollandaise
Papperdelle with leftover hare and celery and Courgettes fines Herbes
Colin Sauce Remoulade with Etuvede Celeri-rave
Faisan en Papillotes with Poireaux a la nicoise
Pineapple with kirsch
Great, twenty recipes in a week that puts me on target.
How were they all, pretty good, amazing, delicious to my worst ED attempt so far.
In order we will start with Quiche Lorraine a delicious little tart. A thrill to make she says to use an eight inch tin, I only had a cake tin with removable base this size but thats what we used and  I loved the flat high sides.  The best bit of the recipe, not just the cream and egg yolks was that it all fitted, the pastry and filling were the perfect amount to fill the tin.  No Nigella style pastry recipe where you are left with enough to make another tart.
It was great to see the kids make successful sushi and even better that we bought everything in local independents.  We were debating whether to head to Morrisons for the outer seaweed leaves when we found them in Green Spirit, result.
The Salsify Beignets were good, you par boiled the salsify and then dipped them in a batter that included whisked egg white.  These were border line bland but we dipped them in Crab Apple, Sloe and Chilli jam that I had made.
As for the Woodcock, Williams Kitchen came up trumps in getting these for me, apparently a bad year as they fled further south to warmer climes.  I was a little alarmed when I collected them to see they still had their feathered heads attached.  Tom enjoyed some blowtorch action burning off the feathers and I quite enjoyed fingering inside of them in search of a gizzard.  I’m still not sure it was the gizzard I removed.  So I tucked their long beak under the wing smothered them in butter then roasted then for less than twenty minutes.  We did cross reference to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Meat Book.  Elizabeth has a tendency to give loose instructions which when cooking my first Woodcock, Hugh had the detail we needed.  When cooked you scrape out the entails and serve them on toast, a delicacy some say.  We did lightly fry these off a la Hugh with the bacon that had roasted on top of the birds.  The birds are placed on top of the toast and I served mine to brave friends, they were enjoyed, the entails were bitter, Tom thought them amazing.  We didn’t crack open the heads and eat the brains, we hope the friends will come back for dinner again.
For pudding I made a classic Chocolate Mousse, separated eggs and the juice of a Seville orange, delicious, intensely chocolately .  The Apple Tart was simple, a pastry just pressed in to the tin topped with buttery apples.
I also snuck in Nigel Slater’s marmalade cake, a really great recipe that I will be making again, a good way of using up some of my new season marmalade.  
Next there was my first Pate, probably simpler than I expected but I made a classic Anna mistake of not reading to the bottom therefore the pork overwhelmed the duck.  I lightly roasted a mallard then removed the meat mixed it with pork mince and fat and then baked it topped with bacon in a bain marie.
No sooner had Friday nights guests left and Tom and I were jointing a hare and reserving the blood and liver.  This was then marinaded in wine and onions.
For the actual stew the blood was added at the end.  I probably could have cooked this longer, I regularly use my simmering oven for cooking stews slowly but I was following ED and cooked it faster.  The Braised Celery was amazing:The nicest celery he had ever tasted.  It was stewed in butter and olive oil until tender then a little stock added.
I nearly forgot the amazing fattening potatoes.  Oh yes, glorified mash with added cheese, flour and eggs then deep fried in walnut sized balls in olive oil, of course they were lush.
On Sunday we had friends for the third day running, I needed to cook for four more children so twelve of us in total at lunchtime.  I roasted the chicken smeared in butter with a lemon in it and made potatoes like dauphinois but with stock not cream- a great way to cook potatoes in advance or to ignore them in the oven for a couple of ovens.  For vegetables we had Navets a la bordelaise, Vichy carrots and overcooked brocolli.  The turnips were lightly boiled then fried in olive oil with breadcrumbs and parsley added.  
A joint effort of a Pavlova with roasted rhubarb was a true success.  
Sunday leftover Supper consisted off a chicken salad, Fee’s hard boiled bantam eggs and a hollandaise sauce.  Why does hollandaise have to be so deicious and contain a pack of butter.
Leftover Monday, the hare stew and celery was perfect with paperdelle.  A token courgette dish was made, salted courgettes, boiled then fried in butter and herbs added.  The kids and the husband spotted that these were Elizabeth David’s, I suspect it was the butter that gave it away.  Why is that butter and salt can turn a wet vegetable into something so delectable.
On Tuesday after a night off of entertaining we had the parents. I couldn’t face the Pike In Williams Foodhall, despite being a rarity, caught locally, offers accepted.  We had hake steaks simply roasted.  The celeriac we had with them was amazing, cut into fine strips and fried with the obligatory butter and parsley.  Then I made my first remoulade, wow.  You add a raw egg yolk to two hard boiled ones then like the aioli whisk it all up together with olive oil added cautiously.  When combined I added tarragon and capers which  I found myself automatically cutting the capers(I must be getting the hang of this). We also had spinach which I am simply loving, Bramleys did have it in some great bunches,  washed well, then boiled in their washing waters.  Drained really well then sauteed off in a little butter. 
I just remembered there was a soup, that makes 21 recipes.  A potato and watercress one that required being passed through a mouli then a sieve.  It was good but not legendary, it wasn’t at all starchy which I sometimes find with potato soups.  You did add a little flour, would this help that?
Then there was Wednesday, a finale before some days off cooking, I thought I would make Mr Tom a special dinner after a long day.  An even longer day than I anticipated so some seriously overcooked results.  It was pheasant on the menu, but mine was twice as big as the recipe, so I overcompensated with the timings.  You lightly roasted the pheasant then carved it in half, mine was still bloody at this stage.  You then made a papilotte(heart) out of greaseproof and baked them again with buttery juices and bacon.  I just massively overcooked them so they were well dry.  I served them with whole leeks browned in a frying pan topped with skinned tomatoes.  I no longer use tins of tomatoes thanks to Elizabeth.  This was one of my sure supermarket items, but why did I rely on them so heavily when they fail to resemble the real thing that aren’t that much more expensive.
For pudding we had Pineapple in Kirsch, “a light popular french pudding”, nice but could of done with a bit more sugar.
So there we go that’s it, a mammoth task done.  I promise to not leave it so long ever ever again.  Did anyone really make it here, is there a rule of blogs I don’t know regarding number of words?
You will be glad to know I am now recovering in a hotel in Cornwall(blog to follow) where Tom is teaching a Breadmaking course, and yes I can’t cook here or wash up.  Bliss.

1 comment:

  1. How on earth do you find time to make all these complicated recipes on week nights when there is homework to be supervised, kids to put to bed etc. etc. ??

    I am constantly gobsmacked at what you manage to achieve in a week!