Monday, 19 March 2007

Mothering Sunday Cooking

Cherry, Chocolate & Buttermilk Scones

These hail from The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz. I wanted to do something out of the usual for breakfast, and these fitted the bill very nicely! David says that he in turn was given the recipe from Carolyn Weil, and they used to fly out of her ovens when she owned a bakery in Berkley, California

They are a basic scone dough with orange zest, chocolate chips and dried cherries added in before shaping. There was no egg in the dough, just the buttermilk, so if anyone is coming round who is allergic to eggs, these would be a good idea! The method of cutting them is different to any other I have made before, in that you shape the dough into a round, cut it into eight and dip the top of each one into a mixture of sugar and cinnamon before placing on a baking sheet. I re-assembled the slices into a circle, but I don’t suppose it would make much difference if they were just placed on the baking sheet.

Anyhow, they were really bursting with bits and pieces, and they were subtle yet full of flavour at the same time, the chocolate didn’t overwhelm, it just gave a nice back taste. I spread mine with a little butter, and a heavenly breakfast it was.

I received this book this week, and it’s my first book by this author, but I’ve ordered the other two dessert books that he has available and added his soon to be published one on ice creams to my wish list!

Prawn Cocktail Bites

These were a five minutes to make nibble before lunch. I bought the little pastry cases and filled them with prawns mixed with Marie Rose sauce, and a dusting of paprika. I missed the lettuce, and should have placed a very small amount in the base of the cases before the prawns. I like prawn cocktail better, but one of my guests requested prawn cocktail a couple of hours before arriving and this was as near as I could get, with what I had in the house! A full on proper cocktail would have been too much before the chicken and pudding. They were nice but not exceptional, although they all disappeared, so maybe I am just being fussy! They were kind of cute though.

Apricot Chicken

This is my variation on Nick Stellino’s dish from Glorious Italian Cooking. It’s an American cookbook that I bought when on honeymoon a few years ago (in New Zealand), and I like to make it because it brings back memories, and of course it tastes good! It’s really easy to give people for dinner as well because the work is done the day before, bar the actual cooking.

I changed his original recipe by reducing the white wine vinegar from 1 cup to ¼ a cup. The original is good, but a bit too sharp and vinager-y for our taste, but I liked it enough to play around with it a bit.

I really love fruit and meat together, and the apricots take on a really savoury – sweet taste, the olives and capers are lovely and the juices make a thin sauce which tastes good, think vinaigrette, but less oily and with a powerful flavour. I serve it with Parsley Rice (see labels Silver Palate Cookbook), but moulded into a little plastic pot and turned out before serving (this takes about ten seconds to do!). Another thing I like about this dish is the smell it creates in your kitchen when it’s cooking, If I had a house in Italy (and I don’t!) this is how I would like the kitchen to smell.

Apricot Chicken

5 Cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ cup White Wine Vinegar
½ cup Olive Oil
1 cup Dried Apricots, halved
½ cup Green Stuffed Olives
½ cup capers
3 Bay Leaves
1 cup White Wine
¼ cup Parsley, chopped
Scant ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
2 Red Pepper, chopped
4 to 6 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
Extra Parsley for sprinkling, chopped

Mix ingredients from garlic to red pepper in a large baking dish (not tin) when mixed well add chicken and make sure it is immersed. Cover and place in fridge overnight.

Next day take out of fridge in time to loose the chill and bake in a 180 oC (350 oF) preheated oven uncovered for about 45 minutes to an hour. Check to make sure chicken is cooked. Take out of oven about 15 mins before serving as sauce tastes better that way. Sprinkle with extra parsley if you like.

Toffee, Apple and Almond Crumble

From Rachel Allen’s Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home.

This is the only part of the cooking today that I had not made before, and it was good. It was peeled and chopped apples cooked in a bit of butter and then some toffee sauce added and cooked a few minutes more before being poured into an oven proof dish and topped with a crumble mixture that had ground almonds and lemon zest added to it. The toffee sauce made a lot, so there was plenty to douse the pudding with before adding a dribble of cream.

I like the idea of toffee sauce with crumble, but I felt the lemon zest in the topping (zest of 2 lemons) was a bit invasive, so I’d leave that bit out next time. Though, apples, toffee, crumble and cream where can you go wrong really!


Kathryn said...

KJ, it all looks so good!!! The scones look divine and the chicken with apricots looks so yummy. Rachel's dessert looks really nice too. Wish I'd been at your house for Mothering Sunday!

I have never made scones! I suddenly realized this yesterday. I feel I should, forthwith!

Kathryn x

Freya and Paul said...

It all looks wonderful, particularly the chicken though!!

Mara said...

Mmmm, everything looks wonderful, but I'm particularly attracted to the chicken - and I don't like meat with sweet things! I think I will try this dish without the apricots, though, the sauce looks so yummy and that's such a professional photo, I love it.