Saturday, 15 September 2007

Nigella Express – The Project

I’ve read to the end of Nigella Express now, and have marked 129 recipes! There are 4 drinks and a couple of salad dressings but the rest are all full recipes. I was thinking can I seriously blog so much from one book? So I’ve thought and thought some more, and what I’ve come up with is to blog the 129 recipes as a kind of project, these are not ALL the recipes in the book, just the ones I’ve chosen.

I’ll still do other things, you can’t have a cook book habit like me and only cook from one book - and of course there has to be space for cakes and also the escapades of the lovely Daring Bakers too =) I hope you all think this sounds like a good idea! What do you think?

So I’ve numbered the recipes in my previous Express post and will number them from here on in as I post pictures and blog my Express ventures casually, two or three recipes at a time. I feel a bit bemused / amused with myself going down the fast food avenue. Mind you Nigella herself draws the distinction of Nigella Express being real food fast for people who love food. I begin my journey in earnest. Please come and join me =)

So here is the next instalment, Quick Chilli, Chef’s Salad and Instant Chocolate Mousse.

4. Quick Chilli brought to things to my kitchen that have never made their way in before – bought tomato and vegetable pasta sauce from a jar and spicy beans from a tin! What these did along with minced beef, chorizo sausage and spices was make a chilli in 20-30 minutes, on the table and ready to warm you up. Now don’t get me wrong I love real slow simmered chilli and chilli con carne, but when I want comfort food on a weeknight it’s this type of dish I crave or lasagne that’s the other one, oh and Shepherd’s pie… but I’m drifting away here. You get the picture a slow cooked nurturing and feeding savoury dish, but no real time to cook it in. This quick version didn’t have the depth of a long simmered one, but it did have a good flavour and a comforting and somehow less heavy feeling to it, which was really what I was asking of it. I think Hubby was pretty surprised that he got chilli for his supper, on a night when I was really just about beyond making supper of any kind! One thing I will change though is to halve the cinnamon in the spices from ½ teaspoon to a quarter as it was a little strong for me, but tinkering of this sort is what makes a recipe your own.

5. Chef’s Salad is an iceberg lettuce salad with cheese, ham, avocado and sweetcorn kernels, dressed with a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. I thought it was good, but I shaved the cheese instead of grating it and I do think this was a mistake, every forkful would have had cheese if I’d have grated it as Nigella suggested. I’m not sure about the iceberg lettuce here, I like iceberg, but I wasn’t so keen on it with the red wine dressing, I’ll do this again, and maybe try white balsamic vinegar instead. I forgot to defrost ham to cube, so I just piled up some slices deli ham and sort of cubed it but it seemed to work quite well, I guess it all tastes the same anyhow…

6. Instant Chocolate Mousse. I am a girl for chocolate mousse, and when I saw Nigella make this on TV it looked so luscious that I had to try it. Now the will I won’t I factor came about because what makes this ‘ instant’ is some marshmallows melted with the butter and chocolate. I mean marshmallows in a 70% chocolate mousse? Well it does seem to work, it seems to give the mousse more substance, and indeed it does only need a few minutes in the fridge. If it’s left in the fridge over night it’s too solid for my tastes, but left out to have the chill taken off it again and it was fine again. I’m not saying I’ll abandon all my other mousses that I like, but if someone turns up for supper unexpectedly this could easily be whipped up in 10 minutes for a deeply chocolate-y dessert. Or maybe just if the craving for a full on chocolate pudding strikes! Nigella says 4-6 servings, I would go 6-8 as it was really intense, and no-one would suspect the marshmallows!


Pat said...

Hmmmmm Wonder if I could be the one to be invited to that quick supper. LOL They all look really yummy!!! And love chocolate mousse!!!

Anonymous said...

Great project, Kelly-Jane! Go for it! I'll try to keep up when I get my copy:)


Nora B. said...

I think that's a great idea! Maybe you could number each recipe so that we can keep track how close you are getting to 129 ;-)

The marshmallow in mousse idea is interesting. I heard that you can buy some sort of liquid marshmallow in a jar in the USA. I see it a lot in quick fudge recipes.

Peabody said...

I like the idea of marshmallows in chocolate mousse.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Kelly-Jane, I think that's a fabulous idea to do such a project.
The mousse sounds fun! There should be more fast food like this that's good.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to follow your project K-J! I have cooked my 5th recipe from NE today, even two more for dinner and dessert later today! So far I'm lovin' the results :-P

Maria xx

Lydia said...

Now I'll have to get the book -- I don't think there's a single cookbook in my collection that would have 129 recipes I'd want to try!

Ilana said...

I think your NE project is a great idea! You know I'll be reading with great interest.. I like the look of the chilli. I know what you mean about needing comforting food now, rather than later.

Good luck, all looks delicious!

Kathryn said...

Hi Kelly-Jane

What a cool project! I like the new book but so many recipes I would've tried I can't because they contain ingredients (like chorizo) that are on the 'no go' area for pregnant women in the UK (bet they're allowed elsewhere).. Anyway I'm making the pork chops tonight and bought the wherewithall for the (egg free!) choc mousse but think will make that tomorrow night not tonight. Dying to see what you're making!

Kathryn x

Cynthia said...

Alright, alright, you've sold me. I'll get the book!

Casey said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Nigella--if you're bored and looking for reading material at some point you can read about the day I spent shopping and cooking with her at
Of course I had to have the British editions as soon as it appeared--with my double-markings measuring cup and a little metrics cheat sheet, I merrily tackle British recipes in my California kitchen.
So far I've made the smoked trout pate (delicious--even better the second day) and the honey maple ribs and chicken thighs--which was tasty--not quite as marvelous as some of her other chicken dishes, but sooo easy. The leftover chicken is great cold.
I'll be following your experiment with great interest.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

It's a great idea Kelly-Jane - I'm all ears and eyes. I saw her making the mousse and it seemed like a winner.

Belinda said...

I love this project, Kelly-Jane! You are putting together some fantastic meals...and that mouuse is truly beckoning me closer and closer to the computer screen! :-)

Glossy said...

Brilliant idea for a project K-J - I got the book last Thursday in Tescos and I love it.
I made the Forgotten Pudding on Friday for a dinner party on Saturday and it went down a treat - I will definitely make it again although I'd line the tin rather than just butter it next time.

Lis said...

Wow Kelly-Jane - they all look really good! And I love this idea.. can't wait to read all 129!

Excellent work, sweetie =)


veron said...

Fantastic, Kelly-Jane. That melting marshmallow in the chocolate mousse sounds really interesting.

Deborah said...

How fun!! The marshmallows sound really good in the chocolate mousse - and very different, too!

lynn said...

It all looks delicious! I'm eager to see what's next in your project.

Susan said...

An ambitious culinary adventure, Kelly-Jane, one that will be fun to follow. I see mousse has struck again with great results. : )

annauk said...

Everything looks amazing KJ! Especially the chocolate mousse, the chilli, the salad - everything!! :-)

Good luck with your project, I'm sure you'll manage admirably, you never cease to amaze me!


Sandy said...

How exciting, I'm so anxious to read about this new project. Good Luck!

Kelly-Jane said...

Pat, When will I expect you?! :)

Julie, Hope yours arrives soon...

Nora, I've seen the marshmallow fluff before as well, I should think it would work here, and the mallows are melted for the mousse.

Peabody, It really worked!

Tanna, Thank you :)

Maria, it's an exciting time with a new Nigella cookbook isn't it?!

Lydia, I think you need it for your collection ;)

Ilana, Thank you, hope your one has arrived as well...

Kathryn, I didn't know chorizo was off limits, I'm sure I ate that when I was expecting :o/ !

Cynthia, lol! Ha ha!

Hi Casey, Thanks for visiting :) I'll have a look for your article, sounds like a lot of fun!

Amanda, More coming...

Belinda, the mousse was so glossy, must have been the marshmallows :)

Glossy, I have the forgotten pudding on my list, it's so unusal, and looks fab of course!

Lis, I must be crazy! LOL!!

Veron, Thank you :)

Deborah, you are right it was a fun pudding!

Lynn, Thank you.

Susan, I'm stepping away from mousse for a little while, well until it calls me back again...

Anna, Thank you. You are making lots of lovey things too :)

Sandy, It'll be like a preview!

Thank you all for your words of encouragement, it means a lot.


Elle said...

Your photo of the mousse is spectacular!

Mahek said...

I discovered your blog today and glad i did, i was checking out the recipes of Nigella express on the net when i came across your blog.
Here in India they have started Nigella express just a couple of days back and i just wanted to check out the recipes (i love Nigella ) I have been Nigella feast for quite some time now.
I like you efforts and enthusiasm to try new dishes
keep up the good work