Sunday 21 December 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Wasn't Nigella great in her new Christmas Kitchen programmes last week? Well, I thought she was. Jamie (oh the gravy!) and the Hairy Bikers (oh the florentines!) were great too. I also very much enjoyed Rachel Allen's Christmas Bake - two Christmas specials.

I have been asked by a number of readers what I cook of Nigella's on Christmas Day. Well, I do her maple roast parsnips, brussel sprouts with marsala and chestnuts, sausages in bacon and her Mother's bread sauce (Feast and Nigella Christmas). Also her brandy butter with the ground almonds in it, and this year the Ultimate Christmas Pudding from Nigella Christmas as well. On Christmas Eve I plan to do the Steamed Chocolate Pudding with chocolate sauce from the Christmas Day part in the middle of Nigella Chrsitmas.
I do also cook turkey, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes and other vegetables and stuffing, but from my notebook.

Well it's nearly upon us once more and whatever you all cook readers I hope all goes well in and out of the kitchen, and that you have a Happy, Peaceful Christmas time.


Sunday 14 December 2008

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

It’s so busy just now, my schedule is jam packed. It feels like there is no breathing space. Mind you schedule is maybe a bit overstated, I’m running round like a wild thing trying so hard to pack in more than I’ve really got time for! Festive moan over, I hope you all understand =)
Here is a brief post on some of my latest cooking from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson.

Cranberry mincemeat
This is a mincemeat without suet, the first of it’s type I’ve tried, and the smell in the kitchen, no the whole house when cooking it it so christmassy. It tastes lovely too – not to mention the amazing colour. I’ve stashed mine to make mince pies next week.

Ultimate Christmas Pudding
This is the pudding in the making, will post about it after Christmas Day. Nigella describes it a light, and there are no nuts in it, so I think it will be.

Christmas Coleslaw
Nigella suggests this to go with a chilli, and I will try the chilli, but the coleslaw fitted in better with my time at the moment. My goodness was it good! I made a big bowl and hubby and I ate the lot! It was quite compulsive!

Gleaming Maple Cheesecake
A lovely cheesecake, you must douse liberally with maple syrup to eat, mmmm.

Loaded Skins
This one I’ve made loads of times since I got Nigella Christmas. I used to do stuffed baked potatoes all the time, and I stopped and then forgot about them. What a rediscovery! I like them best without the bacon, but if you would like the whole schbang go for the crispy rashers too.

Christmas Nuts
I have long been a fan of the bar nuts in Nigella Bites, these are a very worthy Christmas rendition, really really good! I’ve tried them on (obviously people without any nut allergies!) youngsters, oldsters and lots in between – everyone likes them!

My pretty Reindeer bowl
If you like Gisela Graham crockery, the platter used by Nigella on the front of Nigella Christmas and also the cake stand that she uses for her fir tree cake can be found at Sally’s Saucepans, I bought mine a little while ago, and there are more like me as at the time of writing they are out of stock, but if you want then do keep checking for more stock. Really reasonably priced too. I bought a number of Gisela Graham Christmas decorations this year to give as presents from Sally's Saucepans, and they are really fabulous!

Saturday 29 November 2008

More Nigella

Here is the next instalment of my cooking from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson. Now that Christmas is much nearner, indeed December is nearly here, reading Nigella Christmas is such a joy, not just for the recipes either, the pictures too, of both food and serving / kitchen bits and pieces. I’ve bought a few new bits of Christmas crockery recently, and will cover them all between now and Christmas, here are the first couple though.

Nigella’s Christmas mixing bowls in melamine. I wasn’t sure about the melamine reading about it online, but it’s actually every bit as good as it’s pottery counterparts. I imagined the melamine would be light, but it’s not, it’s substantial and also has a rubber (?) bit on the base to make them non-slip on a kitchen worktop. They are great in the different colours in each set as well.

Next is a Maxwell Williams round platter, a local kitchen shop to me had these on sale for half price, so it was only £8.oo – bargain I thought!
De Luxe Macaroni
Food wise I’ve made a hodge-pode assortment of recipes! Starting off with De Luxe Macaroni, I made a bit of a booboo with this one, because I halved the recipe, but left the cheddar at the full amount. I obviously didn’t plan this but we loved how cheesy it was with the (in effect) extra cheese and will leave it as such next time. If you are worried about the evaporated milk in the recipe don’t be, my hubby doesn’t like evap milk, but he had thirds!

Hot Scnocolate
Hot scnocolate next, very yummy and I made this on a day last weekend when we had snow, and it was delicious, the peppermint schnapps was pretty subtle in the drink, not very boozy tasting, but nicely minty.

Tiramisu Layer Cake next, a real party piece, creamy, chocolate-y and a bit of coffee, but it wasn’t overpowering - a good balance we thought. Next time I’ll decorate it with the chocolate coffee beans on top.
Apple and Onion Gravy
I did roast pork last weekend, and tried ont Nigella’s apple and onion gravy to go with it, she describes it as a mixture between sauce and gravy, very good it was too. I reheated the leftover sauce to go with some butchers sausages – fabulous!

Pecan Sprouts, I make Christmas Sprouts from Feast as my regular Christmas Day ones, and I love them so much. The pecan sprouts were lovely too, although I did decrease the butter a bit!

Gingerbread, here spread with some butter, I’ve made this one before as Christmas gingerbread cupcakes, and it’s as good as ever.

This morning I made the cranberry mincemeat (more on this next time) - our house smells so devine and Christmassy. Now time for some present wrapping…

Monday 17 November 2008

More Nigella Christmas

Girdlebuster Pie
Time for a bit more Nigella Christmas. Now that the shops area bit more Christmassy, I’m happy if a little frazzled by the thought of how much I have to do between now and then! My cards are half written though, and I’ve found it’s a lot easier to write them in the morning when the sun is shining through the window than at night when the curtains are drawn and it’s a cold night.
Jewelled Couscous
For any non regular readers by Nigella Christmas I mean the book by Nigella Lawson out last month. I have been consumed by the need to make her GirdleBuster Pie since I saw a picture of it. It is so lovely I changed the recipe slightly by making the crust and freezing it with the ice cream, vanilla in our case. Then sliced it and served the toffee sauce with bourbon in it (a taste sensation for sure) in a jug, this was mainly because I wanted to be able to give little people sauce without alcohol in it as well. I was really quite worried that I might not be able to cut it smoothly, indeed I was worried about even getting it out of the dish, but it was fine, I had no need to worry about it. It’s bonus is it lives in the freezer and can be whipped out at any time when a gorgeous pudding is required.
Party Chicken
Party Poussins with jewelled couscous and a butternut squash side. I made this with skinless chicken breasts, which is not what Nigella suggested, I’d use thighs next time. Spiced roast squash is a must make, I kept snaffling bits - it is butternut squash at its most spectacular, well in my opinion anyhow. The recipe is in the text introduction for the party poussins.
Spiced Roast Squash
If anything would make life at this time of year easier it’s these fabulous Rocky Road bars, my goodness they are good, and with the amaretti in place of the more regular plain biscuits they are knockout. I’ve been trying them out on friends to gauge reactions, and they go down really well, people tend to think there is booze in them, but it’s just the amaretti biscuits, you must give them a go!

Notes: Nigella used 250g dark chocolate and 150g milk chocolate, plus mini marshmallows, I really don’t like mini marshmallows, so even though it is a bit tiresome, I think it’s worth buying the big ones and snipping them into 4 to replicate the mini ones, but with a bit more taste.

Christmas Rocky Road
Slightly adapted from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson 2008.
175g soft unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
4 tablespoons golden syrup
200g amaretti biscotti (the hard ones), crushed into crumbs and lumps
125g marshmallows, large pink and white ones, scissored into 4 each
150g glace cherries
150g brazil nuts
2 teaspoons icing sugar, to dust (optional)
(1)Heat the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat, then cool a little
(2)To the melted chocolate mixture add the biscuit crumbs, marshmallows, glace cherries and brazil nuts, fold in well to coat everything.
(3)Tip the mixture into a 13 x 9"baking tin and smooth the top the best you can with a spatula.
Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.
(4) To serve, cut into 24 bars and dust with icing sugar and edible glitter for the festive factor.

Monday 10 November 2008

Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemon

Last week there was such a ripple of sadness around many of my online forum friends when one of us passed away. I felt shocked and heavy hearted when I heard of Pistachio's passing. It feels so wrong, and sad that we won’t again see her name lit up in the users online box, hear her words, see her cooking on her blog from her Spanish kitchen. How dreadful it must be for her husband.

The speed of it is so hard, a few days between hope of the Doctors finding out what was wrong, and how to make it better…to the hard reality of not coming home from hospital and eventual death. When this is condensed into such a few precious days, it brings real shock and a feeling of unreality to those who grieve.

A number of us are making something as an In Memory Of sort of foodie celebration of the wonderful person Pistachio was, and still is wherever she is now.

I have been meaning to make this recipe for more than two years (!) and did indeed make my preserved lemons then, and the have been slowly maturing in a dark cupboard since. Pistachio was the person in our foodie group that found Crazy Waters Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry, and she of course passed on such a good find. I can remember seeing a picture of Pi’s dish of Moroccan chicken with spices from the book, and it was really spectacular, I made it soon after and it was so different and sort of exotic, I loved it.
In the making
Not long after Pi said this dish was also lovely as well, and it is. The melting onions and preserved lemons give the dish such a great flavour, the cooked preserved lemons tasting much better in the dish than they do raw! Diana Henry says she craves this dish and I can see why, it has a taste all its own. I’ve given the recipe below as it should be, but I reduced the garlic by half and the cayenne down to 1/8 of a teaspoon. I served it with Ina Garten’s couscous with pine nuts and currants through it, to give a sweet and crunchy element.

God bless you Pi wherever you are and thank you for your foodie legacy =) xx
With couscous
Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemon
From Diana Henry’s Crazy Water Pickled Lemons

Serves 4

4 Chicken Breast joints, skin on and partly boned
30ml (2 Tbs) Olive Oil
3 Onions, halved and sliced into half-moons
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground Turmeric
225ml (8fl.oz) Chicken Stock
2.5ml (½ tsp) Saffron Threads
85g (3oz) Green Olives
for the marinade:
½ Preserved Lemon
6 Garlic Cloves, crushed
5ml (1 tsp) ground Ginger
2.5ml (½ tsp) each of ground Cumin, Paprika and Cayenne
60ml (4Tbl) Olive Oil
30ml (2Tbl) Lemon Oil (from the preserved lemons)
Salt and Pepper

to serve:A good handful of flat-leaf parsley or coriander, roughly chopped
(1) For the marinade, remove the flesh from the inside of the lemon and chop it up, retaining the outer rind to use in the sauce. Mix the flesh with all the other marinade ingredientsRub the marinade all over the chicken, spooning some marinade just under the skin if you can. Cover and leave in fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Turn the joints every so often.

(2) Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a shallow, ovenproof pan. Add the chicken and quickly cook the outside until nice and golden. Put the chicken aside.In the same pan, start to cook the onions. When they are softening and beginning to turn translucent, add the turmeric and continue to cook stirring, for another minute. Bring the stock or water up to the boil and dissolve the saffron in it. Add this to the pan, along with the chicken pieces and any juices that have come out of them. It will look as if you don’t have much liquid, but this is all it needs – the chicken will continue to get nice and golden on top while the sauce makes itself underneath.Cook in an oven, preheated to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas mark 4, for 30 minutes.

(3) Cut the lemon rind into fine strips and add it to the dish with the olives 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. (You’ll need to rinse the olives if they are in brine, but if they’re in olive oil just drain them.) Scatter with parsley or coriander, and serve with rice, couscous or flatbread.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Nigella Christmas

Christmas Puddini Bonbons
It was with much excitement that I received Nigella Christmas (by Nigella Lawson) last month! How lucky we are to get a new Nigella book two years in a row. It’s a bigger book in format than her others, very glossy and so many pictures all the way through. There are some recipes that have appeared in print before, but I’m ok with this as I know what I cook on Christmas Day is more or less the same every year; it’s all the surrounding satellite cooking and entertaining that changes for me. Having said that though there are a lot of new ones as well, my favourite chapter is Come On Over, I’d like to cook the whole chapter =)

There are many recipes I’d like to try, and I have made a start, my question for myself in relation to the blog was ‘Would I make a ‘project’ of it?’ I’ve decided to make a mini project of it, much the same as the Nigella Express project from last year, but on a smaller scale in the run up to Christmas itself. Same format as last time, many pictures with the just a few recipes.

Some new purchases have been made after seeing Nigella Christmas: some pretty pink pots (the ones that the chocolate chestnut pots are pictured served in in the book, a couple of liqueurs, lychee and peppermint schnapps, PX sherry and an amazing cake tin, which is very pretty in itself.
Parsley-ed Fish Gratin
My first make wasn’t sweet – I could hardly believe it myself! I made the Parsley-ed Fish Gratin, which I changed only a bit by using half the parsley, this wasn’t a conscious decision, I just didn’t buy enough! It was lovely, the crispy potatoes on top were gorgeous too. I also used 50/50 smoked and unsmoked fish.
Chocolate Chestnut Pots
Next were Chocolate Chestnut Pots, I made these before buying the pink pots, but they are lovely, extremely rich in taste due to the sweetened chestnut puree.
Christmas Puddini Bonbons
Christmas Puddini Bonbons, from the minute I saw these in the book, I knew I had to make them, they are just so cute. Well, this coupled with the fact I have a real liking for Thorntons chocolates shaped like Christmas puddings. They were everything I hoped they’d be, and just on or two is a real little feast in itself, mmmm. I bought the Pedro Ximenez sherry for this, and it’s a gorgeous drink, I reckon you’d like it if you like sherry, marsala, madeira or any of the sweet dessert wines. It has an incredible taste of raisins. I found the mixture quite fiddly to roll into, extremely sticky (!) but definitely worth the effort.

Monday 27 October 2008

Swedish Apple Pudding with an Amazing Maple Syrup Cream

This weeks book is one I’ve not visited before on my blog – Cook Simple effortless cooking every day by Diana Henry. I’m a fan of Diana and her writing, she has style with her recipes, they are sometimes a little unusual and usually delicious. I don’t always use quite as much olive oil in some of the recipes, but that is something I often do with other writers as well. I very much looked forward to this new book last year when it came out, and it’s a good book, if a bit of a naff title, in my opinion anyhow – the book is so much better than it’s title. I can see why it was chosen, as this is the busy persons route to good cooking with a minimum of time at the stove; by that I mean the actual preparation as opposed to the cooking in the oven say, or marinating time.
Chicken and Chorizo in Rioja
I’ve cooked a number of recipes from this book so far: Pacific Lime Chicken (really, really good – in fact I’ve cooked it several times, it doesn’t take a good picture though, so no picture here), Chicken and Chorizo in Rioja (just my thing), Pomegranate and Honey Glazed Chops with Tzataki, Honey Mustard Sausages (yum!), Warm Potatoes with Beans and Avocado, Warm Potatoes with Pesto and Green Beans, Sicilian Baked Stuffed Peppers, Flagolet Beans with Garlic and Parsley, Apple Maple and Ginger Fool, which again I’ve made a few times, although I left out the ginger for the little people eating it.
Sicilian Baked Stuffed Peppers
My most recent make was Johanna’s Swedish Apple Pie, which I served with Diana’s Maple Cream. The pudding is a few minutes work and a while in the oven, the result is like nothing I’ve made before. To paraphrase Diana, it’s not sponge, crumble of tart. The best I could describe it is to say it’s like warm cooked apples with a sort of shortbread-ish topping, with the cream it was lovely. Actually the cream was a revelation, such a good thing to have up your sleeve, and the maple syrup taste happily doesn’t lessen with passing spoonfuls. Even of you don’t try the pudding, do try the cream with something apple-y, even just stewed apples it’s truly devine!

My notes are that I used pink lady apples, and I would say it would serve 4 to 6, I didn’t bother with the icing sugar either, although it would have looked pretty. I used a 8 to 9 inch pyrex pie dish. For the cream I used 4 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Watch the almonds on top towards the end, or they will blacken, I caught mine just about in the nick of time!

Johanna’s Swedish Apple Pie
From Cook Simple by Diana Henry 2007
Serves 8
125g butter, plus a litle for greasing
5 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky slices
150g caster sugar
200g plain flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
45g flaked almonds
icing sugar to dust, optional
Grease your dish. Lay the prepared apples in the dish. Mix the sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Melt the butter and stir into the flour mixture, spoon over the apples then scatter over the flaked almonds.
Bake at 200oC for 30 minutes, or until cooked. Let the pudding cool a little when it comes out of the oven.

Maple Cream
300ml Double Cream
4-5 tablespoons maple syrup
squeeze lemon juice
Beat together in a bowl until whipped to your liking.

Sunday 19 October 2008

Little Love-Bites of Fig, Almond and Honey

A couple of months ago a new healthy eating type of book I’d pre-ordered arrived – Fabulous Food Sexy Recipes for Healthy Living by Sophie Michell. It’s a well designed book, very girly with many pictures and lots of lovely lighter recipes, not necessarily low fat or low carb although some are either or, but just generally lighter all round, a little less of the fattening bits. I’ll probably return to this book in January. This is the third book Sophie has written, and her second as sole author, her previous one being Irresistible! and co-authored Cook Yourself Thin, both of which I’ve used a good bit.
I am actually a little affronted to say that this is the only recipe I’ve made so far – but in my defence I have many on my list! One of my friends who bought it also made a pudding first! I did debate if or not I’d post this recipe, because it more stirring than baking, but they were just so good – I had to share, and how often do you come across a recipe title so sweet?
Sophie does say not to kid yourself that baking is actually health food! but these are little bites and as long as you don’t eat more than one or two, I’m sure they’d fit in with a good balanced eating style (this is just my opinion I hasten to add). The base is a biscuit-y one mixed with honey and figs, the topping is chocolate mixed with honey, which gives it a delightful almost fudge like texture, anyhow, they were very good! My notes: I cut them into 35 squares. If you keep them in the fridge they will be less crumbly than if kept at room temperature, but they are nice either way.

Little Love-Bites of Fig, Almond and Honey
From Fabulous Food Sexy Recipes for Healthy Living by Sophie Michell 2008.

Makes 35 or 70 bites
250g digestive biscuits, reduced fat kind
100g whole almonds
150g fried figs, de-stalked
50g ground almonds
5 table spoons runny honey
125g butter
100g dark chocolate

(1) Line a large tray bake tin, 13 x 9" with baking parchment, set aside. Crush the biscuits into crumbs, chop the almonds and dried de-stalked figs into small (5mm as a guide) chunks. Mix the crumbs, almonds, frigs and ground almonds in a bowl.
(2) Melt the butter with 3 tablespoons of honey in a small pan, then stir this melted mixture into the crumb mixture. Tip into the prepared tin and level the top the best you can. Place in the fridge to set.
(3) When set melt the chocolate and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey very gently, stirring until smooth, spread or drizzle over the now set base and leave to set. Cut into 35 small or 70 tiny squares.

Sunday 12 October 2008


Hello to everyone – it’s good to be back blogging once more.

The weather has all changed now, and it’s all Autumn colours and cooler breezes, time for scarves, gloves and hats – and some cold weather cooking at home. It’s also the season of new cookbooks, a couple of the stars for me are Nigella Christmas and Rachel Allen’s Bake. Expect to see more about Nigella Christmas soon!
First though I’m going to tell you about a cake that I found in Rachel Allen’s Bake, her latest book published a couple of weeks ago. It a cosy baking book with many recipes for all manner of baked goods – even some savoury suppers in one chapter.
I’ve made a few recipes so far and more of some of them later on; the one I’m focusing on here is her Carrot and Pecan cake, there is also a carrot cake recipe in the book, but this one is made with wholemeal flour. It’s a bit denser than regular carrot cake, but this is a positive comment because it’s not heavy, just tighter crumbed and very moist to boot. It’s paired with a classic cream cheese icing, and I also used some marzipan carrots that I was given by a friend (thank you again!), which finish off this cake perfectly. This is a slightly spicier cake and very good it is too.
Here is the recipe, which I have adapted only a little by reducing the salt from ½ to ¼ teaspoon and added the marzipan carrots on top. Also I cut it into 12 larger squares rather than 16 smaller, as I served it as a lunch time pudding.
Carrot and Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Slightly adapted from Bake by Rachel Allen 2008
Makes 12 to 16 squares
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
50g raisins
150ml sunflower oil
150g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g finely grated carrots
50g chopped pecans
(1)Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350 oF of Gas Mark 4. Butter the sides of an 8" / 20cm square tin, and line with greaseproof paper.
(2) Sift the flour into a bowl then add the salt, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger and raisins, stir together to mix very well.
(3) Whisk the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in another bowl, then add the carrots and pecans. Add this mix to the dry ingredients and mix well, pour into the tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake is cooked. Let the cake get cold before icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
25g butter, softened
75g cream cheese, from the fridge
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
75g icing sugar, sifted
(1) Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together, then gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Sunday 10 August 2008


I'm just posting this little note to let you know that I'm taking a break from blogging for a month or two. I know I've worried when friends blogs have been static for a few weeks. Hope to be back in October.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Summer and Autumn when it comes.

Best Wishes KJxx

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream – July 2008 Daring Baker

I used some of the leftover praline to decorate the plate
It’s that time of month again - Daring Baker time. This month sees a challenge set by the lovely Chris of Melle Cote. It’s a mutli layered cake with seven different parts, making up the one big gateau. It hails from Great Cakes by Carol Walter, a book full of, well great cakes!
The cakes
The various elements of the hazelnut gateau were a Filbert Genoise – light and airy hazelnut sponge, a Sugar Syrup for soaking the sponge, Praline Buttercream for which you needed to combine a Swiss Buttercream and a Praline Paste, finally there was an Apricot Glaze and a Ganache Glaze to finish it all off.

Hazelnuts and caramel, ready to be ground
I usually multi task quite efficiently, but this time blips were coming at me think and fast. I take full responsibility, I guess it’s possible my brain might just be in overload currently.

The cake in it's dinner jacket of chocolate
First there was the sugar syrup, which I didn’t read correctly and instead of ¼ cup of sugar and 1 cup of water I used 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup water. It was close to being soft ball in consistency, and I melted my favourite plastic measuring spoon. I would add that I moulded it back the best I could, seeing as it was so floppy, and it’s worked a bit, but it will never be quite the same again, what a silly goose I am. Never mind I made a new batch with the correct measurements. Next I layered the cakes with the praline buttercream and when I got to the top realise that the sugar syrup with rum added was still in the fridge. I remedied it the best I could by placing the cake on a serving stand with a lip and dousing the top then placing spoonfulls of the syrup on the stand and tilting it until the syrup disappeared into the sponge. The third and final mishap was when I was piping the buttercream onto the top of the cake, when my piping bag burst on top of the shiny chocolate! I thought well the top won’t be quite what it was but I get a plastic food bag and use that, it burst too, so I just blobbed on little dollops and also round the base of the cake. When I cleaned the nozzle I found a bit a praline the bad been to big, blocked to nozzle and had therefore made the bag burst.
I’m actually feeling quite lucky that it turned out even halfway decent, I guess the moral of this story is don’t attempt too much if you are overloaded already! It was fun though, and the cake was good, even better with some double cream on the side.
A really messy cake! I just couldn't recover the spodged on top!!
Thanks Chris for a great challenge. Visit the Daring Baker Blogroll to see some more great filbert cakes.

Thursday 10 July 2008

Fantastico Modern Italian Food

This book I’m posting about today was published last year, but I only bought it a few weeks ago, and have been cooking steadily from it since.
Italian Shepherd’s Pie
Fantastico Modern Italian Food by Gino D’Acampo, is just what it’s title says, Gino’s mantra seems to be ‘minimum effort, maximum satisfaction’ and it does seem to be very fitting, but when the recipes are fast the ingredients have to be top notch. This is fine by me searching out good food is one of a food lovers joys, and searching for them in Italian delicatessens is right up my street, but I digress.
Apple and Pine Nut Cake with Honey-Marscapone
I’ve cooked five of Gino’s recipes and here they are three mains and two puddings. Savoury first, the first was a recipe I saw him cook on TV, when he was a guest chef on Market Kitchen, he made Italian Shepherd’s Pie, which is a mince and tomato basil flavoured base topped with cheesy sweet potato mash and sprinkled with more Parmesan to finish. Really delicious.
Pasta with Ham and Mushrooms in Cream
It led me onto Pasta with Ham and Mushrooms in Cream, and then Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole which was so very good.
Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole
The two sweet dishes were his Tiramisu and an Apple and Pine Nut Cake with Honey-Marscapone. Both were lovely, the Tiramisu was flavoured with Amaretto,
light and creamy, mmm. The cake was very unusual and a recipe given to Gino by his Mother-In-Law, which he left unchanged out of respect to her, my little one was wild for the mascarpone cream in particular, we liked it all =)
He has a new book out this year which I’ve pre-ordered on the basis of this one, looking forward to it already.
Click on these links for the recipes for Tiramisu, Italian Shepherd’s Pie , Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole