Wednesday 14 October 2009


When Feast by Nigella Lawson was published a few years ago, I was absolutely besotted by it, absolutely loved it, obsessed was probably nearer the mark. Yet when you find a new cookbook that delivers in such a fabulous way – can you blame me? I know from some of the foodie forums I belong to that I’m in no way alone here, and that is a bit of a relief I can tell you!

Joking aside Feast is my very favourite Nigella book to date. Don’t get me wrong I love all the others too, but Feast is my sort of comfort book, a go to book, and the Christmas chapter makes up a good bit of my Christmas repertoire (although many are now in Nigella Christmas, as they should be, too). I’ve cooked more recipes from Feast than any of the others I own, a good 130+ .

Maybe you are thinking why is there not more on my blog about it? Well, my obsession came to an end just before I began blogging, and I sort of cooked myself out of it. However, I’m very happy to report that it’s back in my reading and cooking pile and, because I’ve cooked many of the recipes I’m making before, it’s like greeting old friends, maybe not seen for some time, but so good to say hello to and meet again.

I bought Feast the DVD from Ebay a while ago. It’s from the TV series done for the US, and our all region DVD player happily plays it. I was watching the curry episode, and was inspired to cook the savoury dishes that I’ve cooked before, but not recently or together for that matter, as Nigella did them. Lovely spread of Indian food. A real treat, and the work load was spread out a bit, so it wasn’t to manic in the kitchen at the last minute either.

Here is a selection of the most recent of my cooking from Feast, with a new start to add to my recipe collection – Chocohotopots, I think of them of pot bound hot brownies, if ever you are in need of a quick chocolate fix, this is it! I am a chocoholic (and I don’t use that term lightly, it’s an extremely double edged sword), so it’s no surprise I like them, little one likes them, and even my Hubby, who doesn’t have a big thing for chocolate, thought they were the business. They only take 5 to 10 minutes to go in the oven too, such sweet chocolate-y reward for so little time and energy.

St Tropez Chicken
Wine-y, fragrant, a little sweet, and really delicious. Excellent with the smashed potato gratin and peas from the book. The first savoury dish I made from Feast, and still on I make for my family.

Petit Pois a La Francaise
This is a beautiful recipe, it tastes wonderful – the pea taken to a new gastronomic height! Again, something I’ve cooked often.

Nursery Fish Pie
Just what it says it is, a no frills comforting fish pie. My little one liked it too.

Chocolate Rice Pudding
Now, it’s not often I have a Nigella bomb recipe, but this was one for us, it wasn’t creamy enough or sweet enough for us. It could be tweaked a bit, but Hubby declared chocolate rice pudding as just wrong, so I’ll not play about with this one for them. I’ve eaten chocolate rice pudding in a restaurant on cold December lunch time after a morning Christmas shopping, and I did like it. If you do too I’d add more sugar and substitute some for the milk for double / heavy cream. Will stick with the devine chocohotopots for my lot though.

Mugali Chicken, Rice Pilaff and Muttar Paneer
I’ve made this a few times, I did it initially with chicken breasts, and they didn’t play anything like as well as the skinless, boneless thighs that Nigella suggests. It’s a really gorgeous curry, a teeny bit of fire from some chilli flakes, but other than that just glorious aromatic spices, and creamy / yoghurt sauce. Good as is, or if you like loads of sauce cut the chicken down to 1kg, both are good. You make it the day before too, so perfect for giving to friends too.
Rice pilaff is aromatic and softly satisfying rice, just what a curry feast needs.
Muttar paneer
I like this one, with or without the paneer. I’ve only made this one a couple of times, but frying the paneer is a dangerous activity. Both times I’ve had hot fat sparked onto my hands, I’m not willing to suffer that kind of pain for some fried cheese, so next time I’ll just to the peas on their own, Hubby thinks the paneer is a bit too like tofu for his liking =)

White chocolate, cranberry and pecan cookies
Oooh the beloved cookies, a lovely recipe, to cheer up, sweeten up and comfort, yum.

Raspberry Oatmeal Swirls
I make these for breakfast for us a few times each year. They are really lovely. Little one likes to mix all the layers together to make a pale pink glassful. They are almost like eating a pudding for breakfast, but my sweet tooth and I are very happy with this!

Thursday 1 October 2009

Sweet & Simple Bakes October 2009 St Clement’s Drizzle Cake

When I checked to see this months bake I was pleased to see the St Clement’s Drizzle cake – one I have made so many times since I found the recipe earlier in the year. It is just so good. Buttery, fruity with the lemon and orange, and so moist and delicious.
It’s (food writer Jo Pratt’s) a spin on the more usual lemon drizzle cake, made with just lemon juice and zest. St Clement’s is a mixture of orange and lemon, there is a drink of the same name here in the UK.
It’s an easy cake, just creaming , zesting and mixing. I use my stand mixer as it takes about a tenth of the time it would take me to cream butter really well; but if I didn’t have the machinery I’d do it by hand held mixer or by hand. It’d be such a shame to miss out on this great cake. Then for the sweet and crunchy topping a little reduction of orange and lemon juice mixed with sugar to drizzle over the top. The hardenst bit about this cake is waiting for it to cool!
It’s my turn to be a hostess for a group I’m a member of later this year – and this is one of the sweet things I’m making. Do give it a go, you’ll find the recipe here.

Many thanks as usual to Maria and Rosie for hosting and choosing this lovely cake. Visit the Sweet & Simple site to see more drizzle cakes from the 2nd of October.