Saturday 29 December 2012

Second Helpings from Nigellissima

Cappuccino Pavlova

It’s been a while now since I did my first post about Nigellissima Instant Italian Inspiration by Nigella Lawson 2012, but I’ve been cooking steadily from it so here is a second helping.

I was so happy last month when a friend who was going to one of Nigella's book signings offered to get a signed one for me. Thanks again, you know who you are!

Beef Pizzaiola
I made this one Sunday night for hubby and myself, it’s easy and delicious. Beef with pizza style sauce.

Farro Risotto with Mushrooms
Farro is worth picking up if you see some, it has a nutty deeply savoury taste that I just loved. This was my first time cooking farro, but not the last. Maybe in time it will become more easily available.

Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
A really fast weeknight supper this one, I’ve made this a good few times now, but always with chicken stock instead of water.

Iced Berries with Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce
Boozey, creamy and not overly sweet, very pretty too.

Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto
What a delightful combination this is, a special way with green beans.

Cappuccino Pavlova
This was a good pavlova, a bit different with the coffee and no fruit. I used grated chocolate instead of cocoa powder for the top. I used decaf, and we thought it worked well.

Romanesco with Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon and Peccorrino
Another new edible here for me, I happened upon romanesco at a deli not so far from me, and I’m so glad I bought some. It seems to take the best parts of broccoli and cauliflower together and it’s a great vegetable. Of course it’s stunning good looks helps too! Another lovely veggie dish from Nigella.

Chocolate Nougat Cookies
Now, Nigella suggests to use nougat or white chocolate chips for the add-ins to these chocolate cookies. I couldn’t decide, so used half of each. These were yummy. The nougat goes crispy.

Chocolate Salame
I like refrigerator cakes, and also chocolate salamis. I’ve tried a number of chocolate salami recipes, but this one is easily the nicest I’ve made. It positively melts in the mouth with a warm cup of coffee. On the Nigellissima Christmas Special the bit at the end shows Nigella with a fit of the giggles when making this, there is something comical about shaping it, I was giggling too! This one has raw eggs in it, so do be aware of that.

Italian Christmas Pudding Cake
This one is like a trifle in cake form. I had the Tuaca (plus Marsala) suggested for the recipe, and a lovely liqueur it is too. I didn’t use the Italian breads suggested, as they are both yeasted (I’m allergic to yeast) so used a light vanilla cake instead. I forgot to remove some of the creamy mixture for the top layer before folding in the bits and pieces (duh!), so sprinkled the top with chocolate flakes instead of more chocolate chips. Also I had a couple of candied chestnuts left so sprinkled them over as well.

Well this is my last post for 2012, this year has had many ups and downs for so many people, me included, so here’s to an even better 2013. Happy New Year.

Next Up: Pig Cooking with a Passion For Pork by Johnnie Mountain

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Gifts Ideas 2012

Now, I did intend to do more than one post of Christmas gift ideas, but alas between one thing and another, my little blog has been a bit neglected recently. Here, as promised though, are some of my favourites from the new books out this year, with a few non book bits thrown in for good measure. Now I have cooked from a few of these, but they will get their turn with recipe reviews in my regular post format at another time. This is just a brief run through of ideas for you.
Limoncello and Linenwater
The new book from Tessa Kiros. Italian food is the topic of this one, though it’s not the same as her previous Italian one Twelve. I’m totally charmed by this book, it’s in a similar style to Falling Cloudberries.
The third book from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The gentlemen are both from Jerusalem, and in this book they explore the amazing food that can be eaten there, and now here as well with this lovely book.
A Culinary Adventure Marque
By Mark Best and Pasi Petanen. This is one for the budding chef in your life! Contains a lot of ingredients that will take a bit of effort sourcing, but if Heston Blummenthal’s restaurant food is your aspiration this one if worth a look.
Kitchen Diaries 2
The second volume from Nigel Slater. I do like Nigel, and this one is just as inspiring as the first. Great photography too. Very real and do-able.
The world in Your Kitchen Calendar 2013, is illustrated really well by Johnathan Williams, each month sees a different international vegetarian recipe as well as a related picture from Johnathan.

Pink Heart Plates and Mugs
Anyone who reads my blog regularly, or even just looks at the pictures will know I am a fan of Sophie Conran’s range for Portmeirion. This year they have brought out some of the items from the range in a beautiful baby pink. Love!!

A Book for Cooks 101 Classic Cookbooks
By Leslie Geddes-Brown. Not so much a recipe book exactly, but a book covering, as the title says, 101 classic cookbooks as selected by the author. Each book is described and there is a picture of the cover followed by some of the pages from each book. Definitely worth a look if you have any interest at all in collecting cookbooks.
Rachel Allen’s new book this year is Cake, to my mind it is a companion book to her previous Bake. Lots and lots of cakes – big, little, party, pudding….yum!
Little Paris Kitchen
This one from Rachel Koo accompanied the series earlier this year, and it’s a lovely book particularly if you are a Francophile like me!
My Italian Kitchen
By Victoy Scerri. Another favourite Italian one, full of gorgeous recipes, it has a coffee table quality to it, but the food all looks make-able in a home kitchen.
Gorgeous Jug
Another one I love is this jug from the Portmeirion Christmas Wish range, mine is just waiting it’s turn to be filled with some pretty flowers for Christmas.

If you fancy a nutty nibble that you haven’t made (or aren’t inclined to make) yourself then these are gorgeous! Salted Caramelised Nuts and Balsamic Cashews, totally different, but both delicious.

La Tartine Gourmande Recipes for an Inspired Life
I beautifully photographed book, from a lady who loves food – Beatrice Peltre. The book has a lot of gluten free recipes, but do note that the ingredients for some of these are easier to source in the U.S. and Canada. Even so, I love this book
Celebrate A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends
Pippa Middleton has entered the book world with this, her first book. I would have to admit buying it out of curiosity, but it is lovely, a cookbook and party ideas book, with some hand-made craft projects as well.
Annie Bell’s Baking Bible
A really lovely must have book, I would have loved to have been given this one on Christmas Day! A must have for a keen baker.
I’m a girl for a candle, and this year we are spoilt for choice with so many fabulous fragrances. I like them all and don’t think I could single out one as a favourite.
Cherry Deluxe
I couldn’t go without a little stocking filler of chocolate, I adore these Cherry Deluxe chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. Sweet chocolate, cherry and a little Amaretto. #swoon#!

So all that remains for me to say is to wish everyone a Peaceful and Happy Christmas.
Next up: Second Helpings of Nigellissima