Summer pea soup with smoked trout salad

19 07 2012

Possibly a bit odd to be posting this in July, when chilled soup is the last thing on your mind. This was the start of a menu for a very hot day in January (the Architect’s birthday, no less). I’m very much a creature of my immediate context – it’s hard for me to imagine it being hot when I’m shivering here in thermals and jumpers and drinking hot tea like it’s going out of style. So it’s good to remember that this too will pass, and the hot days will come again.

So. A nice chilled summer pea soup. Yum.

Green

This was a little more stuffing about than the tomato and harissa soup. It’s cooked, cooled, blended and then chilled. It called for a cup of cream, which seemed excessive, so I went instead for half a cup of cream and then an extra teaspoon to garnish.

It was pretty tasty. Body from a sneaky potato, and the paprika gave it a nice smoky flavour.

The soup went along with a smoked trout salad, served on a lettuce leaf (and on a banana leaf plate, here). Interesting but a bit too fiddly for the payoff.

Trouty

I might make the soup again, but probably not the salad.

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Torta caprese

24 05 2012

I love caprese. Ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil and my cheesy love, bocconcini. Add pastry lust and you’re guaranteed I would love this torta caprese.

Yum

It was easy to make, and it went down a treat. Next time, I might bake the pastry a bit longer before hand – it was a touch soft (I’m seeing a theme here – to do with my oven).

Tips for new players: the onion marmalade took a bit longer than I thought.

Will definitely make again.






Eton mess

27 12 2010

It’s very hard to go wrong with Eton mess. Basically it’s a deconstructed pav in a cup. What’s not to like?

It is a mess though. Especially if you’ve had a few drinks by the time you get around to putting them together. Note the trashed-ness of the bench. And the blurriness of the photo. But you get the general idea. This is not a precision dessert.

And yes, I could have done it earlier and stuck them in the fridge – but I didn’t have time.

Now, modifications. Well, strawberries were out of season so they didn’t make it in, and we used blueberries instead. Raspberries a-plenty, but who has the time or inclination to puree and sieve? Here instead is how my clever friend Tish made them into a delicious thick sauce. Messily.

The greek yogurt is a good addition – stops it from being too sweet.

Make again – yes, next time I have leftover meringue.

Or if I ruin a pav, this is a great way for it to end up.

Also – leftover raspberry puree freezes nicely to use in cocktails later…





Prosciutto wraps

20 12 2010

Some of the things in the Delicious cookbook are really only going to get made when there’s people coming over and I want to feed them something a bit fancy.

My inner Nigella tells me I should be making fancy meals for the Architect and I to enjoy, the two of us, with candles and rose petals and so on. But she gets beaten down by my inner Germaine and, truth be told, my inner person with a full time job.

So that brings us to prosciutto wraps. Pretty quick and easy, tasty despite forgetting the dressing, easily customisable. Case(s) in point: I made some with sliced roast beef for a non-pork eater and I couldn’t get green beans so I used asparagus.  I used mostly cress and shungiku as the ‘micro salad’ because I had an abundance in my gutter garden. I also had to stab them with toothpicks to get them to stay together, but that’s also because I was trying to make food that people could eat with one hand.

Bringing us back to the question of how much adaptation can you do before it becomes a new recipe?

But for the purposes of 101 things, I declare that this one satisfies the requirements and was, indeed, a prosciutto wrap. Served on a banana-leaf plate, my new favourite thing in the world for feeding the masses – as easy as other disposable plates but this one’s compostable.

Gold.





Chilled tomato and harissa soup

15 12 2010

Summer’s here, and the time is right…

for chilled soups!

First time making a chilled soup, first time making a soup with bread in it (apart from croutons), first time using harissa.

Seemed like a perfect thing to cook when there were people coming around!

Some notes on the chilled tomato and harissa soup:

* If, like me, your wallet or garden doesn’t stretch to 1kg of vine ripened tomatoes, nor your time to peeling and deseeding them, two 400g tins plus a punnet of ripe cherry tomatoes works nicely.

* I couldn’t find harissa. After checking out a few recipes, I decided to substitute it with half a teaspoon of my hotter than the sun sambal oelek, some cumin and a splash of vinegar. Worked just fine.

* I used half normal olive oil and half wasabi infused olive oil. Gave it a nice kick. And I used a bit less than 200ml, because, well, 200ml seemed like a lot.

I ate the leftovers the day after and it was pretty good – stood up to a full bowl instead of little cups. Will make again… probably.





Lentil and cauliflower pilaf

1 10 2010

Well. From super rich to super… well, cheap and healthy, I suppose. The other half of the cauliflower went into the lentil and cauliflower pilaf.

Controversially, this recipe uses basmati rice. I’m very much a short-to-medium grain girl and I was tempted to make it with medium grain because a) I’m lazy and b) I’m lazy. But I persevered and it was probably for the best. The basmati suits the dish much better than medium grain would.

Now, because I’m forgetful as well as lazy, I forgot that I had no korma curry paste until I went to make this. So I bodged one up from spices. See?

Then I cooked up some lentils, threw it all together and out came the most beige meal I’ve ever made.

It smelt good. It tasted good, if a little salty. It just looked sad and colourless. Especially without the fresh coriander on top (a) lazy and b) forgetful = forgot to buy it and then couldn’t be bothered making a separate trip. Also the Architect isn’t such a fan).

So I cooked up a… let’s be kind and call it a ragout, with red capsicum, zucchini, beetroot greens and rocket, and bunged it on top. As well as a hefty dollop of mango chutney, later followed by tamarind chutney. Made it look a bit more presentable and added a bit more interest. The sweetness from the chutney is definitely needed to balance the flavour of the pilaf.

Verdict? Not bad, but next time I might add a few more things for interest, and halve the salt. In any case I’ve still got half a bag of basmati rice in the cupboard to use up…





Cauliflower cheese soup

1 08 2010

With a giant head of cauliflower in the foodconnect box, miserable weather and a lazy Sunday, I tackled cauliflower cheese soup.

I really like cauliflower. It’s good raw to dip in other yummy things. I like it pickled, lightly steamed, stirfried, deep fried, in curry… but most of all I love it with white sauce. Yum.

A quick glance at the ingredients list shows milk, cream, butter, flour, cheese. So yes, this is basically a soup version of cauliflower with cheese sauce. Which is close to white sauce. How could this not be awesome?

Fun fact: this project means that for the first time ever, I’m actually weighing ingredients. This, my friends, is about 350g of cauliflower. Who knew?

A fairly simple soup making exercise later, this is what came out of the oven. Due to the general age and non-awesomeness of said oven, the top did not brown up delightfully like the picture despite some 30 minutes in there. I could have waited a bit longer, but hunger and impatience got the better of me. Anyway, I reckon they did theirs with a blow torch.

(I can has blow torch?)

You can see the oil around the sides in the picture. I served it with toast to better soak up the cholesterol. It was pretty damn rich, pretty damn laden with milk fat and pretty damn delicious. The Architect approved.

Next time, blow torch.