Thursday, July 31, 2014

349/984 - Bashed neeps

Bashed neeps. Honestly is that the sweetest and most obscure name for a recipe you have ever heard?

Apparently "neep" is the British term for a swede, which is exactly what this recipe was made from. The boys were dubious, with Henry thinking I was trying to pass off some soft polenta as something completely different. He really is still scarred from the last, slightly under-seasoned, soft polenta incident.  

I ordinarily love swede, but I must confess my love for it grew exponentially after tasting it this way! So simple, but so lovely. The swede is boiled and mashed and then mixed with butter (quite a bit), white pepper (one of my favourite things!) and a pinch of ground ginger. 

Such a lovely alternative to mashed potato and the family gave it six very happy thumbs up. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

348/984 - Classic cheese soufflé

I have been playing around with goat's milk this week; using it in scrambled eggs, bread, mashed pumpkin and last night in this lovely little cheese soufflé.  

The recipe directed me to make one big soufflé that was to be divided between the four of us, but I decided it would be nicer (and easier) to make individual serves. 

I forgot to run my thumb around the edges and may have overfilled the ramekins (I was determined to fit it all in!) which meant my soufflés puffed up like nobody's business...but I think they look rather pretty like this! They were light and airy and oh so cheesy.

I can highly recommend this as quite a simple dinner (really!) and definitely a winner with goat's milk.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

346&347/984 - Classic corned beef with mustard sauce (and sauce ravigote)

My husband is a man with an old fashioned sense about him. He still calls the pictures the flicks, loves old movies (Ben Hur, The great escape, every Bond film ever made), old music (Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey) and classic old dishes such as corned beef.   

So I made this with him in mind. 

I decided this was a Sunday dish given the hours of cooking I knew it would require and also because I knew I wanted to make the mustard sauce and sauce ravigote to be served alongside. 

The dish was very well received although feedback included a question around whether the carrots (yellow and orange, pretty hey?) should have been steamed separately rather than cooked in the salty stock, given the overall saltiness of the dish. I liked it as it was but it is food for thought for anybody else thinking about taking this recipe on. 

I thought this was a wonderful dish and was thrilled to find that I was left with enough stock to make a risotto this week. We also loved the little pickling onions and my littlest son was most amused to see his onion "do a poo" as the middle slid out when he stabbed it with a fork. 

For the record the mustard sauce was wonderful (and easy) and the sauce ravigote was incredible with the meat. A highly recommended trio indeed.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

345/984 - No mess polenta

I confess, the Cook's Companion challenge is a hybrid. When I upgraded to the rainbow book and updated my recipe spreadsheet (go ahead, you can laugh) I realised Stephanie had decided to drop a number of recipes from the orange book when publishing the new one. 

Being a person that values integrity, I just couldn't bring myself to continue without keeping all of the cross over recipes from the orange book in the challenge. It just wouldn't have felt as if I had TRULY finished when I got to the end. This recipe is one that actually did make it to the new book, but it is no longer listed as an actual recipe. But in my challenge it still counts!

Cooking polenta in this way is so simple, but it still takes some time. The polenta sits in a bowl over a simmering saucepan and is covered with foil and stirred every twenty minutes. The first night we ate this I served it as is, sprinkled with parmesan, salt and pepper. The boys were not impressed.

The second night I was determined to redeem myself. The polenta was quite firmly set and so I blended it with fresh rosemary, parmesan and a good dollop of truffle oil. I spread the new concoction in a tray and baked it at 180°C until it was set. 

The boys were thrilled! 

I took some squares to work for a colleague to taste because he had said that he had not tried truffles before. I realise truffle oil is not the same as fresh but I thought it would give him the general idea. He declared it to be the best polenta he had ever eaten. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A very enjoyable three years...

This week I ticked over three years since 'The Cook's Companion Challenge' began. What a ride it has been!

As I do each year, I thought I would list some of the little things that have happened along the way. In the last three years I have:

  - cooked at least one recipe from 97 of the 123 chapters
  - had wonderful conversations with people I would otherwise have never met
  - begun to cook from the margin as well as the main recipes, with 53 micro recipes completed
  - finished cooking everything in two chapters (prawns and broccoli)
  - maintained my average of cooking a main recipe from the Cook's Companion every three days
  - finally cooked more than one third of the recipes in the basics chapter, with 14 of 37 complete
  - had more than 40,000 hits to the blog

My cooking and blogging keeps me sane in the midst of an otherwise busy life, and to date has been the most fulfilling "hobby" I have adopted. 

As always, thank you to everybody who is still riding this crazy cooking wave with me.