Friday, July 20, 2018

613/1038 - Chocolate pithiviers

These gorgeous little pastries were made as a thank you gift for a person who recently did a lovely thing for my family. I wanted these to be fresh on delivery and so got up early in the morning to put them together. Because of the timing, I decided it would be a ridiculous notion to attempt to make the pastry and so (feeling very guilty) I made these from the packet variety. I have no idea why I felt guilty; even Stephanie has admitted to finding the making of puff pastry onerous! Puff pastry is definitely a recipe I will tick off my list when I have a day entirely to myself and am in need of a meditational task. 

Even though the pastry was not my own, I am thrilled to report that the pithiviers were simply wonderful. I generally judge the success of my recipes on the level of arguments that ensue between my boys. The level of pithivier angst was high (I still don't know who ate the last one) and whilst young people arguing is not my favourite thing, it assured me of the excellence of this gorgeous output from my kitchen. 

Because I planned to give at least six pithiviers away, I decided it would be prudent to double the chocolate filling. What I now know is that when you make mini pithiviers and double the filling, not only will you use up a kilogram of puff pastry, but you will also have enough filling left to make not one, but two chocolate tarts! Given how insanely nice the filling is, this is not a situation I was disappointed to find myself in.  

The first tart I made was chocolate with a layer of strawberries underneath. It was OK. The second tart on the other hand was a thing of beauty. Chocolate and pink peppercorns is a combination I will never tire of and the family agreed, scoffing this one in record time. 

Chocolatey heaven; that's my house right now.

Chocolate and pink peppercorn tart

Sunday, July 15, 2018

612/1038 - Pickled ginger

I assumed when I made pickled ginger that we would be eating it with sashimi and perhaps a couple of nori rolls. Instead, I stumbled across a suggestion on the internet that has made me a very happy woman indeed! 

The suggestion was in the form of a diner's recollection of a dish from a local restaurant. The dish included Brussels sprouts and pickled ginger and was topped with a combination of lime juice and fish sauce. We didn't have any Brussels sprouts on hand, so instead I created a dish with roast chicken, roast carrots, rice, cauliflower and broccoli. This lovely combination was topped with many slices of pickled ginger and the amazing fish sauce/lime juice combo.

I simply can not express how much I loved this dish! Yes, I will be purchasing some sashimi in the near future to enjoy with our quite substantial batch of pink-hued ginger (it really does go pink!) but I will also be replicating the above meal (or variations of said meal) ad nauseam.

We also plan to use this lovely (and easy to make) condiment in juices, soups and randomly sprinkled over steamed rice and vegetables. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

611/1038 - Sugar-coated grilled fish

Sometimes it's the simple things in life...

It has been a lovely slow week in our house with all four of us being on holidays at the same time. As such, there has been plenty of cooking going on (including many, many bagels!) and today will be no exception with more bagels (because I have teenagers) and perhaps a cake to munch on as we enjoy our final day of freedom together. 

We like fish in our house but only if it has a good amount of flavour; bland seafood definitely doesn't cut it with my family. It is slightly embarrassing, but I am not 100% sure what type of fish this was. An educated guess tells me it would have been monkfish which is lovely and one of our very favourites.

Of course including a sugar and citrus coating was always going to create an interesting flavour to our meal, but I think we were all blown away with just how much we enjoyed it. Probably not a recipe to do too often if you are watching your sugar intake but definitely a wonderful treat.

Simple recipes like this one might not excite my readers as much as fancy French desserts, but for me every recipe I make is exciting and one step closer to completing possibly the biggest task I have ever set for myself. I find myself amused that I am in the midst of completing a double degree and even that is likely to be finished in less than half the time that this challenge will take.

Let the next milestone approach...

Friday, July 6, 2018

610/1038 - Quince and nut cake

So here we are, showcasing my last little batch of poached quince. What a fabulous and sugary ride it has been! 

This cake was very, very simple to make and was by far the best cake I have made in a very long time. I am not sure that I was supposed to, but I mashed the quince rather than leaving it in slices. As such, the mixture was quite stiff and dry and I was dubious as to whether it would make a lovely cake - but make a lovely cake it did!

The nut choice was between almonds, walnuts and pecans and I used a mix of all three, with some candied pecans on top for a special little flourish. My oven is fan forced and so I only cooked this for forty minutes which turned out to be the perfect amount. The result was still moist, incredibly tasty and full of fabulous spice. We ate it with poached quince, poaching syrup and a good dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Just fabulous.