I think my mother has one of her legendary Pavlovas already in the works for the aftermath of the Easter family lunch but, if you’re not going to be as lucky, these Chocolate Hazelnut Mini-Puds, adapted from a Nigella recipe, are well worth trying. This mixture makes eight – serving our family of seven, with one left over to fight for – but it’s a very easy thing to halve the recipe if you are serving less people. You do not want to over cook these mini-puddings so the easiest way to make them is to melt the butter and dark chocolate just before lunch, leave to cool then combine with the rest of the pre-weighed ingredients as everyone relaxes after the lamb (it’s Easter – it has to be lamb!), sticking it into the oven while the table is cleared and the obligatory pot of post-lunch tea is made. And please do serve with the recommended jug of pouring cream – the combination of cold cream, gooey chocolate interior, crunchy hazelnuts (and, in the spirit of keeping this simple, I don’t worry about peeling them) and crusty sponge is truly worth enjoying in concentrated silence.
Category: Food for Friends
It’s not exactly salad time yet but, when a gloriously sunny Sunday coincided with the local point-to-point races and the family coming round for a pre-race lunch, I couldn’t resist poking out an old bag of puy lentils (still working my way through two kitchen’s-worth of ingredients!) to combine with the last of our Ushiki Kuri squash.
Sunday was family dinner day. One of the advantages of living in the countryside in North Cork is getting to spend more time with my family – and getting to try out lots of new recipes on them! This time round I decided to go with something very simple – Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon. “That doesn’t sound like you at all,” the Little Sister said suspiciously when I was talking to her on the phone that morning. “What’s the catch?” The last time she was around we were talking about serving her rabbit from the back garden so her reserve wasn’t entirely unwarranted, although unnecessary on this occasion. A good chicken needs no disguising. I just pushed some lemon thyme under the skin on the breast, tucked a few cloves of garlic and half a lemon inside the cavity and landed it in the oven, serving it with roasted carrots and peppers (livened up with a few chillies) and potatoes. There was supposed to be a side dish of Buttered Leeks as well – our leeks, grown from a bundle of seedlings that a friendly neighbour left on the doorstep last summer, flourished in the garden all winter – but, between breakfast in bed and flat tyres we forgot to pull them.
I have made this dish a couple of times for Pancake Tuesday as I love to have a pancake main as well as desert! One of the best things about it is that many of the elements can be made beforehand. This year I made the pancake batter on Sunday, the pancakes and tomato sauce on Monday, then assembled, baked and served on Tuesday.
Not being very clued in with dates, the first notice I received of the annual pancake flipping day was a display of bottles of squeezy lemon and pancake batter mixes at Morton’s in Ranelagh. Pancakes really are one of the easiest things to make so don’t bother with the mix – it’s normally nothing but flour anyway – buy a real lemon and whip up your own pancakes in minutes with some of the recipes on Greatfood.ie – try sweet pancakes, crêpes, savoury French Galettes or even some fluffy American Buttermilk Pancakes from Bakingsheet.
To give my new cooker a good working test last weekend, I invited my family – Mum, two sisters, a brother and my Granny – to lunch on Sunday so, together with the Boyfriend and myself, we were seven. This, naturally enough, entailed several last minute phone calls home to see if they could bring an extra chair and several sets of cutlery!
Our last Bibliofemme bookclub – for The Rum Diaries by Hunter S Thompson – was held at my flat on a rapidly-darkening autumn evening. The previous evening had been cold and dreary as I walked home from my webmaster course so I decided to start a soup, leave it sit overnight, and then finish it off as the girls arrived. I’d recently come across a Julie Le Clerk‘s version of Harira in an old copy of Cuisine so this was a good opportunity to try it out. I had made a meatless version of this last year in Christchurch but this time I was going to make a meal in a bowl, stuffed with lamb, lentils, chickpeas and, after a look at Claudia Roden’s version of the fast-breaking soup, haricot beans.
For the last round of European Blogging by Post, I decided to make some Dukkah to include in my parcel for Petula in Italy. An Egyptian blend of coarsely ground nuts, spices and salt that you eat with pieces of crusty bread dipped in olive oil, I had never come across Dukkah before going to live in New Zealand last year. There it is often available at the many weekend markets dotted around the South Island and many food producers – Wild Country, elgani, Attitude Foods – make their own particular variation.