It’s been a while.
I think my last post was a lengthy whinge about how I never get to cook on Christmas Day. It’s fair to say I (briefly) took back that sentiment on Day Three (or, rather, Night Three) of the Great Rocky Road Challenge (40 gift bags of Rocky Road?! Why not!). Having only one appropriate tin did not entirely help, when it meant having to chop up another 120 inch-cubes of the stuff before I could start the next batch.
We actually ended up doing loads of lovely cooking over the break, aided by a week in a gorgeous cottage in Donegal. It was sunny, but freezing. Cue fires, Borgen, comfort food and, now, yet another New Year Health Kick. Plus ça change.
We pledged not to cook anything we’d cooked before, resulting in some new winners, and additions to the weeknight rota. This is a brief round up of some of the highlights of the festive period.
This is from The French Market, by novelist Joanne Harris. I think I’d describe it as a baked bubble and squeak – spuds and cabbage roasted with chilli and garlic and an egg, topped with tomatoes and camembert. Perfectly gooey and crispy all at once. I have just bought another camembert for a second go this week.
Not really a recipe. Supermarket hummus made A-To-The-Mazing with a dollop of warm roast veg, toasted pine nuts, and an excessively generous glug of olive oil. Heaven.
This one’s from Nigelissima. Farro, saffron and loads of parmesan. We ate it on New Year’s Eve with some slightly disappointing lamb shanks.
Another delicious beast from Harris’ French Market. A ham and bean soup, served on top of stale bread and blue cheese (in this case a lovely Cashel Blue – not so French, sorry). I can’t say enough about how good this was.
This is a variation on a recipe from the massive,amazing Lebanese Kitchen cookbook. My version is basically chicken shawarma on top of fluffy flatbreads, with red onion and pine nuts. This could almost compete with pizza’s place in my heart…
We made three of these monsters. Three. That’s 390 squares. 39 gift bags. Blimey. We used Felicity Cloake’s How to make the perfect… recipe from the Guardian, and mixed it up a bit on the flavours. Two were for ‘grown ups’ (dark chocolate, stem ginger, ginger biscuits, almonds, boozy dried fruits) and one for ‘children’ (more milky choc, m&ms, honeycomb, chopped up milkyway).* Insanely rich, and insanely moreish. Dangerously delicious!
Oh Lord, I know this is basically diabetes on a plate, but it was bloody lovely. I thought I’d burnt the caramel, but I think I caught it just on the turn, and the slight bitter tang took the edge off the sweetness. I wish I didn’t know how easy this is to make now!
Aubergine parm is the Food Of The Gods. I have nothing more to say on the matter.
* many adults (the husband included), unsurprisingly, appear to prefer the kiddy version.