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Something's Cooking!

It's food round-up time. ^_^ I've been enjoying cooking recently (as usual!) and thought I'd share the fruits of my labours - a virtual feast with no washing-up. ;-)

I don't normally like cookery programmes but I've quite enjoyed 'The Little Paris Kitchen' so far. If you haven't seen it, it features Rachel Khoo, an English girl living in a tiny apartment in Paris, cooking classic French food with a mini oven and stove. She's far less annoying than some of these 'food personalities' - I like that her equipment doesn't match and looks as if she actually uses it, and they leave in moments when she drops things. ^_^ Plus, the recipes are not at all rigid, more like a basic principle, and there is a lot of 'if you prefer X put that in, or try doing Y'.

She did oeufs en cocotte and they looked really good - so I had a go myself. I didn't do mine in teacups (just a bit twee for my taste) and I had no dill so I put in some spring onion instead. Here they are, served with bacon, tomatoes and my very own cross between duchesse potatoes and champ. (i.e., just add chopped spring onion and a beaten egg to mashed potatoes, dollop on to a baking tray and bake until golden.)

Verdict: really yummy. ^_^ I love breakfast-for-supper (in the morning I'd rather have porridge!).

Another thing demonstrated on the programme was cooking fish en papillote. Having managed not to ruin the sea bass fillets we did for Mothers' Day, I've been determined to try and cook more fish. So I thought I'd try this as well. I had the afternoon off one day last week and decided to have a foray into the new Waitrose in Exeter. I was very good and only bought a few things - including some lemon sole fillets. I just buttered two pieces of baking parchment (one per fillet), put in some sliced fennel, laid the fish on top, added seasoning and lemon juice, sealed up the parcels with string and baked for about 15 minutes. I liked the champ cake thingies so much I did them again, and also made a sauce from lemon juice, garlic, spring onion, creme fraiche and seasoning.

It was good, but next time I think I'll use white wine instead of lemon juice - it overpowered the fish a little bit. If I'd used trout (like on the programme) lemon would've worked fine, I think. But lemon sole is too delicate to withstand it. Also, the sauce, whilst tasty, reminded me a bit of cream cheese with garlic and herbs. Melting some of that would have saved time!

One day last week I had a flash of storecupboard inspiration. I was going to make a Spring casserole with chicken, leeks and peas, but when I looked at the chicken... it didn't look well. :-\ But all was not lost! I made leek and pea risotto instead, and served it with a couple of sausages, cut into little pieces and fried. Very nice! One of the best risottos I've made - for logistical reasons I couldn't stand stirring it the whole time, and somehow it seemed to cook better and more quickly for having a minute or two to itself occasionally. Sacrilege?!

And Finally... today's experiment in the field of yeast-based bakery products! :-) Just for fun I decided to try making English muffins. (Or, as we call them in England, muffins. ;-P) I used Delia Smith's recipe and it worked a treat - even down to the very precise 'cook them for 7 minutes each side'! I didn't have much flour left so I did half the recipe only; next time I'll have to do the full amount I think! Very easy to do and so tasty. (I did reduce the amount of yeast as my packet says to use 1 teaspoon per 500g of flour; and I used sunflower oil instead of lard to grease my frying pan! Edited to Add: I also used semolina instead of flour when rolling them out, to give the usual gritty texture on the outside... which sounds yucky, but I hope you know what I mean!)

We ate half of them for our lunch with poached eggs on top; the rest we can enjoy at teatime.

One day I would love to have a proper old fashioned tea party, with homemade cakes, scones, muffins, maybe even fruited teacakes and sandwiches made with homemade bread... oh and some little biscuits as well! :-D I would serve tea from our best teapot, and maybe have iced tea on offer as well, and strawberry lemonade... :-) My grandmother used to regularly do this and would invite all her genteel lady acquaintances. My parents used to call them 'the fur coat brigade' owing to their attire (...I've seen the photos, they looked hilarious!...)! Maybe I can muster up a faux-fur brigade (or tempt along the local cats with some tuna sandwiches!)... ;-P

Well... I shall end here as it is a beautiful sunny afternoon and not a day for staring at the computer! ;-)


( 8 confidences — Confide in me... )
Apr. 1st, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
I just sat down to write a food round-up post of my own, and here I see you've beaten me to it! :) Your meals all look very delicious--I think I'd especially like that leek and pea risotto with sausage.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
I've just seen your post with the amazing quantity of pork! :-D

Thank you - I'd certainly make that risotto again, it was a good (if unplanned) combination of flavours. :-)
Apr. 1st, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
It all looks very tasty. I sometimes treat myself to an egg muffin for breakfast. However, I'm considering investing in the kit needed to make arepas.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :-) My connection was too slow to watch the video but I looked up arepas and they sound really good! :-)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
The food all looks really good!
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
Such pretty plates, and the best English muffins I've ever seen. The ones we get here are a very squashed imitation of the real thing with a beefeater on the front touting them as the real McCoy!
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-D

I think the problem is they go stale really fast. Bought ones probably either have icky preservatives or are just hard/dry. :-\

My next challenge is going to be hot cross buns for Easter! :-)
( 8 confidences — Confide in me... )

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