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Cookery nook

Today I've spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen.  I like cooking, but often it feels more like an experiment than anything else...  For lunch I did pasta with homemade sauce (it was stupidly easy - involving nothing more complicated than frying some chopped onions and garlic, adding some finely chopped mushrooms, a few bits of broccoli chopped up small, a small tin of tomatoes and two fresh chopped up tomatoes).  As usual I cooked far too much pasta (I can never be bothered to weigh it and it never looks like enough in the pan...), but I suppose that's better than not enough...

For dinner we had chicken tagine.  (Pictures below!)  It looked nicer than it tasted, unfortunately.  The problem with reducing a recipe so that you get two portions instead of six is that sometimes you get the flavourings wrong...  I think this tasted too much of honey (one tablespoon was too much!).  Next time I want to do one of those ones with preserved lemons in.

Tagine in the pan...

...and in dishes!  (And here you will see that I have managed to cook too much broccoli, too.  Yes, we had broccoli twice in one day...)

Dessert worked much better.  (I should cook puddings more often - I always forget how easy they are!)  Apple and blackberry crumble - very tasty!  Best of all, we have leftovers for tomorrow. :-)  (The serving spoon has its own tale - it is stamped with 'THE PROPERTY OF MARKS & SPENCERS' on the handle - and was 'borrowed' by my mum's stepdad, who used to work as a food technologist for M&S.  His job sounds to have been rather fun - testing cake recipes etc.  He was the father of many a Battenburg and Angel Cake!)

Ok, that's enough dinner for one day.  Enjoy yours, wherever you are! :-)


( 9 confidences — Confide in me... )
May. 4th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Next time I want to do one of those ones with preserved lemons in.

First, preserve your lemons!

This is the really easy, yummy version:

Wash and slice unwaxed lemons - thin-skinned ones for preference. Sprinkle the slices with salt and layer them in a colander to drain overnight.

Then pack them in a jar, sprinkling smoked paprika as you go. When the jar's full, cover with good olive oil and keep for a month.

There, I told you it was easy. You can use these in any recipe that calls for pickled or preserved lemons; just add the slices whole (some recipes call for discarding the flesh and only using the rind: not necessary, with these) and enjoy...
May. 5th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
Ooh, lovely, thanks for this. I've always been a little wary of buying preserved lemons - they seem like the sort of thing that might moulder away at the back of a cupboard and get thrown out... but homemade ones would demand to be used, I expect. :-)
(Deleted comment)
May. 5th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC)
Ah, chili... chili is so subjective. Some people want it so mild it might as well be bolognese with beans in, others aren't satisfied unless the roof of their mouth gets cauterised when they eat it... One of those things where everyone seems to have a recipe!

Haha, visually attractive food... I don't normally photograph dinner, but I felt like recording the achievement of a whole day without eating any pre-prepared food! (Er, except breakfast cereal...)

I'll look forward to your letter! :-)
May. 5th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)

Nice food pictures; it looks yummy. But food photographs even better if you use non-flash pictures, because the flash generates unnatural-looking shadows and reflections. The problem is having enough light without a flash.

I don't care for cooked broccoli. It's best fresh, with no processing other than washing and cutting to bite-sized pieces. It's also good if it's heated, but only to the point where it's warm, not to the point that it starts to lose even a hint of crispiness.

One of the friends in our usual Sunday get-together group brings fresh broccoli (and fresh carrots) most of the time, but she didn't have a chance this week. And I didn't get a chance to bring goodies either, so I had to settle for the less interesting food that others tend to bring.

May. 5th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
I can't claim to be an expert food photographer (besides, I didn't want to let it get cold whilst I fiddled with the camera!)...
May. 5th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
I love me some broccoli, son!
May. 5th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
I think it's my favourite vegetable. :-)
May. 6th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Mmm, apple and blackberry...
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