Almond Petits Fours
I never seem to have much success with meringue based things and I also feel I need to work on the finer details of making the food I cook look prettier, I thought this recipe would help with both but perhaps doesn’t look quite like I imagined..
The egg whites were whisked until stiff and then I weighed out the almonds and sugar, seems like an awful lot of almonds..
I tried to add the almonds and sugar as carefully as possible and it did take a good while to get everything mixed together, but by then it just looked like a thick sticky mess..
I used a small star piping nozzle to pipe a mixture of whirls and fingers..
I had some Angelica to use up so I decorated them with a small piece of that..
After about 15 minutes in the oven they were a slight golden colour and looking crisp round the edges..
Apparently its traditional to serve petit fours at the end of a meal but we were just having these with a cup of tea. They don’t look as fancy as I’d expect a petit four to look, which is maybe just my lack of artistic detail!!
…..but they taste pretty great! They are quite dense, which I didn’t expect from a meringue based recipe, and they have a chewiness to them which is nice!
Would I make these again? Yes!
Sauté of Peas
One of the things that I’ve liked about this book is that it has given me ideas for jazzing up something simple like peas! I pretty much just boil peas so it’s nice to try recipes like this to make the humble pea more interesting!!
The recipe says shelled peas but I only had some frozen peas, so I let them defrost for a bit and then fried them in butter for a few minutes. Then I added the onion, salt, pepper and some stock..
I left this to simmer for about 20 minutes and decided to lift the lid for the last 10 minutes..
Once they had been cooking for a further 10 with the lid off I transferred to a warm plate and sprinkled over some chopped parsley..
As expected the peas are really soft but taste great! I served these along with the braised lettuce and chicken and was really good! definitely a great way to jazz up some peas!
Would I make this again? Yes definitely!
This is another dish that is more of a suggestion than a recipe, but I like the idea of trying something different with lettuce!
I had bought two little baby gem lettuces for this..
They were cooked in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then drained in cold water. They were put back into a pan with salt, pepper, butter and a little onion..
They were covered with stock and then left to simmer for about 45 minutes. After all that time they were obviously very soft and not such a bright colour anymore..
I left them in a hot plate and used the cornflour to thicken the left over cooking liquid. That was then poured over the lettuces and sprinkled with chopped parsley..
So I was serving this with roast chicken and some potatoes and this was a pretty good roast dinner alternative! It’s quite light but tastes really good, much better than I expected a boiled lettuce to taste like!! The sauce is really good too and delicious with chicken!
Would I make this again? Yes definitely!
Apparently this cake is traditionally served at wedding showers in America and Canada, I don’t know anyone getting married just now but I had a load of dates in the cupboard and decided to try this..
I started with the filling and chopped up the dates..
These were then cooked slowly with the sugar, essence and some water until it was thick and smooth
While that was cooling I made up the rest of the cake..
Half of that was pressed into the cake tin..
Then I spread over the cooled date mixture..
Next I attempted to cover with the rest of the cake mix which was actually not very easy! The cake mix is quite thick and sticky and does not spread well at all, so I had to just drop small spoonfuls all over the top and then hope it would spread out when cooking..
After about 30 minutes in the oven it looked ready, the recipe says it should be lightly browned but the mix is quite a dark brown before cooking anyway! As expected the top had spread out when in the oven..
I left it to cool in the tin..
Once cooled I tried a slice, and have to say it is pretty rich and I could only manage a small slice!
It does taste nice and is quite soft, the best bits are the edges where the date mix has become really sticky!
You definitely couldn’t serve large slices of this, I did like it but only in small doses!
Would I make this again? Possibly, wouldn’t buy dates specifically for this but would probably make again if I had more dates to use up!
This isn’t really a recipe, is more of a suggestion!
Not only do I plan to try every recipe I also plan to try as many of the suggestions! There are good few of them, possibly hundreds..
Anyway I do love a nice canapé with a cold glass of prosecco and do love Camembert so was looking forward to these!
Really not much effort and not much to say but I made some toast and butter, cut into slices and topped each one with a slice of Camembert..
According to the book I should’ve put the paprika on after grilling, but I skipped ahead and sprinkled over before..
After a few minutes the cheese was bubbling and starting to brown..
The melted Camembert perhaps doesn’t look as appealing as uncooked Camembert but am still going to enjoy these!
We served with a glass of prosecco and were the perfect accompaniment!
Would I make thee again? Yes, possibly a bit more paprika next time!
I honestly can’t remember the last time I had trifle and I don’t think it’s something I have ever made before, I actually decided to make this after my 8yr requested it!
I do not have any nice glass dishes that would suit for this, but I was able to borrow my grannies trifle dish, which I think is quite fitting considering this was her book!
The recipe says to use 4 small sponge cakes, but I made one medium sized square cake and cut that to fit the dish, on hindsight I probably should’ve made a round cake and possibly didn’t need quite so much cake..
I drained the canned fruit and used the syrup to make the jelly and then poured the fruit over the sponge..
So I couldn’t figure out if I should let the jelly set for a bit or just pour over the fruit straight away, I assumed it would all just soak into the sponge? Is that what’s meant to happen or should I have a distinctive jelly layer? I think maybe I should have a full layer of fruit that completely covers the sponge. Anyway I decided to let the jelly set a little and poured over the fruit..
As expected it did pretty much soak into the sponge!
Next I poured over the custard and you can see some layering from the jelly!!
Once all that had cooled I piped on the whipped cream..
Once that’s on the layers look a bit better!
Finally I opted to top with chocolate vermicelli..
So this trifle is maybe a bit heavy on the cake side and most of the jelly has soaked into the cake, but it’s actually pretty good! I like that the sponge is soaked with the raspberry jelly, and altogether it’s a good pudding!
Would I make this again? Yes!
Victoria Sandwich Cake
I don’t have much of a plan or system while cooking through this book and tend to just pick a recipe I fancy or something that includes an ingredient I have that needs used up. So I have made a few of the more involved cakes and did think I should’ve started with this one first!
So rather than just make the basic cake I still have a couple of oranges to use so decided to make an orange version.
I also doubled up the ingredients as I wanted to make a bigger cake! So butter and sugar creamed together, then the eggs added, and I added the orange rind at this point. Finally the flour is folded in and then transferred to cake tins..
After just over 20 minutes they were nicely cooked and smelling pretty good!
While these were cooling I made an orange buttercream..
I spread all the buttercream over one of the sponges..
Then topped with the other sponge..
Finally I made up a glace icing with some orange juice and drizzled that over the top..
So this was an afternoon treat with a cup of tea and is a damn good cake!!
I do love a classic Victoria sponge and are really easy to make, but this is a great twist on the classic cake and is very simple. It’s possibly my favourite cake I’ve made from this book so far!
Would I make this again? Yes definitely!
Orange Drop Cookies
These were the result of a wet afternoon in the house with my daughter and having bought a few too many oranges…
The recipe says to use blended vegetable fat, which I’m guessing is just margarine! I always have a supply of stork in the fridge for cakes so was using that instead. The ingredients are all mixed together and smells lovely at this stage..
Once all mixed together we dropped teaspoonfuls onto a baking tray..
Then we sprinkled with sugar and forgot to fatten them, so hoping they will flatten and spread out themselves on cooking..
These did cook really quickly but was just over 10 minutes rather than 7-8 that the recipe says, and they have spread out quite considerably..
It’s at this point that I did think we should’ve been a little more precise with our dropping of the mixture onto the tray, as none of the cookies look the same shape and they all have to be sandwiched together!
While these were cooling we made an orange butter cream using this recipe..
Once cooled a little of that was spread over half of the cookies..
Then we had to try find the best match as possible and sandwich them together..
These were all ready really quickly and were pretty great with a cup of tea! The actual cookie is really soft and the orange flavour in them and from the icing is fab. According to my daughter these are possibly one of the best cookies we’ve ever made!!
Would I make these again? Yes! Really easy recipe and results are great, perfect for making with the kids!
This is another recipe from the around the world chapter that I do wonder about its authenticity. I did find some references to a recipe called carbonades flamandes, which is a Flemish beef and beer stew, it’s not quite the same but does obviously include beef and beer like this recipe!
I think every time I ask the butcher for chuck steak I get told I just need braising steak! So I bought 2 large pieces and left overnight coated in a little oil and seasoning..
Next day the mushrooms and onions were sauted in a little butter and then transferred to a casserole dish..
The recipe says to drain the steaks but there was nothing to drain from them!! So I coated them with flour and fried in the pan and then placed on top of the onions and mushrooms..
I then mixed the larger, sugar and garlic together with some seasoning and poured that over the meat and then was into the oven for a good while. I didn’t pay too much attention to the time but think this was cooking for just over 3 hours..
Had I actually read the recipe before going shopping for the ingredients I would’ve got some small onions or shallots to have with this!
So after all that time cooking it doesn’t exactly look particularly appetising!
It does smell pretty tasty and there is plenty of sauce in the dish which is perfect for serving with some mashed potato..
Well despite not looking great it does taste pretty good! The meat is nice and soft and all the ingredients taste great having been cooked in the lager!
Would I make this again? Yes!