Entries tagged with “nigella lawson”.
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Tue 26 Jul 2011
Posted by Dana under Sweet
Semifreddo is one of those things that makes me feel that, even on the busiest day, I might one day achieve the effortless perfection that would allow for a sophisticated dessert after a remarkable dinner any weekday. Clearing away the dishes from a well executed meal, wonderously perfected Dana would say, “I do hope that you have enough of an appetite for dessert?” And she would whisk away into the kitchen, only to return with a marvellous honey semifreddo, already beginning to melt unctuously around the corners. Take that mid-week doldrums! I have dessert!
Does anyone else have incredulously elevated ideas of themselves every once in a while? Real life Dana is not anywhere as close to as polished as I would imagine myself to be, but still it is nice to daydream. And on those days when you can, through the chaos, come out with a dinner that knocks the socks off of your guests and follow it off with a dessert as though you could be this effortless all year round, it certainly does feel good. I could be that Dana, and some days, I am.
1 egg, plus 4 egg yolks
150 g honey
300 ml whipping cream
50 g honey roasted peanuts
- Whisk the eggs and 100 g of the honey together in a bain marie (what is a bain marie you ask? well, look here). Continue to whisk until the combination is thickened and lightens in color.
- Whip the cream until thick and velvety.
- Fold the honey mixture into the whipped cream.
- Pour into a loaf pan and freeze until completely hard.
- Remove from the freezer and allow a moment to warm before tipping everything onto a serving tray.
- Drizzle the remaining honey over top, and garnish with the honey roasted peanuts.
- Slice and serve.
Semifreddo is not quite ice cream, but it is frozen velvety goodness that starts to melt almost immediately and gives way to fantastic frozen but not textures. The ambering effect of the honey gives the semifreddo lick-the-back-of-your-spoon goodness, and the honey roasted peanuts give little bursts of crunch that stop this dessert from bowling you over with richness.
I am sad that it did not kick around the fridge longer than it did. Still, it was nice to feel so elegant and effortless, slicing it up for friends and family who were over to help with more renovation projects.
Thu 22 Jul 2010
Posted by Dana under Savory
What are your favorite things about potatoes?
The comforting umami flavor in a baked potato? The dreamy creamy softness of a mashed potato? The crispy bite of the exterior of a roasted potato? That they go well with almost anything? Their divine pairing with butter? The carbohydrate content? (I know I’m not the lone carbohydrate addict out there).
All of the above are my favorite things about potatoes.
When I was a littler girl than I am now, my mom, brother and I would have supper at my Grandma’s every Wednesday. I would get to choose the menu one week, then my brother would choose it next. My choice was always roast beef, cloud potatoes and gravy. I didn’t really care too much about the roast, except that it allowed for gravy to be made. I really did like the gravy (and still do) but it was important because of the giant pile of cloud potatoes on my plate. Yes, they were really just mashed potatoes, but with the imaginative flare my grandma imparted into us, they were clouds on our plates. Cloud potatoes were my favorite.
Maybe it was the years of cloud potatoes, maybe it’s my Irish-Ukranian heritage, but potatoes are such a perfect food. So many of my favorite meals still include potatoes of some sort. And these potatoes hit the spot! Once again Nigella Lawson has just the right thing. A potato that offers comforting potato flavor, lovely potato cloudy softness, crispy edges… All of these things that I adore about potatoes, in addition to being easy to prepare and looking like striped potato caterpillars.
Hasselback potatoes are the potatoes that can do it all! And here is how:
(adapted from Hasselback Potatoes in Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer)
2 medium sized potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Place one of your potatoes into a large spoon, so that the bottom of the potato is cradled in the spoon.
- Take a knife, and cut across the potato, through to the spoon, at as small of an interval as you can easily manage (~ a few millimeters). The spoon is serving as a cradle during the cutting process, so that all of the ‘leaves’ that are cut in this step are still attached to the ‘spine’, if you think of your potato as a book.
- Heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling on the stove top and brown all sides of your potatoes, starting cut side down (or, spine side up, if that helps you visualize).
- Place the potatoes in a roasting dish, cut side up (or spine side down, for those of you following along) and spoon the fat over them.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Pop the potatoes into the oven for 40 minutes.
- Then, turn up the heat to 450° F, and continue to roast them for 10 more minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and tender, but the edges of all the ‘leaves’ are crispy and browned.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
This recipe only makes two potatoes because I was only cooking for two people. It should multiply linearly very easily to feed whatever size of party you are cooking for. Mmm… just thinking about these makes me want to go downstairs and sneak a couple of crispy bits from Mister’s that is waiting for him to come home.
Mon 29 Mar 2010
Posted by Dana under Sweet
I’m amazed at the number of times in the past week that people were surprised I was going to bake my own birthday cake: “Someone else isn’t going to bake it for you?”
“Do you want me to bake a cake for you?”
No, not really.
“Are you sure? It’s too bad you have to bake your own cake.”
I really don’t think it’s too bad. And I don’t need to bake my own cake, I want to! Baking cake is fun! Making food for your friends and the people you love most to eat is fun! Why would it being a birthday cake make it less fun too bake, or too bad that I’m baking it? I understand the nice sentiment put behind one of your special people baking a cake for you to eat (hopefully not the whole thing unless it’s a cupcake), but it was my birthday and I had a plan. I was going to make a grown up birthday cake.
I wanted it to be chocolate, which many very good cakes are. I wanted it to be not overly sweet (though the reicpe does call for a good deal of sugar), perhaps a little bitter from the chocolate. A deep chocolatey taste that would separate it from the not-grown-up birthday cakes of years past. This cake was perfect.
The Guinness in the cake quite successfully made the cake feel grown up. Not only is it a cake with beer (I know, it sounds weird but it is so good!), the Guinness lends the malty, slightly bitter, woodsy, chocolate, a little bit citrus everything I was looking for to my ‘grown up cake.’
The process of making the cake is really interesting too. The batter is hot! It starts to come together on the stove top! It sounds bizarre, but Nigella, the domestic Goddess herself, is rarely if ever wrong. Try this cake; it is just that good.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
(adapted from Chocolate Guinness Cake in Nigella Lawson’s Feast.)
1 cup Guinness stout
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.
- Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and add the butter, stirring to melt. Then, whisk in the sugar and cocoa.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
- Pour some of the chocolate beer mixture in with the sour cream mixture, whisking to temper, and then add in the rest.
- Whisk in the flour, soda and salt.
- Pour the lusciously warm batter into the prepared pan, and place in the oven, immediately turning it down to 300° F.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45 minutes to an hour.
Not-too-Thick Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup cream cheese
2 1/2 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
- Beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
- Add in whipping cream and vanilla, beating for a minute or two until everything starts to fluff up.
- Slowly add the icing sugar. Depending on the humidity and your taste, you may need a little more or a little less.
This is my perfect cream cheese icing. Most of the time, I find cream cheese icing too loaded with icing sugar, too thick, and just overwhelming. The whipping cream added in makes the icing just right, almost runny, easy to spread, but it still holds to the cake and doesn’t drip anywhere. Yum!
When the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan and ice the cake. In Nigella’s original recipe, she ices the deep brown cake with the fluffy white icing only on top, giving a cake reminiscent of a pint of Guinness. I iced the whole cake so I wouldn’t have a bowlful of icing left over. Here is my birthday cake, pre-lighting the candles:
The cake disappeared quite quickly at the party, with only a teensy weensy little piece left on the tray. My grown up cake was a success, but being a person who still regularly refers to what I might be when I grow up, I don’t know that this truly excellent cake suits how not grown up I tend to feel. I think maybe next year I’ll make the perfect still-not-quite-grown-up birthday cake.