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December 2012 COTM: How To Eat -- Basics, Etc; Cooking In Advance; One and Two; Fast Food

blue room Nov 30, 2012 11:57 PM

Report here for these recipes:

Basics,Etc. 7 - 66
Cooking In Advance 79 - 117
One and Two 123 - 157
Fast Food 161 - 190

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  1. BigSal RE: blue room Dec 1, 2012 08:41 AM

    Basic White Loaf p. 29

    http://sarah-discovers-how-to-eat.blo...

    My husband loves white bread so I thought this would be a nice treat for him. I did heed her suggestion and used compressed fresh yeast (my first time using it).

    This is quick to make on a Sunday morning. The results were very good. Simple and comforting . The crust was a little browner than I’d like, so I’ll adjust my baking time if I make this again. We enjoyed the bread with soup, in sandwiches, and buttered.

    1. BigSal RE: blue room Dec 1, 2012 08:41 AM

      Chicken with Morels p. 135
      http://winterskieskitchenaglow.blogsp...

      Chicken thighs are browned in butter and oil. Chicken is removed and then garlic and onions are sautéed until soft. Add morels (soaked in water), Marsala, reserved morel water with chicken stock cube (I used better than bouillion), return the chicken, cover and cook until done. Remove chicken, reduce the sauce and add mascarpone (one could use cream or half and half here). Return the chicken to cover with the sauce and add parsley.

      The dish results in a very succulent chicken with a rich sauce. We’ve made this twice already this week (after my husband got over the shock of the cost of the morels). The first time we made it with 3 chicken thighs. The next time, I’d use a little less butter since the chicken skin renders quite a bit of its own fat. I’ll also remove the chicken skin once the chicken is cooked. The skin lends a nice flavor to the sauce, but the soggy skin on the finished dish isn’t as appealing.

      We also tried a version with boneless, skinless chicken breasts using 1/2 T butter and 1/T oil. The chicken breasts did not need to cook very long at all. It was not as good as the version with thighs, but the passable when trying to eat lighter.

      15 Replies
      1. re: BigSal
        The Dairy Queen RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 12:42 PM

        Wow! Twice in one week!

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          BigSal RE: The Dairy Queen Dec 1, 2012 01:09 PM

          This is so easy to make after work. Soak the morels for 30 minutes and in that time I can chop the onion, garlic, parlsey, measure the marsala and mascarpone, wash the dishes and change out of my work clothes. At that point, the dish is ready to cook. The other reason we made it twice was that I had chicken breasts that needed to be used or frozen.

          1. re: BigSal
            Tom P RE: BigSal Dec 3, 2012 02:13 PM

            BigSal, I love your description... it is very much like Nigella!

        2. re: BigSal
          Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 02:51 PM

          Thanks for such a mouth-watering review Big Sal. That sounds wonderful and I look forward to giving it a try. Not so sure I can get fresh morels but dried shouldn't be a problem.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs
            BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 1, 2012 02:58 PM

            The recipe calls for dried morels so you should be set. I hope you enjoy it.

            1. re: BigSal
              Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 03:20 PM

              Excellent, thanks so much!! I just cooked my first recipe from the book tonight (and loved it) but I had already fallen in love with the book It's such fun to read!

          2. re: BigSal
            LulusMom RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 04:36 PM

            Thanks for the review and the tips, Big Sal. This is on my list. So much to make from this book.

            1. re: BigSal
              a
              AGM_Cape_Cod RE: BigSal Dec 2, 2012 06:50 AM

              We made the Chicken with Morels last night. It was very good and easy.

              We weren't sure if Nigella meant sweet or dry Marsala. As we had none my DH went and bought one of each (375ml so you don't think we are profligate!). He tasted and decided on the sweet. What do you use?

              The only other change I would make is to double the sauce ingredients so there is enough for the second set of thighs as we each normally eat one.

              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                BigSal RE: AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 2, 2012 07:05 AM

                We also bought the small bottles of dry and sweet Marsala and ending up using only the sweet in her recipes so far.

              2. re: BigSal
                LulusMom RE: BigSal Dec 13, 2012 04:44 PM

                Made the chicken with morels tonight for dinner and it was a huge hit with all of us. Sopped up the extra sauce with baguette slices. Pure heaven, and very easy (although it will be easier next time, when I don't feel like I have to read the paragraph as instructions). Thanks to Big Sal for once again pointing me in a great direction.

                I should mention that I made this with skinless boneless thighs, so didn't bother with the first round of browning the chicken, just set them in with the onions, morels, marsala mix and let cook for about 20-25 minutes, then took out and reduced sauce. I basically doubled the recipe and it worked out well.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  BigSal RE: LulusMom Dec 13, 2012 06:03 PM

                  Glad to hear that you enjoyed this (whew)!

                  1. re: BigSal
                    LulusMom RE: BigSal Dec 14, 2012 02:37 AM

                    You're off the hook. We loved it.

                2. re: BigSal
                  w
                  Westminstress RE: BigSal Dec 17, 2012 08:31 AM

                  Just curious, what did you serve this dish with? Also do you think it would be ok without the bouillon cube?

                  1. re: Westminstress
                    BigSal RE: Westminstress Dec 17, 2012 06:10 PM

                    This month has been such a whirlwind that I'm having a hard time remembering what we served with it. Probably brown rice and a steamed vegetable of some sort. And yes, I think you can make this without the bouillon cube. Maybe re-hydrate the morels in chicken stock, but just water should work too.

                  2. re: BigSal
                    a
                    Abby0105 RE: BigSal Dec 18, 2012 10:44 AM

                    This dish didn't catch my eye when I was looking for recipes to try, but your description changed my mind. Though the chicken recipe was easy enough, I think still spent almost two hours prepping dinner. (I spent all the "down" time on sides: roasted beets, sautéed beet greens, and boiled new potatoes.) My chicken thighs released a lot of liquid, so reducing the sauce took a while. When I make it again, I will probably leave the sauce a bit thinner. By the time I stirred in the mascarpone, mine was a little gloppy, but tasted delicious!

                  3. BigSal RE: blue room Dec 1, 2012 08:44 AM

                    Chicken with Scalliions, Chili and Yogurt p. 187

                    This was just ok for us. The appeal of the recipe is how healthy and quick it is to make. Nothing terrible about it, but just not something we’d seek out.

                    Chicken breasts are marinated in lemon juice and olive oil and cooked in a skillet. Serve with tzatziki (yogurt, garlic, scallions, green chili, mint, cilantro,and cucumber).

                    We served this with couscous and chopped cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: BigSal
                      Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 03:00 PM

                      I have this one marked as a "must try" Big Sal. Since it seems as though it was good but not great for you, I'm thinking of changing it up a bit by adding some garlic and aleppo pepper or chilis to the marinade. Do you think that might help?

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                        BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 1, 2012 03:31 PM

                        Yes, I think the zipping up the chicken marinade would definitely help. Also her tzatziki was fine, but I prefer the version from the Olive and the Caper or the one smtucker shared from The Periyali Cookbook.

                        1. re: BigSal
                          Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 03:44 PM

                          The one from the Olive & Caper is my absolute favourite Big Sal. I picked up cukes today so I could make it and I'll definitely use it w this recipe based on your feedback, thanks!

                          1. re: BigSal
                            herby RE: BigSal Dec 2, 2012 02:11 PM

                            I tried both of these tzatziki (and other versions too!) - The Periyali is my favourite. I bought the book after smtucker spoke highly of the book and like it a lot. Yhe Olive and the Caper left me indifferent somehow.

                            I make a similar chicken to the one you described, BigSal (my book is still not here). I do not marinate, cook skinless/boneless breasts on stovetop in oil/butter for about 10min, squeeze some lemon over, scatter a few capers and let rest a few minutes. Supre easy and rather tasty.

                        2. re: BigSal
                          LulusMom RE: BigSal Dec 1, 2012 04:37 PM

                          Ohhh, too bad. I had this one marked with a note that says to up the spicing. But now I'm thinking it will move to the bottom of the list.

                          1. re: LulusMom
                            BigSal RE: LulusMom Dec 1, 2012 04:41 PM

                            I hate to dissuade others. I think you and Breadcrumbs are on the right track by upping the spicing. It was the chicken that was lackluster. The tzatziki is not bad, but I was really wowed by the other version. Maybe just add some red wine vinegar to Nigella's version. I look forward to seeing reviews with tweaks, because it is such a quick and healthy meal.

                        3. lilham RE: blue room Dec 1, 2012 09:37 AM

                          Sweet and Salty Rice Noodles p135 UK edition

                          I noticed the page numbers are different in BigSal's version of the book. (She has Chicken with Morels in her p135). This non-recipe is in the introductory text of One & Two, in the paragraph about thick jellied white rice noodles. It has 'noodles, garlic, spring onions, chilli, soy, sesame oil' written on the side of the paragraph.

                          The recipe is very simple. Fry garlic, spring onion and red chilli. Add cooked greens, noodles. Then season with mirin, soy, and black bean sauce. Drizzle with coriander and sesame oil. I made this for a packed lunch and cooked it in true 'store cupboard' style. I didn't have spring onion or red chilli. I also used egg noodles instead, which I have to precook. The black bean sauce I use is Lee Kum Kee. Along with the sesame oil, I drizzle some chilli oil (Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe) as well. I packed this with a kale cup and a mini meatloaf (hence skipping the greens).
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8762...
                          This is eaten the next day, reheated in a microwave.

                          If you are after a very simple but delicious noodle recipe, to serve with meat and veg, you need to try and learn this one. It's really really good for the minimum amount of effort it takes. I can see it up there with egg fried rice for me. Something I'll cook when I don't know what to cook and am pressed for time.

                          1. j
                            JaneEYB RE: blue room Dec 1, 2012 10:01 PM

                            Clementine Cake p.75 (UK edition)

                            This is one of those recipes that everyone who owns 'How to Eat" seems to end up baking at some time. It's incredibly easy and very delicious. You do have to plan ahead as you boil citrus fruit for 2 hours (I used tangerines this time but you can also use oranges or lemons instead of clementines). Then after removing the pips (seeds) you blitz everything (skin, pith, flesh) in the processor then mix with eggs, ground almonds and sugar. That's your cake which cooks for an hour. It's wonderfully moist with a great citrus flavor. The recipe is available on the Food Network site:
                            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                            30 Replies
                            1. re: JaneEYB
                              q
                              qianning RE: JaneEYB Dec 2, 2012 06:55 AM

                              Clementine Cake, pg. 66 US edition.

                              Not being much of a baker, why of all things this was my starting point for Ms. Lawson I don't know. But as Jane points out above everybody seems to give this one a whirl, and having done some googling before making it, mostly to see what the differences were between Lawson's version & C. Roden's, I can assure you there is plenty of copy on this cake in the blog-o-sphere, including on chow.

                              Anyway, Jane's got the process well out-lined above, and I followed it, except that I used Roden's equal weights for the almonds and sugar, rather than Lawson's cup measurements, and since I couldn't find my spring form pan, I think it is in a box in the basement somewhere, but don't ask me which one, I used a loaf pan lined with parchment, and upped the cooking time by about 15 minutes. It worked fine, but I'm not sure I wouldn't rather have a clementine and a handful of almonds rather than a slice of this cake.

                              1. re: qianning
                                q
                                qianning RE: qianning Dec 2, 2012 08:12 AM

                                and here it is, just after un-molding, and before plating.

                                 
                                1. re: qianning
                                  herby RE: qianning Feb 4, 2013 11:04 AM

                                  Qianning, which Roden's book this recipe is from? I would love to try the "real" thing after making the Nigella's version :)

                                  1. re: herby
                                    The Dairy Queen RE: herby Feb 4, 2013 11:18 AM

                                    Here's a link to a discussion from when Roden's book was COTM. Make sure you follow the entire sub-discussion because there is confusion regarding which edition the recipe appears in http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: herby
                                      q
                                      qianning RE: herby Feb 6, 2013 08:18 AM

                                      Hi Herby--sorry I just saw this. Hope TDQ's post answered your questions. If not, its in "A Book of Middle Eastern Food". Here's a link to the recipe:
                                      http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes...

                                  2. re: JaneEYB
                                    a
                                    angelsmom RE: JaneEYB Dec 2, 2012 01:06 PM

                                    Jane,do you think Meyer Lemons would make a good choice?

                                    1. re: angelsmom
                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: angelsmom Dec 2, 2012 04:08 PM

                                      I have made this cake with Meyer lemons, and it works very well.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                        a
                                        angelsmom RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 2, 2012 05:50 PM

                                        Thanks so much for answering.

                                    2. re: JaneEYB
                                      w
                                      Westminstress RE: JaneEYB Dec 2, 2012 01:48 PM

                                      I have a question about the ground almonds in this cake. Are they the same as almond meal, which I can buy prepackaged, or are you grinding almonds in the FP and, if so, to what consistency? Thanks!

                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                        lilham RE: Westminstress Dec 3, 2012 01:06 AM

                                        Westminstress, in the UK ground almond is shelled, blanched almonds, ground to a very smooth texture. We buy them prepackaged and is used in a lot of baking.

                                        1. re: lilham
                                          w
                                          Westminstress RE: lilham Dec 3, 2012 07:07 AM

                                          Oh, it sounds like almond meal, which is essentially almond flour. Thanks for the clarification!

                                      2. re: JaneEYB
                                        k
                                        Karen_Schaffer RE: JaneEYB Dec 18, 2012 11:08 PM

                                        Here's a secret: you can prick your citrus and microwave for 5-10 minutes instead of boiling for 2 hours. I'm sure I posted about this on Chowhound but I can't find it. Here's another site that discusses this shortcut:
                                        http://morselsandmusings.blogspot.com...

                                        I suppose you'd get more flavor (possibly more bitterness) from your citrus because it's not being leached into the water. I suppose someone should make them side by side and compare them (calling Cook's Illustrated!). All I can say is that it worked for me. I've usually made the chocolate version, though, so it may be more forgiving of strong flavors.

                                        1. re: JaneEYB
                                          herby RE: JaneEYB Dec 19, 2012 11:59 AM

                                          Clementine (tangerine) Cake p.75 (UK edition)

                                          Finally I made something out of the book and it is this cake. It is still in the oven for another few minutes and will be my treat thris afternoon to go with a cup of tea. It smells delicious :)

                                          I wonder if anyone knows why tangerines need to be boiled for such a long time?

                                          1. re: herby
                                            q
                                            qianning RE: herby Dec 19, 2012 12:40 PM

                                            Herby, glad you asked that question, I wondered about that myself, and have no idea why...hoping someone else weighs in with the answer.

                                            1. re: qianning
                                              herby RE: qianning Dec 19, 2012 01:23 PM

                                              I find it very useful to understand the "why" of the cooking :) I am going to check Roden's recipe if it is in one the two of her books that I have. She is usually good at these kind of things.

                                            2. re: herby
                                              blue room RE: herby Dec 19, 2012 03:40 PM

                                              herby, did you see Karen_Schaffer's post in this thread (before yours, 12 hours) about microwaving the citrus instead of boiling it?

                                              1. re: blue room
                                                herby RE: blue room Dec 19, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                I did see it but I do not have a mictowave so I boiled. But I was in the kitchen anyway making kale salad and eggplant and lemon risotto from Jerusalem - delicious!

                                            3. re: JaneEYB
                                              w
                                              Westminstress RE: JaneEYB Dec 24, 2012 12:31 PM

                                              I'd like to make this cake tonight or tomorrow. I have all the ingredients and my choices for baking are a 9" springform or 9x4" (I think) loaf pan. She says to use an 8" round. Any suggestions as to which of my pans to use and will I need to modify the recipe in any way? If so, how? Thanks!!!

                                              1. re: Westminstress
                                                JoanN RE: Westminstress Dec 24, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                Just took mine out of the oven and earlier today I was doing a lot of Googling about different issues since I do have an 8" springform pan. But I came across quite a few comments from those who used a 9" springform and said it came out just fine with a bit less baking time. The one comment I read from someone who used a loaf pan said it never unmolded from the pan and they had to cut slices while it was still in the pan.

                                                1. re: Westminstress
                                                  blue room RE: Westminstress Dec 24, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                  Westmintress, according to this site
                                                  http://allrecipes.com/howto/cake-pan-...
                                                  you'll be fine with a 9 inch, like JoanN said. It'll be a little flatter of course.

                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                    q
                                                    qianning RE: blue room Dec 24, 2012 05:29 PM

                                                    May be too late to help....but I made it in a loaf pan lined with parchment, which worked fine as far as on-molding was concerned.

                                                  2. re: Westminstress
                                                    w
                                                    Westminstress RE: Westminstress Dec 24, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                    Great, thank you so much!

                                                  3. re: JaneEYB
                                                    lilham RE: JaneEYB Dec 25, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                    Clementine Cake UK edition

                                                    I made this for christmas lunch, and everyone loves it. I basically followed the recipe, using 4 clementines. But instead of boiling the clementines on the stove, I put the fruit in my slow cooker and cooked it on high for about 4 hours. I didn't know what boiled citrus smells like, but it stinked up the whole house. I wouldn't recommend using the slow cooker if you don't like the smell! Also I used a 20cm sandwich tin, instead of a 21cm springform tin as specified in the recipe. The sandwich tin was very shallow and luckily the cake didn't rise much or I'd have a oven disaster. (I guessed it wouldn't given there's only a tsp of baking powder). I didn't have any problem unmoulding the cake, but it could because my sandwich tin is silicone.

                                                    1. re: lilham
                                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: lilham Dec 25, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                      I had never heard the term "sandwich tin," so I googled, and it seems to be what we in the US would call a cake pan. This is why I love the internationality of CH. I'm always learning something new.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                        blue room RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 25, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                        I figured it to be a loaf pan, for sandwich bread.

                                                        1. re: blue room
                                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: blue room Dec 25, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                          You'd think, but this is what comes up in an image search: https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&a...

                                                          And choices from a UK retailer: http://www.cookability.biz/sandwich-t...

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                            blue room RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 25, 2012 01:13 PM

                                                            Huh? I wonder how that happened-- how does "sandwich" fit with round shallow baking vessels? Maybe because you often sandwich two cake rounds together, for layer cake?

                                                            1. re: blue room
                                                              lilham RE: blue room Dec 25, 2012 01:50 PM

                                                              Yes that's exactly what a sandwich tin is. They are for baking two halves of a Victoria sponge, for example.

                                                    2. re: JaneEYB
                                                      w
                                                      Westminstress RE: JaneEYB Dec 25, 2012 07:40 PM

                                                      Clementine (satsuma) Cake

                                                      Made this cake this morning to rave reviews. I used satsumas instead of clementines and needed 6 to make a pound as they are quite small. The cake was easy to mix and baked up nicely in my 9" springform pan. Two questions though. First, I thought the cake could have benefitted from a touch of salt, any suggestions as to how much to add? Second, I saved the water leftover from boiling the tangerines bc it smelled amazing - is there any good use for it? It tastes like bitter oranges.

                                                      1. re: JaneEYB
                                                        JoanN RE: JaneEYB Dec 26, 2012 02:04 PM

                                                        Clementine Cake (page 66, US edition)

                                                        My turn. I brought this as a hostess gift for Christmas dinner to a gluten-free home and it was very much appreciated and enjoyed.

                                                        The only thing I have to add regards the grinding of the almonds. I had almost enough blanched, sliced almonds and filled in with whole, unblanched almonds. I had planned to chop them in the food processor, but after a bit of Googling decided to grind them in a Zyliss cheese grater. I was thrilled with the result. Wonderful, even, very fine texture. And the bit of skin from the unblanched almonds wasn't noticeable. The cake may have been slightly undercooked since the center fell a bit on cooling. Perhaps the cake was a tad more moist than it should have been, but none of the guests seemed to think so.

                                                        Not sure why this cake became so iconic. It's good, and it's easy, but not something I'd be in a hurry to make again except under similar circumstances.

                                                      2. lilham RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 05:13 AM

                                                        Chicken and Chickpea Tagine p111-112 UK edition

                                                        Cook dried chick pea before you start. (Nigella suggested starting with dried. Tinned can be used but should be stirred in at the end). Brown chicken thighs, remove to a plate. Whizz onion, garlic and celery into a paste in a food processor, and then fry until onions are soft. Add carrot batons and cook for 5min. Stir in flour, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Add chicken, chickpea, stock (vegetable bouillon) and white wine. Simmer for 1 hour.

                                                        I cut the recipe in half, and served it for lunch today for me, mr lilham and toddler. There's enough left over for two lunches. The original recipe says it's serves 4-5, so Nigella must eat a lot more than us. We served with couscous and pine nuts (suggested by Nigella) and simply boiled curly kale. I under seasoned the stew but it's still good. It's also fairly simple to prepare, but you have to be organised to start 1.5 hour or so before lunch time.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: lilham
                                                          w
                                                          Westminstress RE: lilham Dec 8, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                          Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

                                                          Reading Lilhams post, I wasn't sure I would like this dish, but since I had all the ingredients I decided to forge ahead. I thought this was just ok. Lilham describes the technique so I won't repeat other than to note the changes I made. I skipped the celery as I couldn't reconcile the ideas of celery and tagine in my mind. I used five thighs instead of 10 but kept other quantities the same. I wish she had specified a weight here - my 5 thighs came to 2 pounds and I'm sure 10 would have been too many. I chose to remove the skin but did use chicken on the bone as instructed. I did not use her chickpea cooking technique but simply simmered unsoaked chickpeas in salted water for 2 hours until almost cooked. I then subbed chickpea cooking liquid (why waste it?) for chicken stock. The entire dish was much soupier than I expected, possibly because I used less chicken than intended. I ended up removing the chicken and carrots so I could turn up the heat and reduce the liquid substantially, which helped. I also added a touch of cayenne. My real beef with this recipe was I thought it had way too much wine and was unbalanced as a result. If I made this again (which I won't) I would cut the quantity of wine in half at least. In the end it was a pleasant enough dish but not one I'll be repeating.

                                                          1. re: Westminstress
                                                            LulusMom RE: Westminstress Dec 8, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                            Huh, I was thinking of making this next week, but since neither of these reviews are raves (although it seems that lilham liked it better) I will likely rethink.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                              w
                                                              Westminstress RE: LulusMom Dec 8, 2012 07:15 PM

                                                              The word "Tagine" in the title sucked me in, as I love a good tagine! But if you look at the ingredients, it's not much of a tagine, just a warmly spiced chicken and chickpea stew with lots of white wine.

                                                              1. re: Westminstress
                                                                LulusMom RE: Westminstress Dec 9, 2012 02:32 AM

                                                                Me too - I'm a sucker for anything Moroccan sounding. But I do have to say, the wine in this recipe sort of made me do a Scooby Doo type "ra?"

                                                          2. re: lilham
                                                            jpr54_1 RE: lilham Dec 16, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                            I am soaking the chickpeas now
                                                            and will make it for dinner tomorrow

                                                            1. re: jpr54_1
                                                              jpr54_1 RE: jpr54_1 Dec 18, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                              i just cooked the chickpeas-they came out very soft and almost mushy-I followed the instructions on page 78 for cooking the chickpeas-I will definitely not cook them for 1 hour again. I should have checked at 30 minutes.
                                                              I am still going to complete the dish

                                                              1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                jpr54_1 RE: jpr54_1 Dec 18, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                                I altered recipe-i baked tihghs in the oven.
                                                                I also added more garlic,also soanish paprika, and green long pepper for spicyness.

                                                                1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                  jpr54_1 RE: jpr54_1 Dec 18, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                  wow!
                                                                  my house smells great.

                                                                  i tasted one thigh-mmm-i will serve it with fage yougert for a cool down

                                                                2. re: jpr54_1
                                                                  jpr54_1 RE: jpr54_1 Dec 19, 2012 11:15 AM

                                                                  I found better instructions in Ranch Gordo-Heirloom Bean Grower's Guide by Steve Sando

                                                              2. re: lilham
                                                                j
                                                                Joburger RE: lilham Sep 8, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

                                                                I have often made this, but it certainly doesn't convince as a tagine. My family enjoy the contrast of tender chicken, sweet carrot, creamy chickpeas. I use skinless, bone-in chicken thighs and lots more carrots than Nigella suggests. Tinned chickpeas work fine in this dish, and it is fairly soupy. Most importantly is that I add more spice - some chilli flakes or similar - and preserved lemon also works in this.

                                                              3. Gio RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 05:23 AM

                                                                Cabbage with Caraway, Pg. 180 US edition

                                                                Took baby steps here with this first recipe from the book this month. Very simple, very fast, very tasty. The recipe is Nigella's mother's and is found in paragraph form on the page, It calls for a large white cabbage, 2 T butter, 1 T olive oil, 1 T caraway seeds. The only sub I made was to use about a third of a head of Savoy cabbage for two people. We used a wok, one of the suggested pans.

                                                                Melt the fats, add the caraway seeds, then the shredded cabbage. Stir fry for a few minutes then add a cup of hot broth (homemade salt free chicken). Cover and cook a few more minutes, remove cover and cook another minute or two. NL suggests adding another bit of butter and seasoning with S & P. After tasting we simply added 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt and FGBpepper.

                                                                We liked the sweet flavor the caraway seeds gave the Savoy which had it's own lovely soft cabbagey flavor. In the future I would grind or at least crack the seeds before adding them to the pot. It was slightly uncomfortable biting onto a seed every so often although I do like the taste of caraway. The dish was a good side for a simple Saturday meal of grilled chicken breasts marinated in thyme, rosemary and lemon served sliced on a soft roll. On to her Ginger Chicken tonight...

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                  lilham RE: Gio Dec 2, 2012 05:30 AM

                                                                  The cabbage sounds good. Always after more ways to cook them!

                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                    LulusMom RE: Gio Dec 2, 2012 06:44 AM

                                                                    I love the mixture of cabbage and caraway (I make a quiche with it and gruyere) - I had missed this. I think those ones that are just part of paragraphs are pretty easy to miss, but this sounds great.

                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                      q
                                                                      qianning RE: Gio Dec 7, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                      Cabbage w/ Caraway

                                                                      We had this last night, I loved, it Mr. QN was more luke warm about it.

                                                                    2. lilham RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 05:27 AM

                                                                      Apple and Walnut Crumble p174 UK edition

                                                                      This is basically a normal crumble with ground walnuts and rum spiked sultanas. The topping butter, brown sugar, flour and ground walnuts. I already have a bag of crumble topping in the freezer, made with butter, caster sugar, flour and rolled oats. I decided to mix half my existing crumble with half ground walnuts. For the 'fruit', start by macerating sultanas with rum. Then stew the apples with rum, sultanas, and sugar. I made them in four individual pudding basins, instead of one large one suggested in the recipe.

                                                                      This tastes like a typical apple crumble. I don't think the ground walnuts added much. It's not worth the extra effort grounding them. (Though it's a nice addition if I have already ground walnuts, similar to adding ground almonds in crumbles). The sultanas is nice, so I might add that to my normal fruit crumbles sometimes.

                                                                      1. Caitlin McGrath RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 04:04 PM

                                                                        Shrimp with Garlic and Chili Pepper, p. 129, US ed.

                                                                        I had a hair over half a pound of very large wild shrimp (U15) that I bought on special for $11.99/lb, and no particular plan, and found this recipe, which is pretty much (as she says) a pantry recipe once you have shrimp. It's a twist on Spanish tapas-style gambas al ajillo that adds white wine to make a bit of sauce. It's fast, easy, and very delicious. Perfect with bread for mopping up the sauce.

                                                                        She calls for medium, unshelled shrimp, and she says she eats them shells and all. I would absolutely not mind doing that with smaller shrimp, myself, but as I had the aforementioned very large ones, I did shell them. Anyway, all there is to this is to stir chopped garlic and fresh red chile (I didn't have the latter, so used crushed pepper flakes) in olive oil on low heat for a couple of minutes, then turn up the heat and add the shrimp and stir until they're just pink. Mine took a bit longer than indicated because they were large. Then add enough wine to make a bit of sauce and cook for a minute (I took the shrimp out after that and let the wine reduce for another minute or two). Tip it all into a bowl and sprinkle chopped parsley over. I didn't remember the parsley I had at the ready until I'd finished eating.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                          Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 1, 2013 06:03 AM

                                                                          Shrimp with Garlic and Chili Pepper, Pg. 129, US Edition

                                                                          Happy New Year Everyone!

                                                                          We bid a fond adieu to Nigella as we sang Auld Lang Syne last night then dug into this luscious shrimp dish. I had a pound of Trader Joe's colossal wild blue shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico so doubled the recipe. I used 5 large garlic cloves, a whole minced jalapeno seeds and all, included the extra glug of brandy along with the white wine as suggested by NL, and remembered to liberally sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over all.

                                                                          We loved the garlicky-winey flavor of the juicy meaty shrimp. Those TJ's shrimp are probably the best shrimp I've eaten in a long time and the garlic sauce was excellent with them. Along with the shrimp I served a typical antipasto platter with a variety of salami and cheeses, marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, olives. Slices of grilled and oiled Italian bread mopped up all the juices.

                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jan 1, 2013 06:56 AM

                                                                            That sounds so delicious Gio, a perfect meal for a celebration. I wish we had TJ's in Canada. We just returned from Chicago and of course had to stop in and pick up a few items to bring home...sadly, Canada Customs doesn't smile upon shrimp!

                                                                            Happy New Year, wishing you a happy, healthy 2013 with many delicious dishes!

                                                                        2. Breadcrumbs RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                          Moules Mariniere – p. 126 (Cdn edition)

                                                                          Nigella’s take on a classic dish turns out a quick and tasty dinner. Here’s how it comes together.

                                                                          Mussels are cleaned and de-bearded if necessary. A pan is warmed over medium heat (NL advises you to select one that will ultimately hold all the mussels). Butter, a little chopped parsley, minced shallots and garlic are added to the pan and allowed to cook until the wonderful garlicky aroma wafts through the air. At this point, white wine is added to cook for a minute or two. Nigella said to put the lid on and lower the heat at this point but I honestly couldn’t be bothered for such a short time. Mussels are then added the lid is placed atop and the mussels cook from 3 – 5 mins until done. Mussels are divided amongst plates and topped with the pan juices (that NL has you rest a moment to let any grit settle) and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. I served these with some warm, crusty sourdough bread for dunking. While this wasn’t the best version of the dish I’ve ever made, it certainly was quite good and especially good given how quickly it came together.

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                            Allegra_K RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 2, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                            Ahh, food porn at it's finest! Those mussels sure look fantastically sexy against your granite backdrop.

                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                              Breadcrumbs RE: Allegra_K Dec 2, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                              Thanks Allegra. It wasn't until mr bc was snapping these shots that we realized how much our counter resembles the colours of mussels. I read your post aloud to him as he's always concerned his photos don't turn out as well as he'd like. Thank-you for giving him a big grin tonight!!

                                                                          2. Allegra_K RE: blue room Dec 2, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                                            Aubergine Moussaka p.117 UK edition

                                                                            This beautifully spiced Lebanese hearty stew was a lovely introduction into Ms. Lawson's book, and I look forward to trying more.

                                                                            Baby eggplants are peeled to look like 'Edwardian circus tents' (oh, how I've chuckled at her writing throughout) and fried until golden brown in a hint of olive oil. Since I had Asian eggplants, I cut them in half crosswise first. These are then removed, and a couple of sliced onions and a good chunk of garlic cloves (sliced thickly or left whole) enjoy a brief saute in the pan, which are then joined by chickpeas, and shortly after, pomegranate molasses. The aubergines meet up with the pan again along with skinned tomato wedges (or a 28 oz tin, drained and lightly crushed in my case), and are dusted with s&p, cinnamon, and allspice, and some water to cover. The lid is put in place and the lot is simmered to blend and soften the eggplant, 45-1 hr. Sprinkle liberally with mint (or parsley or coriander, as you wish) and serve warm or cold.
                                                                            Since eggplant so often loses its gorgeous purple hue upon cooking, I did find it rather pointless to peel the veg into fun stripes, and although it looked charming beforehand, it probably soaked up more oil than was necessary. Just a personal preferance, though. I also ignored Ms. Lawson's advice to serve with lots of bread and instead thought couscous would work nicely, though it sponged up too much of those delicious juices that would have been better suited to some floppy flatbread, darn it! It didn't help that my couscous was rather...elderly, which I failed to notice immediately due to a cold, argh. So I scooped the stew out after realizing my error, and it much benefited from the bread.

                                                                            I loved the flavours in here, the smoky luscious eggplant with the the sweet tang of the pomegranate molasses (which is an optional ingredient, but seems very important in my books) the odd bite of slightly resistant chickpeas against the subtle warm spices that pair splendidly with the onset of winter. This one was a winner, and I'm looking forward to eating the chilled leftovers straight from the fridge.

                                                                             
                                                                            1. Gio RE: blue room Dec 3, 2012 05:28 AM

                                                                              Basic Roast Chicken, Pgs. 7 - 9 US Edition

                                                                              The plan was to cook Nigella's Gingered Chicken on page 198 which segues into a gingered chicken salad as a secondary dish. Too late did we realize that we were out of ginger. The ginger chicken begins with this basic roast anyway so we simply stuck with the basic and included the vegetables she lists within the recipe.

                                                                              This is another of her mother's recipes that she pays homage to by simply seasoning a large chicken with the merest bit of olive oil and/or butter and stuffing the cavity with lemon. I must confess to sprinkling just a tiny bit of S & P inside and out too. The chicken roasts at 400F for 15 minutes per pound plus an additional 10 minutes. Our choice chicken weighed 4.81 pounds and took 1 hour and 20 minutes to roast to perfection. Half way through the roasting vegetables such as whole unpeeled garlic cloves, small whole unpeeled shallots, and diced potatoes are tossed in S & P and olive oil and added to the pan. I included 4 small parsnips that were peeled and chopped.

                                                                              The chicken was delicious, with crisp golden skin, juicy tender meat and flavorful pan juices. I loved the sweetness of the roasted shallots. They and the garlic easily slipped out of their skins and were soft with sticky honeyed goodness. Mellow flavors all around. Yes - very basic but very tasty and fast as well. Lots left over to give me the opportunity to see if I can come up with an approximation of her gingered chicken salad in a few days.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                BigSal RE: Gio Dec 6, 2012 07:43 PM

                                                                                Basic Roast Chicken, p. 7 (US Edition)

                                                                                This turned out to be a simple, but delicious meal tonight. The shallots were meltingly tender and the garlic was a mixed bag. Some were wonderfully roasted and others were very burnt. I might be better served to roast the garlic in tin foil. Nonetheless, we were pleased with this version of roast chicken that requires nearly zero effort.

                                                                              2. lilham RE: blue room Dec 3, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                (Steak) Bearnaise p17, UK edition

                                                                                NL said in One & Two that the essence for cooking for two is steak. But in my house, steak is cooking for one. Mr lilham doesn't eat red meat, so whenever he's away, I cook things like steak, pork and liver.

                                                                                In a saucepan, reduce tarragon, shallots (1/2 onion), cider vinegar and vermouth. (I don't have chevril so doubled the amount of tarragon as suggested. I also forgot the peppercorn). Strain through a tea strainer (don't have that either, so I used my flour sieve). In bowl over a pot of simmering water, combine egg yolks, water and the strained liquid. Whisk and add a very large amount of cubed unsalted butter. Once the butter is all melted, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve with tarragon leaves.

                                                                                I tasted the sauce before seasoning and it just tastes creamy, like melted butter and egg yolk. I couldn't taste the tarragon reduction at all. I don't know if I have done the reduction step correctly. (I'm sure I'm supposed to taste something)! The final sauce is nice, but the flavour is all from the salt, pepper and lemon juice. I could probably omit the reduction and end up with the same sauce.

                                                                                I've never had Bearnaise before so I don't know if mine is a good or bad version of it. Or indeed tastes anything like it. I don't think I'll cook it again, however. I normally do Nigella's Steak with Lemon and Thyme for my steak nights (http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/s...). It's tastier, simpler and creates a lot less dirty pots and pans.

                                                                                PS. I checked online it's a fairly standard recipe for Bearnaise. So I think it must be me who've missed something.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: lilham
                                                                                  Berheenia RE: lilham Dec 13, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                  I love Bearnaise as does hubby, who makes a decent hollandaise and I was thinking of trying this so thanks for the review. When I read her recipe I couldn't imagine how that tiny amount of reduction could really flavor a sauce so thanks for the review.

                                                                                2. JoanN RE: blue room Dec 3, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                                                  Liver with Sweet Onions (page 132, US edition)

                                                                                  Liver is a rare treat for me. I never would have searched out this recipe, but when I stumbled upon it and saw that it called for pomegranate juice, I knew I had to try it. Since pomegranates are in season, I used fresh juice, but she says you can use diluted pomegranate molasses instead. Recipes calls for sautéeing onions for 10 minutes, adding pomegranate juice, and cooking it down for another 10 minutes. Set the onions aside while you sauteé the liver. The liver is dredged in seasoned flour. Recipe calls for a tablespoon of flour. No way I could dredge a quarter-pound slice of calves’ liver in only a tablespoon of flour. I put a partial scoop of flour on a plate and seasoned it accordingly. The liver is cooked in half butter/ half oil for, she says, a minute or so on each side. I cooked mine a minute and a half on one side and a minute on the other and it was quite rare. That was fine by me; might not be so for others. The remaining pomegranate juice is added to the pan to deglaze and poured over the liver.

                                                                                  The onion called for here is regular yellow onion so the sweetness comes entirely from the caramelization and the pomegranate juice. I thought it was just delightful and hope I remember it a year or two from now when I decide to make liver again.

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                    blue room RE: JoanN Dec 4, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                                                    Though I don't like it "quite rare" I sure like liver! This with the pomegranate sounds especially nice. Lots of onions -- enough to call it a side dish!

                                                                                  2. w
                                                                                    Westminstress RE: blue room Dec 3, 2012 09:27 PM

                                                                                    Roast Cod with Pea Purée, p. 175

                                                                                    This is really just a review of the pea purée as there was no cod at the farmers market this week. It is delicious and very easy. I made a half recipe. Half a head of garlic is boiled for 10 minutes. Fish out the garlic, remove skins and chuck it back in the water with frozen peas. When the peas are cooked, drain and whiz in the FP with butter and creme fraiche. I also added salt. I halved the butter and cream to save calories and found the resulting purée excellent and quite rich enough for our tastes. Served with crusty bread and sautéed scallops, a great match. The entire meal took 20 minutes tops. What a great way to kick off the month!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                      blue room RE: Westminstress Dec 4, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                      Hmm. I made a purée of peas, garlic, butter, and parmesan from this book, for crostini (page 301.) The garlic was roasted for almost an hour. Now I wonder if boiling would do just as well?

                                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                                        w
                                                                                        Westminstress RE: blue room Dec 4, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                                                        She says in the book that the pea purée is a quicker version of the pea crostini. I don't see why you would need to roast the garlic. But for crostini, the addition of mint or Parmesan (or both) would be nice.

                                                                                    2. Gio RE: blue room Dec 5, 2012 05:10 AM

                                                                                      Vegetable Soup, Pg. 21

                                                                                      A true vegetable-packed hearty and nutritious soup this. Using a variety of veggies I had in the pantry plus some substitutions and additions created a satisfying one-pot meal. So hearty we didn't even need or want the crusty country bread I had at the ready.

                                                                                      The vegetables I used were chopped or diced: onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, leftover cooked yellow-eyed beans. While hauling things from the fridge I discovered a couple of small pieces of L/O grilled chicken and L/O rigatoni in tomato sauce so cut those down to bite sized pieces and threw them in as well. Each ingredient was sauteed at staggered times in hot olive oil, then a combination of homemade chicken broth and bean broth was added to the pot with a bouquet garni and allowed to bubble away on low heat for about 1/2 hour till everything was cooked through without becoming mushy. When the heat was turned off 2 T of dry sherry was stirred into the finished soup. Freshly grated Romano was sprinkled over top each serving. In the middle of dinner we both remembered we hadn't seasoned with S & P. The soup was so tasty we didn't miss it.

                                                                                      This is a wonderful meal to have for a variety of reasons. We both loved it and G had 3 helpings so I know it was a success...

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                        Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Dec 5, 2012 06:11 AM

                                                                                        That sounds like soul-soothing soup Gio!! I immediately craved a bowl while reading your review. I'll have to add this to the list and love that there's lots of room to improvise.

                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                          Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 5, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                          Thanks BC. There's a similar recipe for Minestrone on page 215 (I think it is) US edition. Up until the last minute I thought I'd make that one and while making the vegetable soup I kept glancing back and forth. But somehow the soup on page 21 suited what I wanted to do better.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Dec 5, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                                            I've been eyeing that Minestrone Gio!! I actually picked up some cooked chestnuts on the weekend and hope to make the Lentil Chestnut soup this week. It sounds so delicious to me.

                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                              w
                                                                                              Westminstress RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 5, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                                                              I did the same, BC. That one sounds really good to me too. I'm just waiting to get back into a soup mood and I'll have my chestnuts at the ready.

                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                            Berheenia RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 13, 2012 03:26 PM

                                                                                            I think this may be the one I make from this book. Thanks for making it sound so yummy.

                                                                                          3. re: Gio
                                                                                            greedygirl RE: Gio Dec 16, 2012 10:45 PM

                                                                                            Inspired by your post, and the veg mouldering in the fridge, I made this the other day. I used celery, onion, carrot, celeriac and potato. The soup is lovely and reminds me of the soupe aux legumes made by the mother of a French girl I used to stay with when I was a teen. Really tasty, and great at this time of year, when I feel like I need some vitamins (mince pie and cheese fatigue is already setting in)!

                                                                                          4. LulusMom RE: blue room Dec 5, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                                                            Linguine with Clams (p. 123 US version)

                                                                                            Crazily enough, I've never made linguine with clams before. Figured this was as good a time as any. The recipe is for one, so I tripled the amount of clams, garlic and vermouth and doubled the pasta. Basically start cooking your pasta, heat olive oil and toss in some garlic and hot pepper flakes and then when the pasta is almost done, put in the clams and vermouth and cover. My clams took a little longer (perhaps because there were more of them than she called for) but once they were open I put the pasta in with them and stirred it around a bit, then added parsley. Served with the flexitarian fennel salad and we all really liked it.

                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                              blue room RE: LulusMom Dec 5, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                                              When I think of "cooking for one" linguini with clams doesn't come to mind -- and that's a shame.

                                                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                                                LulusMom RE: blue room Dec 5, 2012 06:53 AM

                                                                                                I was thinking about this myself, and my feeling is that if I'm cooking for myself, I probably am not making a special trip to the store to do it, so I wouldn't have 15 clams sitting there waiting for me. But you're right - that's a shame. I think maybe back in the pre-parenthood days I would have made the extra effort to give myself a special treat.

                                                                                                1. re: blue room
                                                                                                  JoanN RE: blue room Dec 5, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                                  How interesting. I love linguine with clams and make it with some regularity. I don't think I've ever once made it to serve to anyone else. It's never been anything other than a cooking for one dish for me.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                    blue room RE: JoanN Dec 5, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                                    I've made Tres Leches Cake for myself when Mr. blue room is away, and Pad Thai, and roasted 1/2 leg of lamb, and (always!) liver, so I guess I take pretty good care of myself now that I think back.

                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: JoanN Dec 5, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                      I tend to make this for myself as well since mr bc doesn't love clams so it's a treat just for me!!!

                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                    Gio RE: LulusMom Dec 5, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                                                    Oddly enough I've never made linguine with clams either... at least not with Live clams in Shells...! My quick in a hurry LwC pasta dish is made with... tinned clams. EVOO, garlic, peperoncino, 2 cans of minced clams, oregano, dry vermouth. One of these days, though...

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Gio Dec 5, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                      You know, I think there is a reason for the fact that I had never made it until now. It was my ex-husband's (or first ex-husband, as I like to joke) favorite meal, and he was the one who wouldn't "let" me cook dinner. So maybe I saw it as one of his favorites, and since he was gone I was sort of cutting off my nose to spite my face. Silly me, and I'm so glad I've made it now.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                        Gio RE: LulusMom Dec 5, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                                                                        Ahhhhh... well, old bugaboos creep up every now and again, unfortunately. Nice to open a new door...

                                                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: Gio Dec 5, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                          Absolutely - door opened wide and everyone happy.

                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                      Westminstress RE: LulusMom Dec 25, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                      Linguine with Clams, p. 123

                                                                                                      Made this for a quiet Christmas Eve dinner following LLMs proportions. I didn't love it, but I can't blame Ms. Lawson. My clams took a lot longer to cook than the recipe indicated and the sauce remained watery, not reduced to a thick clammy goodness. I think this was because I was cooking too many clams at one time, and it would have been better with the original proportions. I have previously made a mark bittman recipe which came out better. When I get a minute I'll compare the two recipes and post back.

                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: Westminstress Dec 25, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                                        Ah geez, I'm so sorry my advice ruined your Christmas eve meal. I also made a pasta seafood dish (from epicurious) that was not all that it should be. Luckily the rest of the meal was wonderful so all was forgiven.

                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                          Westminstress RE: LulusMom Dec 25, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                                                                          Oh no worries, if it was super important I would have gone with something I knew for sure would work!

                                                                                                          Looking at the Bittman recipe (p. 146 of the old yellow HTCE), the ingredient proportions are similar to nigella's recipe, tripled (40 clams to 1 pound pasta), but the technique is quite different. He has you begin by cooking the clams with white wine until the majority are open, then remove from heat and strain the liquid. Saute garlic in olive oil, start pasta, then add back the clams to finish cooking. When pasta is almost done, drain and add to skillet w reserved clam juice. For larger amounts of pasta I think this is a better method as you have more control over the amount of liquid you are adding and the timing is easier to coordinate. I bet nigellas method works well in the proportions she specifies though.

                                                                                                    3. Breadcrumbs RE: blue room Dec 6, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                                      LENTIL AND CHESTNUT SOUP – p. 64 (Canadian Ed.)

                                                                                                      I’ve eaten a lot of soup over time but never in my soup travels have I come across this combination of ingredients. This soup sounded festive to me as well so when I saw how quick and easy it was to prepare (the secret is in the use of canned or bagged in my case, chestnuts) i just had to give it a try. This is totally do-able on a weeknight, especially if you use a food processor to mince your veggies.

                                                                                                      For those of you without the book, you’re in luck. This recipe is all over the www. I’m pasting a link here to NL’s recipe on Serious Eats which also includes a photo:

                                                                                                      http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                      I used my Bamix hand blender to puree the soup so my texture was a little coarser than that you’d get in the blender but we liked it nonetheless. I topped my soup w the suggested drizzle of cream and some minced chives and parsley.

                                                                                                      The soup is sweet and nutty however the flavours of the vegetables, particularly the celery and carrot were still discernable. We enjoyed this very much, a hearty, satisfying dish for an icy cold (yikes it’s still autumn!) night.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                        blue room RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 6, 2012 05:08 PM

                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs, what sort of stock did you use for the base of this soup?

                                                                                                        1. re: blue room
                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: blue room Dec 6, 2012 06:16 PM

                                                                                                          I went w vegetable, as set out in the recipe blue room. Nigella does say chicken would be fine but I didn't see a need for it and I have a fair bit of veggie stock in the freezer so it was good to use some up and clear a little space.

                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 7, 2012 06:32 AM

                                                                                                          BTW, I forgot to mention something in my original post about this dish. Nigella suggests that the soup be topped w some heavy cream...which I did. If I were to do this again, I would mix heavy cream w some sour cream to get a thicker texture. As you can see, despite its thick consistency, heavy cream bleeds easily and doesn't make for pretty plating. I figure if you've taken the time to make it, you might as well make it look nice when you plate it!!! Actually I don't really care if its just family but if I were entertaining, I'd like the dish to present well so it looks appetizing.

                                                                                                        3. q
                                                                                                          qianning RE: blue room Dec 7, 2012 11:26 AM

                                                                                                          Mackerel (Bluefish) in Cider, pg.179 US edition

                                                                                                          To skip to the punch line, this was OK, we were hungry and we finished it all, but a lot less than a wow. That could be because I subbed a nice bluefish fillet for the mackerel, which wasn't available at the fish store, but overall I thinks the sauce was lacking something; NL says it is "reassuringly pared down", and it is certainly easy, but, well, a bit dull.

                                                                                                          The prep & cooking is straightforward--lightly butter a heavy casserole, place the fish fillets in the pan, sprinkle with chopped shallots, pour over cider, I used Farnum Hill semi-dry, cover w/ foil bake in a hot oven for 20-25 min (the bluefish needed 28 min); remove the fish, reduce the sauce by half add creme fraiche or cream (i used cream), strain the sauce add to the plated fish, sprinkle with parsley, serve.

                                                                                                          NL suggests tasting the sauce and adjusting with lemon juice, but to us lemon just seemed wrong with these flavors, so we ended up adding a little dijon mustard to the extra sauce and that helped.

                                                                                                          1. Allegra_K RE: blue room Dec 7, 2012 06:42 PM

                                                                                                            Sunday Night Chicken Noodle Soup .161 UK edition (shamelessly lazy version)

                                                                                                            Okay, so I admit to an excess of sloth on the dinner front tonight, and there were many corners cut in this already-easy soup which made the prep even simpler. It was still perfectly what I needed on this frigid evening.

                                                                                                            A chicken breast is sliced up and marinated in sake, mirin, soy sauce, dried chile and crushed garlic. I had some leftover roast chicken shreds that I used instead, so I put the marinade ingredients directly to the simmering chicken broth (another lackadaisical approach was to employ the use of better than bouillon chx paste--do you ever have those days when even thawing out a bag of stock is too time-consuming?) Meanwhile, fresh egg noodles are cooked, and some variety of Asian green (bok choi for me) is tossed in for the last couple minutes, drained, and placed in a bowl, where the hot stock is poured over. I topped with sliced green onions instead of cilantro and lavishly spooned over some sambal oelek.

                                                                                                            This was so simple and tasty that I went back and threw another batch together after cleaning out my bowl almost immediately. I think what I liked about this was the ratio of sake was much higher than the soy sauce, so it had a sweet-ish mellow yet satisfying flavour that I much enjoyed. Certainly not a meal for company, but for a quick and effortless evening, it was just right.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                              lilham RE: Allegra_K Dec 12, 2012 05:11 AM

                                                                                                              Sunday Night Chicken Noodle Soup

                                                                                                              I used two chicken thighs for two, instead of one chicken breasts for one. I reckon two thighs are about the same size as one breast, so I didn't change the amount of marinade use. But it's 8 tbsp of liquid (sake, mirin and soy sauce), so my chicken thighs are absolutely swimming in the liquid. Normally I would reduce the amount, but I think I'll stick with NL's amount as maybe it is a 'dressing' for the noodles. Instead of a dried chilli, I used 1/2 tsp of very hot chilli flakes. NL said cook the chicken until the marinade dries out, leaving a glossy coat. This wasn't going to happen with the amount of liquid that I have.

                                                                                                              Meanwhile noodles are cooked, drained, and rinsed under cold water. I have courgettes in the fridge and I don't think it'll work very well simply boiled in a noodle soup. So I made the sweet and sour courgettes from Fuschia Dunlop's Every Grain with Rice as a side dish.

                                                                                                              Place noodels in bowls, pour over with stock (boiling water + marigold bouillon), and chicken with marinade. I think it took me about 15-20min to cook the noodle soup and the sweet and sour courgette. It's definitely a effortless weeknight dish. We liked it, but it's not a wow dish. I think adding sambal oelek or chilli oil on top will definitely help lift the taste a bit.

                                                                                                              (The courgettes were a very nice accompaniment to the noodles, by the way).

                                                                                                              1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                Allegra_K RE: lilham Dec 12, 2012 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                Sorry this was a bust for you. I did take quite a few liberties w/ the recipe but enjoyed it for what it was.
                                                                                                                Now for the sweet and sour courgette?! How can this recipe have escaped me! I'll have to check that one out immediately. I haven't spend nearly enough time with Dunlop's new book.

                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                  lilham RE: Allegra_K Dec 12, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                                                                                  Oh it isn't a bust. It's a easy pleasant enough to eat noodle soup.

                                                                                                                  The sweet and sour courgettes, on the other hand, is very nice. It's just stir fried courgettes seasoned with caster sugar, chinese brown vinegar and salt. But it's one of those dishes where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

                                                                                                            2. L.Nightshade RE: blue room Dec 9, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                                                                              Mashed Potatoes, Truffle Oil, and Warm (not Santa Barbara) Shrimp, page 68.

                                                                                                              I've had a hard time finding recipes in this book that appeal to me, and wouldn't you know, the first thing I came up with, is not really even a recipe, but just a description of a dish she had in a restaurant. (Which is why it doesn't quite fit into the page numbers above.) But it was in the EYB index, and I had everything I needed in the kitchen. In addition, the nearly instant preparation had appeal after a busy day.

                                                                                                              Although this dish is described as a starter, it was our main course. Here's what you do:
                                                                                                              Boil some potatoes and whip them up with butter and white pepper (I added a touch of cream).
                                                                                                              Add some quickly sautéed shrimp to the plate.
                                                                                                              Top the potatoes and shrimp with a swirl of truffle oil. (I added a spoonful of black truffle paste to the potatoes.)
                                                                                                              Dinner is served.

                                                                                                              I served it with a medley of roasted vegetables from our CSA.
                                                                                                              Delicious, and elegant. Especially for something so quick and easy!

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              35 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: L.Nightshade Dec 9, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                I definitely didn't notice this one, and am very glad you did. Sounds great.

                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                  L.Nightshade RE: LulusMom Dec 9, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                  Thanks! This was a good find, in her "freezer" section, following the recommendation that one should always have shrimp in the freezer. We had fresh, but it's a great idea for a quick meal with frozen shrimp too.

                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: L.Nightshade Dec 9, 2012 11:56 AM

                                                                                                                    I have to say, I always keep shrimp in the freezer. Scallops too. And a few compound butters. Never at a loss with those things and a box of pasta or some couscous. Except, of course, the vegetable ...

                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                      herby RE: LulusMom Dec 9, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                      My daughter always keeps frozen (nice, organic) veggies for when there is no time to shop/cook. They defrost and steam very quickly and are fine as is but would be delicious with one of your compound butters. I also keep shrimp and scallops in the freezer and going to try calmari as well.

                                                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                  Gio RE: L.Nightshade Dec 9, 2012 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                  I usually don't really Crave foods but I am so wanting huge giganticus shrimp right now I don't believe it. We don't buy farmed shrimp, the northern Maine shrimp aren't in season and they're tiny anyway..., the wild Gulf shrimp that we sometimes buy is an alternative but they're small too plus I think some sort of preservative is used on them so I'm reluctant to continue to buy them. What a dilemma. I'm so deprived. LOL

                                                                                                                  Your take on shrimp w mashed potatoes (something else I don't make very often) sounded me off, LN... And that photo!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                    L.Nightshade RE: Gio Dec 9, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                    These were wild gulf shrimp. They're a decent size. I didn't know about the preservative though! I'm careful about the scallops I buy, making sure they're dry, and not chemically bloated, now I'll know to ask about the shrimps also, so thanks! (They were very tasty, anyway.)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: Gio Dec 9, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                      I am fortunate in that my local market's fish counter always has wild gulf shrimp in a number of sizes, as I also won't buy farmed. I know they, like just about all shrimp sold, are usually previously frozen, but I'm not aware of any preservatives. I'd be interested in more info about that.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                        Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 10, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                        Cox's Key West Pink Shrimp and Georgia White Shrimp is what our local market, Market Basket in the northeast, sells. It's shipped frozen to the vendors in 12 oz or 16 oz packs either headless/shell on, or peeled & deveined and that's how we buy it. The white shrimp is available now and I should have bought it but didn't. I'll have to go back and get a package and then I'll be able to give you more information.

                                                                                                                        http://www.coxseafood.com/prod.htm

                                                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                      blue room RE: L.Nightshade Dec 9, 2012 11:13 AM

                                                                                                                      "...hard time finding recipes in this book that appeal..." Oh dear, for the second month now, I'm not enthusiastic, and I feel that others feel the same. And guess what, *tomorrow* we begin choosing a book for January.

                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: blue room Dec 9, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                        It's funny - I feel like most of this year I've had a hard time getting enthusiastic about the books chosen (even Melissa Clark, initially). I thought it was just me. Certainly others have raved about 660 Curries and Planet BBQ.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                          Gio RE: LulusMom Dec 9, 2012 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                          It isn't just you, LLM... and Blue Room too. I just can't get as enthusiastic as I did with Nigel, Ottolenghi, Jamie, Jacques... for instance. I didn't even open 660 even though I'd cooked quite a few recipes in the past.I thought I'd Love the Union Sq, books. I thought I'd certainly find enough recipes from Nigella's book to get excited about. So far, not so. After the New Year I'm definitely going to rethink both our style of cooking and the desire to reduce even further the amount of meat we eat... Perhaps we need a recap thread for an end-of-year critique. (shrug)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: Gio Dec 9, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                            I feel like maybe if I'd been around more in November I could have gotten into the USC books more. I haven't written them off, but at the same time, yeah, they didn't really sing to me. I could only get my hands on one of the Japanese books (from the library) and as much as I love that food, it seemed like somehow too much. It wasn't even like we were away as much as usual, although maybe my husband was away a lot and so I cooked less. I had a lot more fun with Radically Simple and Mighty Spice than I did with most of the COTMs. (joining Gio in a shrug)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                              Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Dec 10, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                              I've been thinking about your suggestion for a year end critique Gio. I wonder if we should focus on what works for us? I went back to look at the historical COTM threads to see which I'd pick as my favourite months. I was thinking maybe if we had a thread where we all reflected on this we might come up with some things we all agree on that make for a good COTM. If there's interest in a thread like this, I'm happy to post it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 10, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                I'm game!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                  MelMM RE: Breadcrumbs Dec 10, 2012 08:24 AM

                                                                                                                                  I like this idea. Would the thread cover just this year, or could we look back over a few years?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                    JoanN RE: MelMM Dec 10, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                    We've had whither thou goest COTM threads in the past that have been a forum for each of us to discuss what we thought worked and what didn't and why. I don't think I, for one, could have that conversation without going back and reviewing choices made in the early days.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                      Ok, I've set up a new thread for us to share our thoughts on what makes for a great COTM...books that worked well, and why. Here's the link:

                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8813...

                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                blue room RE: LulusMom Dec 9, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                I was happy and looking forward until the Union Square Cafe books chiseled little chisel marks into my expectations. And now Nigella seems ... just less than what I expected from a "star". Jeesh I'm being silly, maybe. Maybe just the holiday blues. I'm interested in everything a little, but nothing a lot.

                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                  L.Nightshade RE: blue room Dec 9, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                  I'm on the same page. Makes it important to come up with something we'll all love for January!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                    blue room RE: L.Nightshade Dec 9, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                    Haha, on the other hand, L.Nightshade, the Home Cooking Dish of the Month has been a blast! Fun recipes, good recipes! Heated discussions!

                                                                                                                                    I *should* be a cheerleader for COTM, still 22 days in December, though.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                    Berheenia RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                                    I agree with you esp about Union Square

                                                                                                                                    BUT

                                                                                                                                    The bar nuts were the hit of my Thanksgiving eve dinner party meeting the new in-laws and they even asked for the rest (I made a ton) to take with them. So God Bless the bar nuts Tiny Tim.

                                                                                                                                    I do love Nigella rhapsodizing on her pantry and her freezer so sometimes cookbooks are just for reading.

                                                                                                                                2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                  MelMM RE: blue room Dec 9, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                  Me too, or is it me three or four? I have read through the Nigella book a few times now, and while I enjoy reading it, when I get to a recipe, I just think, "meh". I feel like it's either something I don't really want to make, or I have a better version somewhere else. It's been a rough year for my COTM participation in general, because of travel, and I've missed out entirely on a few months. But this one, it's just lack of enthusiasm on my part.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                    Westminstress RE: MelMM Dec 9, 2012 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                    I've had the same issue, which is why I've had the book for years but never really cooked from it until this COTM. So far I've had one hit and one miss, and most people's reviews have been pretty positive. I'm planning on doing one or two recipes a week, which is as much as I could do from any book. I'm finding that as I spend more time with the book, more things sound good to me.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM
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                                                                                                                                      limoen RE: MelMM Dec 10, 2012 12:22 AM

                                                                                                                                      It's definitely not a flashy cookbook, and also (I think), it feels slightly dated now (it came out in the late 1990s and they way people eat has changed a lot since then). I prefer Nigella's 'Kitchen' myself, which feels more up-to-date and reflective of the way people eat now.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: limoen
                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                        MelMM RE: limoen Dec 10, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                        The lack of flash certainly is not a problem for me. Some of my favorites cookbooks are the ones with no pictures whatsoever. And being dated is not necessarily a problem for me either. I many books much older than this one that Iove (my copy says 2002, so it is not really that old). I'll happily cook from one of Elizabeth David's books (from the 50's) or Richard Olney's (from the 70's), and the food doesn't seem dated at all.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                        JoanN RE: MelMM Dec 10, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                        I think the problem with "How to Eat" is that it's not "our" kind of book. And by "our" I mean those of us who know how to cook, have dozens if not hundreds of cookbooks, are looking for something new, and are not put off by a challenge. This would be a great book for someone just starting out, especially someone who is anxious in the kitchen, who hasn't cooked much before, and is suddenly in the position of having to get a meal on the table on a regular basis. I like her comforting tone and her if-you-don't-have-this-use-that attitude. But that's the way most of us cook when we're not using a cookbook. It's not what we turn to a cookbook for.

                                                                                                                                        I agree with you totally, MelMM, that every time I see something in the book I think I might want to make, I immediately think of another recipe in another book that I'd probably like a lot better. Or I just decide to make it the way I usually do. For the most part, I don't need a cookbook to to make these dishes. I don't think most of us do.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                                                          Westminstress RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                          Joan, I think this is a really good point.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                            MelMM RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                            Joan, I think you have pinpointed the issue and explained it much better than I could.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                              Gio RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                              Yes. I think in my case I'm simply frustrated with this book and with several recent COTMs. Not enough excitement with the ingredients. Not enough deliciousness for my effort. I won't quit HTE entirely but I'm going to revert to either my own food or revisit other books I love. Actually, I've done that right along but now I have a renewed interest.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                                                limoen RE: Gio Dec 10, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                The recipes also for the most part do not fit my style of cooking - they seem a bit heavy and 'classical', if that doesn't seem too odd

                                                                                                                                              2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                blue room RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2012 11:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                I don't vote while I'm coordinating (for these 6 months) but I was impressed that Nigel Slater said "How To Eat" was one of the most influential cookbooks of all time. Reading that, I was offically swayed, and would have voted for it. http://thebrowser.com/interviews/nige...

                                                                                                                                                Now I know better! More and more, I'm thinking I should collect recipes, not cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                  greedygirl RE: JoanN Dec 12, 2012 01:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I think Joan has hit the nail on the head. I loved this book when I first got it and wasn't an experienced cook, but have moved beyond it. I like her writing, but haven't bought a Nigella book for years as I find her recipes somewhat derivative.

                                                                                                                                                  Having said that, I am grateful to her forthe chocolate puddings recipe, which I've made many times!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                  eperdu RE: MelMM Dec 10, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I haven't finished looking through the book yet (which shows how unenthused I am about it) but haven't, to this point, found anything that stands out to me.

                                                                                                                                                  The reviews on the recipes have been lukewarm at best which further dampens my enthusiasm.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm happy I did not purchase this book.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eperdu
                                                                                                                                                    g
                                                                                                                                                    grubstreet RE: eperdu Dec 13, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I bought this book years ago and have never really cooked from it. I hoped this thread would reinspire me, but I guess it's just made me realise why I haven't found it useful. But I will give at least one recipe a try before I give up.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grubstreet
                                                                                                                                                      eperdu RE: grubstreet Dec 13, 2012 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I figured out (I think) why it's not working for me. It's very informally written. I have a hard time telling if I'm reading a recipe or a story. It's more like a memoir with some recipes. Yet, it's not as enjoyable. I can't, at a glance, tell what I'm supposed to be reading or seeing.

                                                                                                                                                      I'll keep looking and I plan on trying some of the things as well just to give it a fair whack!

                                                                                                                                            2. l
                                                                                                                                              limoen RE: blue room Dec 9, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                                              Kafkaesque soft and crispy duck, from Cooking in Advance, p.100-102, and petit pois a la francaise, same chapter, p.119

                                                                                                                                              The duck is based on a Barbara Kafka recipe. You poach the duck (up to three days in advance, hence its place in the chapter) for half an hour, then roast it for 45 degrees in a 220C oven. This was good. The flesh was a bit dry, although the poaching is meant to prevent this. However, this was probably my doing as we bought a frozen duck and it didn't defrost properly, so there was some desperate extra poaching and fishing out of the bag of giblets. Also, the recipe alludes to roasting at the oven's highest temperatureas well as at 220, so I tried that out, but think I will do it at 220 in the future as the hottest oven temp (260C for me) was probably too much.

                                                                                                                                              I should note that although I say 'recipe', it's one of those long narrative ones which is actually quite difficult to read as a set of instructions, though Nigella's instructions and story are cheerful and do provide comfidence - as she says she did test out the recipe as conclusively as can be!

                                                                                                                                              Nigella didn't specify, but I seasoned the duck liberally before popping in the oven. What was striking was how much fat was rendered off during poaching (there was a thick slick of duck grease floating at the top) and how unfatty the finished, roasted duck was. The poached, not yet roasted duck does look pretty grim: grey, flabby, unappetising. Roasted, it was golden-bronze and crispy. I've never done a duck before and this was a good method.

                                                                                                                                              The petit pois a la francaise were good - it was a fairly standard recipe. The teaspoon of sugar made it maybe a bit too sweet for my taste, I might do without next time. I made this for a dinner party and it was really convenient to have a side that went well with duck that just needed to be reheated.

                                                                                                                                              I made baked caramel apples for afters and will write about that on the relevant thread. Looking forward to more!

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: limoen
                                                                                                                                                Gio RE: limoen Dec 10, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                Nice review, Limoen. I haven't made baked apples in a very long time. These may just be in my future. Isn't it curious that many if not most reports are coming from the incidental recipes tucked away in almost hidden paragraphs?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                                                  limoen RE: Gio Dec 10, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. I think it might be because her informal recipes are a bit quicker and more spur of the moment, or use leftovers. Most of her proper recipes are a bit too 'big' for two people. I made the chickpea soup before, about two years ago, and although it was DELICIOUS there was so much of it that we ended up throwing it away because it had actually spoiled, and we were totally sick of it after day 6 or whatever it was. A keeper for people who have slightly larger families though!

                                                                                                                                              2. Savour RE: blue room Dec 11, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                Gooey Chocolate Puddings -- Again, I don't have the page number, but it's in Fast Food in one of those after work dinner party menus.

                                                                                                                                                I haven't made these this month, but this recipe is my go to dessert recipe if I want super quick, super delicious, pantry ingredients. It takes about 5 minutes to assemble plus 10 minutes in the oven, and it's a showstopper. I've made this when the dessert I planned failed for whatever reason (custard curdled, galette filling ran all over the pan, caramel too dark) and it's foolproof. A standard piece of my repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                  lilham RE: Savour Dec 11, 2012 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                  +1 from me too. I've cooked this one many times before to rave reviews.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                    q
                                                                                                                                                    qianning RE: lilham Dec 11, 2012 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I could use a fall back dessert; will have to look into this.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                      greedygirl RE: lilham Dec 12, 2012 01:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                      And me. Great recipe.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Savour Dec 11, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Page 169 US edition for the gooey chocolate puddings.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                        herby RE: Savour Dec 11, 2012 01:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Page 187 in UK edition.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                          Gio RE: Savour Dec 13, 2012 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I'd like to make this gooey chocolate pudding but I haven't cooked dessert or worked with chocolate for a very long time. Just what kind or label of " best-quality bittersweet chocolate" should I buy?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath RE: Gio Dec 13, 2012 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Gio, if you shop at Trader Joe's, I recommend their Pound Plus (actually 500g) Belgian chocolate, which is actually Callebaut, very high quality for an incredible price. I favor the 72%, but they also have what they call Dark, which I believe is 57%. If you don't want to buy such a big chunk of chocolate and 72% bittersweet works for you, you could grab a couple of the 3.5 oz fair trade organic Belgian bars (my standard buy for nibbling), which are by the checkout. TJ's also has the best prices on 3.5 oz Valrhona bars, and you can *never* go wrong with Valrhona.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 13, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                              This is fantastic advice - I never knew their chocolate was Callebaut. So many people are raving about this dessert that I think I need to get to TJs and then make it. Thanks Caitlin.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                lilham RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 13, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                In the UK the dark chocolates are 70-90%. So the 72% is the one I think you should get. I always use the 70% as I found the 90% quite bitter.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                  Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 14, 2012 05:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for that information, Caitlin. I've made note of it and will look for the 72% Pound Plus Belgian when we go to TJ's on the weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                  Savour RE: Gio Dec 13, 2012 03:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I know this is slumming but I frequently make it with the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, which I'm more likely to keep in my pantry than other chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                                    Gio RE: Savour Dec 14, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Savour, that's good to know...

                                                                                                                                                              2. LulusMom RE: blue room Dec 12, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Red Mullet (Tilapia) with garlic and rosemary (p. 168 US ed)

                                                                                                                                                                We liked this. In fact my husband and Lulu loved it. I wasn't totally sure I got the point of the rosemary, but still and all, this was a quick and tasty meal. You combine minced garlic, minced rosemary and minced orange zest (I just zested my orange and didn't mice the zest) and cook this briefly in a hot pan with oil. Add the fish (skin side down if you have the red mullet called for) and cook for a few minutes, turn over, take out the fish and keep warm while adding vermouth or white wine to the pan to deglaze. The orange and garlic give this a semi-Chinese taste, and I pushed that along by serving with egg noodles in sesame oil (also some roasted butternut squash). I'd definitely make this again, probably with a bit less rosemary.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
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                                                                                                                                                                  qianning RE: LulusMom Dec 12, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I have this one tagged, glad to hear it is tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                2. blue room RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Victoria Sponge

                                                                                                                                                                  This was a very disappointing fail for me. It was going to be the first step for my classic English Trifle.

                                                                                                                                                                  This cake is made in a food processor. Nigella says you make up for the lack of air being beaten in by adding more baking powder. I used all the ingredients as written, but wow I had flat greasy eggy cake rounds when I was done.

                                                                                                                                                                  Sigh, will I try try again? Too soon to tell, have to get over wasting expen$ive butter first :)

                                                                                                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                    q
                                                                                                                                                                    qianning RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    oh dear, poor you.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      That just stinks. Any of you British cooks out there have any idea why this must have gone wrong?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                        Allegra_K RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Too bad this didn't work out! Is there a way to salvage it with an excess of whipped cream, custard and succulent berry juices, or a tres leches of sorts?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: Allegra_K Dec 13, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Wonderful idea!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh no!

                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                            q
                                                                                                                                                                            qianning RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Basic Roast Chicken, p 7 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                            Gio & Big Sal have already done a great job of describing this one. It has been a long time since I made this simple of a roast chicken, M. Hazan has a similar recipe and that's the last one I remember using, but I liked this one better- this high heat method with added shallots in the pan (skipped the garlic, based on Big Sal's experience and my own wishy-washy attitude about roast garlic), really delivered a moist and tasty bird.

                                                                                                                                                                            We started with a few local oysters, had this roast chicken with an excellent Caesar salad, and finished with the gooey chocolate pudding. A nice little black dress of a meal, simple and elegant.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: qianning Dec 13, 2012 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I baked this chicken this morning before work, then had my husband let it rest, then shove it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge on his way out the door. We'll have it for dinner tonight, so I'll be able to comment on how it turns out reheated. It's a very pretty bird.

                                                                                                                                                                              I had intended to do the potatoes, and the garlic and the shallots, too, but I ran out of time for the potatoes, my garlic turned out to be in too sad a shape to use...so I also only did the shallots!

                                                                                                                                                                              We shall see!

                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                q
                                                                                                                                                                                qianning RE: The Dairy Queen Dec 13, 2012 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Hoping it works out for you, TDQ. The shallots were fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                BTW, I thought I posted my write up on the chicken w/ Gio's & Big Sal's, but it is showing up under BR's write up on the sponge cake....is that how it is appearing for other folks?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                                  Allegra_K RE: qianning Dec 13, 2012 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Indeed. Another editing glitch, I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                    q
                                                                                                                                                                                    qianning RE: Allegra_K Dec 13, 2012 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    probably I wasn't paying enough attention, but I could swear i put the posts in the right place....the new layout must have confused me....anyway, sorry to have messed up the thread organizations folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio RE: qianning Dec 13, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Like one of those guilty secret moments I ate the left over roasted shallots a few days later, one by one popped into my mouth then squeezed through my teeth. They were as sweet as candy. That's one thing I can take away from How To Eat...LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: The Dairy Queen Dec 15, 2012 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    So, this is really a non-reporting back on the basic roast chicken. As I reported previously, I roasted this in the morning before work, then asked my husband to let it rest, then pop it into the fridge before he left for work. So, we've basically eaten this chicken as leftovers. It's a lovely color and tastes good, but I realize I can't really say much more than that as what can one say about reheated roast chicken? There's no way for it to be superlative under the circumstances, I'm afraid.

                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                  q
                                                                                                                                                                                  qianning RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Gooey Chocolate Puddings, pg. 169 (US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks to Savour & Lilham for pointing this one out. Over the years I've made a couple of different versions of these molten/gooey chocolate puddings/cakes. Both Mr. QN & I agree this was the best one yet. And the added plus is it was also the quickest and easiest. As far as I can see the only trick is to use good chocolate. BTW, I made a half recipe, and it worked fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                    blue room RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, sweet all of you, for the commiseration over the Victoria Sponge. I'm not above eating little chunks of it, like very odd custardy cookie things.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm watching the new nominations, we need a sharp sure winner next month!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                      Gio RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Victoria Sponge has such a nice ring to it. I'm so sorry it turned out to be not so nice, BR.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                        blue room RE: Gio Dec 13, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        It wasn't Kate Sponge or Diana Sponge Or Elizabeth Sponge or even Hairy Sponge ;) you'd think the *Victoria Sponge* would be perfectly perfect like I imagine British things to be. Next time...

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                        Savour RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh dear. I think I tried this once (though it may, in retrospect, have been the one from Domestic Goddess)- it turned out beautifully. I even took a picture!

                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                                                          blue room RE: Savour Dec 13, 2012 05:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, beautiful, Savour! It's how I pictured it!
                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you happen to remember if you used a food processor to make it?
                                                                                                                                                                                          I like your modern/royal dessert plates too--charming!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                            lilham RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 10:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have made NLs Victoria sponge once or twice. I'm sure I follow her instructions and used the food processor. They turn out fine as far as I can remember. But I think I follow the one in domestic goddess like Savour. I'm not much of a baker so not sure what went wrong with yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: blue room Dec 14, 2012 12:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Could old baking powder be the culprit? Here's how to test your baking powder should you have any left: http://www.thekitchn.com/baking-trick...

                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                            blue room RE: The Dairy Queen Dec 14, 2012 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Baking powder ok --

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if I just plain left out half the flour or doubled the sugar or butter or something -- though the batter seemed...like batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            But if lilham used the processor with good results it looks more and more like incompetent-baker-near-oven!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: blue room Dec 14, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              You know sometimes stuff like that just happens. I did that with cookie dough once. I was doubling the recipe and forgot to double the flour. Everything just seemed so wrong with the batter until I realized what I'd done. I was lucky I figured it out in time, but that's a lot easier to do when you're dealing with a recipe you're familiar with. When you're trying something new, and in this case, Nigella's short-cut compared to a traditional trifle, those little (or not so little mistakes) can unfortunately be kind of tragic.

                                                                                                                                                                                              At least you have a good attitude about it! I hate it when I waste my time and my precious ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                lilham RE: blue room Dec 14, 2012 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Just a thought, are all the ingredients at room temperature? ie soft butter, eggs, milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Savour RE: blue room Dec 13, 2012 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Beef Stroganoff

                                                                                                                                                                                            Another lack of page numbers for me, but it's in fast food.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Butter, onions, more butter, mushrooms (I used cremini instead of white button), more butter, steak, finished with a dab of mustard and sour cream (I used instead of creme fraiche) - heart attack on a plate but SO delicious. I like stroganoff over noodles, so I put the water on to boil as soon as I entered the kitchen. Began with unsliced mushrooms, whole onions, and semi-frozen steak (need to adjust the settings on my meat drawer) and the dish was, indeed, finished by the time the noodles finished boiling. I wasn't super precise with the measurements (I have the UK edition and my kitchen scale doesn't do metric, so I do a lot of estimating in my head) but this is the type of recipe for which it doesn't matter. It's not a super saucy stroganoff, but that's fine by me!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. blue room RE: blue room Dec 16, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Lamb with Garlicky Tahini p. 174

                                                                                                                                                                                              This was fine, but won't sway me from my usual lamb recipes. I think I knew how it would taste and yep, that's how it tasted, for some reason I wasn't excited about it. If I hadn't been the one cooking it--? I might have been more enthusiastic.
                                                                                                                                                                                              It *was* quick -- absolutely no problem getting this together fast. Marinate meat in olive oil, lemon, onion, cumin. Nigella says "at least" 10 minutes, I let it go 20.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Then flick off the onion pieces and sear 'til sexy, then into a 425º F oven. It is done in 10 - 15 minutes -- you're the judge of doneness of course.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The sauce is tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt, and water. The sauce is pourable like heavy cream, and gets a sprinkle of more cumin to finish it.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I used regular lamb chops (not noisettes) and halved the recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Did this "wow" anyone else? I love lamb so much, it seems like there are better things than the peanut-buttery flavor of tahini to show off lamb.

                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                Allegra_K RE: blue room Dec 16, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                You had me at "sear til' sexy"--your words?

                                                                                                                                                                                                Gorgeous photo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                  JoanN RE: blue room Dec 17, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lamb with Garlicky Tahini (page 174, US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The chops were already defrosting in the fridge with this recipe in mind when blue room posted her review. Not sure exactly why, but I decided to proceed with it anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did a couple of things differently. My chops were thick loin chops, not blade chops, and I marinated them for about two hours. I also, by mistake, added the lemon juice that was intended for the tahini sauce to the marinade and then needed to add more to the tahini. I liked both the chops and the sauce. If I made this again, I’d up the amount of cumin in the marinade, but the flavor came through even with the small amount called for. And I was pleasantly surprised by the sauce. I thought the garlic, lemon, and cumin tempered the peanut butteryness of the tahini and made a sauce that was surprisingly compatible with the lamb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I’m not saying I loved this, but it’s not on my don’t ever make again list either. Isn’t it interesting how two different cooks following the same recipe can have two such different experiences? COTM at its best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I served this with her suggested bulghur wheat from the “Cooking in Advance” chapter which was a total bust. It’s just cooked bulghur; no flavorings, no nothing. Big time blah and too boring to be worth writing up separately. Anyone have any suggestions for what to do with a LOT of leftover cooked bulghur?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: JoanN Dec 17, 2012 07:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you happen to enjoy hot cereals for breakfast and your bulgur wasn't cooked in stock (I don't have the book to hand), it's good reheated with some milk, plus a spoonful raisins or other dried fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated nutmeg if you like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                      JoanN RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 17, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you, Caitlin. That sounds just perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Westminstress RE: JoanN Dec 17, 2012 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd just turn it into salad - maybe something along the lines of tabbouleh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby RE: Westminstress Dec 17, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Same here - would use it as in any grain salad - wheat berries, quinoa, etc. Even as in a rice salad it should work well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. q
                                                                                                                                                                                                    qianning RE: blue room Dec 16, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Steak au Poivre pg. 137 (US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We stumbled home late on Friday after a long week of work and Christmas shopping and lots of other craziness, I had thought to defrost two small steaks before we left in the morning, but that was the sum total of meal planning. Somewhere in the back of my head I remembered that Nigella had a few steak recipes, so I opened the book to flip through and went straight for the simplest one there is. And proceeded to not really follow the recipe, I was grilling, not pan frying, so, no brandy no butter and no cream for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But, unusually for me I did use a little olive oil on the steak before adding the cracked pepper as she recommends; and more significantly her little note about the types of pepper to use reminded me there are more possibilities in the poivre department than I usually think of, including a few that aren't strictly speak pepper at all (to paraphrase NL). So my steak au poivre included black pepper, white pepper, and Szechuan peppercorns. You know, it was a really nice blend. And furthermore, I think I like Nigella for this sort of simple hint on everyday dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. lilham RE: blue room Dec 27, 2012 05:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cherried and Chickpea'd Couscous, UK edition p205

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is part of a menu in the Fast Food chapter. It's served with a rack of lamb and baked figs. The lamb looks to me to be simply marinated with cinnamon and chilli oil. Since we don't eat lamb, I served the couscous with pan fried chicken (seasoned with five spice, salt and pepper). I also added roast carrots since I think the menu lacked vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The couscous is simply cooked with cinnamon, cumin, salt and stock. Then mixed with sour cherries, pine nuts and chickpeas when cooked. What can I say about it? It's incredibly bland. It tasted not much more than my normal couscous with olive oil, salt and stock. I think this is good accompaniment to a very saucy dish (eg a stew), but then so will a plate of cooked couscous. It just doesn't work with pan fried chicken. I don't think the original pairing with rack of lamb would work either since it doesn't look like it will have a lot of sauce. The only difference maybe is that lamb is a lot fattier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Edit: I am not saying this is not good. But it's not something you need to follow a recipe for. It's simply couscous cooked to mop up juices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. geekmom RE: blue room Dec 29, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Almond and Orange-blossom cake - p 115 (US ed.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a simple frangipane cake with loads of orange flavour from juice, zest and orange blossom water. I made it as part of the "Mildly Wintry Dinner for 8" menu which I have commented on (at great length) in the appropriate thread here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8799...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Assuming you don't have to blanch and grind your own almonds, like I did, this is a very quick and simple cake to make. It tastes better after sitting for a day or so, which means if you're trying to cook ahead for a dinner party, you can get the dessert taken care of a couple of days ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I read and re-read Nigella's comments about what to serve with this cake & eventually decided to make a cherry compote, which she enthusiastically recommends in the intro to this cake recipe. Unless it's buried somewhere in the book and not indexed, there is no recipe for cherry compote in the book (gah!!) so I used a cherry compote recipe from the Ottolenghi restaurant blog, shown here http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/c...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        (By the way, this rice pudding is a very easy and incredibly delicious dessert for a dinner party and it looks stunning layered in wine glasses with some dried rose petals and pistachios sprinkled on top - it's one of those dishes that looks like you slaved for hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        )

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This was a great combination - the orange blossom water in the cake hints at a middle eastern/north African flavour profile and the compote built on to this with the cinnamon and rose water flavourings. A nice dessert. I think the cake really needed the liquid from the cherry compote as it was a little on the dry side for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh - one comment about the cake -- a lot of the butter in the mix frothed up and out of the springform pan and ended up on the floor of my oven after baking. I don't know if this was my fault due to some issue with the way I mixed the batter, but if you try this recipe I urge you to put a big tray on the oven rack underneath the one you're baking your cake on!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        (I keep complaining that Nigella needs an editor, but if you've actually read all the paragraphs of commentary I've produced this morning you are probably thinking I need one too. Sorry for being so verbose ;-) )

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gio RE: geekmom Dec 29, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not verbose at all Geekmom. You've written a wonderful, all inclusive report not only of this recipe but the other dishes you made for your dinner partry. You've saved future makers of the cake some heavy time... Brava on everything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                          limoen RE: blue room Dec 30, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made Anna's chick pea and pasta soup from Cooking in Advance (p.89 in the British edition). I have made this before, pre-COTM, so adapted it very slightly based on previous experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I soaked the chickpeas with water but didn't add the bicarb and flour paste. It does break down chickpeas very efficiently but I usually don't want them that mushy unless making hummous. I haven't had the experience of absolutely rock-hard chickpeas as Nigella seems to have had - or maybe I like them more al dente than the norm?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So, the dried chickpeas were cooked in some chicken stock. I did add the occasional splash of white wine as suggested as an option. Rosemary and smushed-up garlic were placed in little muslin bags for reasy removal. (According to Nigella's instructions, the rosemary definitely needs to be removed; the instructions are a bit more vague on the garlic but I think I am correct in removing it). They're removed once the chickpeas are tender - Nigella says 2-4 hours, mine were done after 45 minutes, despite her claim that they don't get tender in this time. I gave it an hour to extract more flavour from the rosemary and garlic bundles. Then sieved tomatoes are added. At this point the soup can be put away, the final pasta flourish to be added when you eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The last time I made this, I added all the pasta, which absorbed the remaining stock, leading to a cold and unappetising pasta-chickpea lump in te fridge. This time, I used mini shell pasta (so adorable) and decanted some soup to a smaller pan, only adding a handful in of pasta (i.e. suffiicent for the amount we were to eat, with more pasta to be cooked in later).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This soup is quite hands off and delicious, packed full of flavour despite its simple ingredients and very hearty and filling. Next time I might simmer the rosemary and garlic in the stock for a little while before adding in the chickpeas to give them an opportunity to imbue the stock with even more flavour. In this case, I do think homemade chicken stock added a lot to the soup. If you box up leftovers, though, most of the stock gets absorbed by any remaining pasta and chickpeas, and I had to add some extra liquid to reheat.

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