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Archive for the tag “Lobster”

Mélange à trois: jelly, empanadas, rice rolls

Some weeks the urge to mix it up is irresistible. With our lockdown clan (The Husband, the two daughters and me) reunited for my birthday, this was just such a week.

We needed celebration. We needed snacking. We needed playful food.

We needed celebration. We needed snacking. We needed playful food. Enter Guardian Feast Issue No.178 the let me entertain you issue with Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly, Felicity Cloake’s perfect cheese empanadas and Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls.

My challenge to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021 (find out more about that here), continues apace. This week it was lovely to have the return of the eldest daughter’s nimble fingers and strict kitchen protocol.

Read on for the usual useful insights into tackling unknown recipes and tempting mouthwatering deliciousness.

The photo of Ravneet’s beautiful pineapple and coconut jelly was simultaneously droolingly succulent and terrifying. I wanted to grab a spoon and plunge it into the photo but I wanted Ravneet to make it for me. However, part of my reason for tackling a recipe a week from Feast is to wrestle through recipes I would otherwise skip over. Here goes.

Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly

We only have one jelly mould in the house and I felt a tad offended that The Husband considered it ‘eccentric’ for the jelly in hand. I mean, it is ‘a great jelly mould’ as required by Ravneet, perhaps just not the one she had in mind (see below).

My lobster jelly mould. Perhaps not quite the ‘great jelly mould’ for Ravneet’s spectacular pineapple and coconut jelly

It’s a wibbly wobbly pina colada!

Since the coconut jelly (a delicious smooth, creamy panna cotta) must set before the pineapple wobble is poured on top of it, I made this over two days (I’m learning to read a recipe properly before I start it!). I used the gelatin powder I had in stock, rather than the recommended platinum leaves. It seemed fine. I ended up with more of both jellies than required – a small ramekin of the coconut and double pineapple and lime! My daughter was clearly right in her interpretation of the recipe: ‘400g pineapple, trimmed, peeled and cut into small chunks’ means the unpeeled and untrimmed weight. Oh well, double dibs on pineapple jelly? No one’s complaining.

If I were to make this gorgeous party centrepiece again – it’s a wibbly wobbly pina colada, why wouldn’t I? – I would clingfilm the surface of the coconut panna cotta to prevent it forming a slightly rubbery skin while it’s setting (although The Husband loved the ‘texture’).

Wibble wobble, lobster jelly on a plate: my take on Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly. Pina colada on a plate!

The eldest daughter picked up the baton for Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls and Felicity Cloake’s perfect cheese empanadas to create a welcome home feast for the youngest daughter.

Feleicity Cloake’s the perfect… cheese empanadas

The eldest daughter ordered in masarepa (pre-cooked cornmeal) specially to make these golden cheese toasty wraps.

The biggest challenge was (as Felicity hints) handling the corn pastry. Felicity counsels ‘handling it with wet hands at all times’. The issue for us was that the pastry tore and holed really easily. Wet hands helped but the biggest breakthrough was using extra masarepa and greaseproof paper in the envelope creation. That way you barely need to touch the empanadas with your hands.

Felicity suggests a range of acceptable extras to add to your cheesy filling. To be honest ours needed a bit of flavour-plumping – the blend of mozzarella and halloumi was not the most flavoursome. We all agreed that we’d add jalapeno peppers in the mix next time and probably change the cheese combo for something with a bit more oomph. We baked ours – although I can see the appeal of deep frying!

Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls

Like Ravneet’s jelly, Yotam’s vegan rice rolls look so pretty and appealing on the page. We couldn’t wait to recreate them. Yotam’s right to call them ‘zingy’. Bursting with pine nuts, sesame seeds, chestnuts, ginger, garlic and chilli, they have exactly the right balance of chew and crunch and zest and heat.

The eldest daughter took charge of prep while I got the shitake shrooms soaking and searched out the rest of the ingredients. Instead of adding the fried ingredients to the cold marinated tofu, we popped the tofu in the pan and let it warm through and soak up the soy saucy flavours. Other than that, we stuck to Yotam’s instructions. Bish bash bosh: top nosh.

Original recipes:

Ravneet Gill pineapple and coconut jelly

Felicity Cloake the perfect… cheese empanadas

Yotam Ottolenghi – zingy tofu rice paper rolls

Mélange à trois. What a feast!

One foot slow

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail.

“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.

See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!

They are waiting on the shingle — will you come and join the dance”

The Mock Turtle’s Song, Lewis Carroll
Lobster and oysters of love
Lobster and oysters of love: What more could a girl want for Valentine’s?

I’m celebrating my love of the food columns and supplements in The Guardian by trying to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021. Find out a bit more about that here.

Issue No.161 of Guardian Feast is celebrating the delights of slow food. As Yotam Ottolenghi puts it: ‘things that take a long time to cook, but don’t require much of yours to do so’. This makes perfect sense to those of us who want a delicious meal at the end of the day but don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours prepping and primping sprout leaves after a hard day doing whatever it is we’ve been doing. This week, however, slow food has a whole different meaning for some of us.

I had a foot op on Wednesday which means I am supposed to sit all day every day for weeks on end with my feet up (excepting five minutes’ crutchy hobbling in each hour to prevent DVT and allow loo breaks). Hence, I cannot cook. I can only look. Look and plan what I will cook when I can. And suggest to The Husband and the eldest daughter which recipes they might like to tackle and blog about for me from this week’s Feast. This, in between asking them to fetch my laptop/glass of water/glasses/book/ from one room to another. It’s very frustrating. Particularly for them.

I’m delighted to see recipes from Rukmini Iyer in this week’s issue. I bought her beautiful and well-conceived The Roasting Tin Around the World for the student daughter for Christmas, hoping to lure her away from the beguiling joys of the cheese toastie for five minutes. We’ve been rewarded with a couple of cracking dishes: buffalo cauliflower wings with blue cheese and celery and smoky sausage casserole with chorizo, pepper and beans – and I’m drooling over Rukmini’s cheddar kimchi cobbler and mushroom and pomegranate pie.

Rukmini Iyer's Cheddar kimchi cobbler in Issue No.161 of Guardian Feast
One-pot wonders from Rukmini Iyer

Who wouldn’t yearn for Yotam’s lime leaf-cured ‘gravadlax’? Although I notice fresh makrut lime leaves pop up yet again – is there an alternative for this lime leaf of the moment? We’re fully paid up members of Slow Food UK – an Italian-founded group (1989) that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Celebrating food with and in the community has been one of the great pleasures of moving up to the far reaches of rural North East England from North London. And getting down and dirty with farm animals, sides of salmon, fresh game and fresh veg has been integral to that. The cure we often use is a beetroot one from Lindy Wildsmith’s inspiring romp around pickling, smoking, drying and salting: Cured. It’s always great to be lured away from the safety net of an old favourite, knowing that you’ll inevitably return after a bit of a dalliance.

It is, of course, Valentine’s Day and I am not advocating that anyone in a relationship should be lured away for a dalliance: I shall be sticking with the safety net of my old favourite. Particularly since he’s invested in lobsters and oysters for tonight’s feast. If I can persuade him to put down his Valentine’s gift from me and prepare it. Oy, you! Never mind Grace Dent, I’m hungry over here!

Photos courtesy of my lovely eldest daughter. She’ll be joining us for our Valentine’s feast. She’s a keeper too.

Links and stuff:

Oysters: Lindisfarne oysters

Lobsters: Cas Par Cas, Berwick

Lindy Wildsmith: Cured

Rukmini Iyer: The Roasting Tin Around the World

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