By Skye Gyngell
Quadrille Publishing Ltd - 2008
Uh. We were having guests last night, and as the recipe advises to prepare the jellies the day they are being served as they could become too hard otherwise, and suggests that they'll need only 1-2 hours to set, I took a risk, and failed. The jellies were nowhere near set. Even when I went to bed another four hours later, I still found them too wobbly.
We had them for dessert tonight, and they werent hard at all, on the contrary - very difficult to get them out of the moulds in one go. Also, the rosemary was too strong, and lesser so, they were a bit sour and bitter - in a good way if you had just a bit, but too much for a whole dessert.
If you want add things as decoration, anticipate that they will float instead of sink to the bottom, and that therefore you will have to turn the jellies twice - once to get them out of the mould, a second time to turn them right side up again. I used a slice of blood orange in one of them and a tiny twig of rosemary in the other one. I also used a tray with heart-shaped ice cubes from Ikea (one similar to this one), but it was very hard getting them out in one piece. Would have been such a nice idea for Valentine's Day, but then who wants to serve a broken heart?
By Yan-Kit So
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd - 1987
It was very delicious, and deep-frying french beans was definitely new to me, but it took fairly long to prepare (a lot of cutting work). Also, though I'm sure that it's a very interesting dish, in taste it was dwarfed by the strongly-flavoured Stir-fried Squid with Garlic and Chilli. I would suggest serving it with fish.
Edited to add:
I made the same dish using Chinese Cuisine: Szechwan Style and noted several things about both versions.
Very delicious, though on the salty side of things. I'm afraid there's little you can do as it's mainly the black beans that are so salty, but try to cut salt wherever you can, eg. omit the salt in the marinade, use water instead of stock in the sauce, and possibly use just a little less of the black beans.
A very simple yet elegant dish! The balance of flavours was excellent, the fish was cooked just right, and it was easy and quick tp prepare!
The only problem we had was that the fish didn't fit into our IKEA steamer - and that the steamer tilted over because all the weight was placed on one side of the steamer. We cut the fish in half lengthwise so we could balance the steamer with two parts, and that worked very well. Alternatively, just use two fish.
We served this with Stir-fried Baby Bok Choi with Garlic, an excellent match!
I wasn't really impressed. The ingredients didn't really come together as a dish (yes, this statement keeps lingering around, even though we haven't seen a Master Chef episode in ages). I could imagine that it would help to cut both the mango and the spring onion into smaller pieces. It also didn't help that the beef has turned slightly dry - we'll cook it shorter when we give it another try tomorrow.
Funny enough, it reminded me very much of the Black Pepper Chicken Thighs With Mango, Rum and Cashews we made a while ago.
We served this with Chicken-flavoured Bok Choi, which was equally unimpressing.
My guess is that the Chinese characters for the title of this dish have been turned around. I don't speak (or read) any Chinese language, though I have rudimentary knowledge of Mandarin and Cantonese, and I get by looking up characters in the dictionary. According to the dictionary, the title of this dish is simply 'Mango Beef'. However, mango is given as 'guǒ-máng' although, according to the dictionary, the proper sequence should have been 'máng-guǒ'...
Extremely delicious! We bought two small trout of 200g each, and used the cooking time the fish monger advised (ten minutes as opposed to 25), and it turned out perfectly cooked! We did have the idea that you really had to try to get both fish and sauce on the same chopstick to taste the together, and we wondered if that would have been different if the fish had been larger and had to be cooked for the full 25 minutes, but in the end, it didn't matter, it was delicious as it was.
We used just a little bit (approximately 1 tsp) of Hot Chilli Oil, but it definitely could have been more.
Served with Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce, a well-suited combination.
Fun fact: If the Chinese title of a dish is given, I always try to translate the title. I didn't manage to make sense of it this time. The first character is given as 'dry; first hexagram; warming principle of the sun, penetrating and fertilizing, heavenly generative principle (male)'. The other three are fairly straight forward: 'to stir-fry before broiling or stewing' 'sea perch, sea bass' and 'fish'.
Edited 22 September 2012:
We used a salmon trout (400g) today - for some reason, it felt like less fish. We talked about how you could scale this dish to serve it to more guests yesterday and considered using larger fish - turns out that any larger fish than this won't fit in our wok.
It tasted very similar, though both of us are pretty sure we had less sauce, which is strange as we didn't change the recipe in any respect. In consequence, it wasn't any hotter, though we used two tsp hot chilli oil as compared to one yesterday.
Very easy to make, and very hot. Very cool! We made this to make Braised Fish Hunan-Szechwan Style and it was great!
So-so. It tasted of salt and little else. And yet, I could see it working if you reduce the amount of salt and serve it as part of a larger buffet with several aromatic dishes to which this dish will serve as a contrast.
I was a little stumped with the Chinese characters. The first one means 'wine, alcoholic beverage'; the third and fourth mean 'fish fillet'. The second, however, came up as 'slide, glide, slip; to skate, escape' - while I can see why you would use some of these adjectives for a fish dish, the meaning didn't make sense for the title of the dish. That is until I discovered a nearly identical character with the exact same pronounciation that is sometimes spelled like the character above, and means 'to steam / quick-fry / stir-frying, but with cornstarch added'
Not impressed. It was quite salty (obviously), but didn't contain enough spices to make it interesting. Also, I would have expected it to be crunchy (probably because of the salt-and-spice association), but that wasn't the case.
By Beverly Leblanc
Thunder Bay Press (CA) - 2003
Not too bad. It was a bit of a shame that what you tasted most were the artichokes, or rather: the fact that they came from a tin. Pity. For this dish its definitely worth it to use fresh artichoke hears, regardless of what the authors uses. You might also consider using more (fresh!) artichoke hearts to give them a dominant position within the dish.
We used broad beans as well instead of peas as we didn't have enough of the latter; peas work better in this dish.
Served with Sherry Rice and Turkey Schnitzel with an Almond Crust (family recipe).
Basically, this was a kind of risotto. It was nice, but it wasn't as special as I had hoped it would be. The author's worries, stock from a cube would be too salty are unfounded - we used a stock cube, but only half of the amount we should have used, and the dish turned out undersalted. Also, it wasn't entirely cooked, it needed some extra time.
Served with Artichoke Hearts and Peas and Turkey Schnitzel with an Almond Crust (family recipe).
It was nice, but it wasn't anything special and it involved a lot of work. Unfortunately, preparing several different kinds of vegetables will always involve a lot of cutting, but this recipe insisted on pre-cooking each ingredient individually 'to retain its flavours', only then to simmer them together in a casserole for 20 minutes until the vegetables/flavours 'are blended'. Hello? Have I missed anything?
If you'd like to give this dish a try, I would just fry all the vegetables together from the start on, robust veggies first, more delicate ones towards the end. You'll save yourself a lot of unnecessary work.
By Jody Vassallo, Dell Stanford
Murdoch Books - 2002
Well, the idea sure is interesting, but the result wasn't as convincing. To start, it looks like pasta covered with duckweed. Also, there was little than pasta - just a few bites of tomato and mozzarella, and nothing crunchy to bite on. We'll have it for dinner again tomorrow; we will definitely add more tomatoes, possibly some mozzarella, and very likely also some chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Nice, but not quite what I've known as satay. In fact, it's just plain chicken (no marinade or other addition of spices!) with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce in itself is very nice, I especially liked the addition of kaffir lime leaves. DH thought that the sauce had too little oomph, I think he'll add more fish sauce and possibly some chilli tomorrow. I might go look for an 'authentic' satay recipe, the kind I knew as a kid.
Nice, but nothing special, and in need of a few small tweaks. One that should be obvious from the photo is that 'long thick slices' don't work that well - I'd rather make small cubes next time.
Also, we used plain ice cream and vanilla yoghurt - one of them is enough, two is too much. Use ice cream in any case; if you have the choice, use normal ice cream if your mango isn't 100% ripe, and use frozen yoghurt, possibly with 1-2 tsp of lime juice, if your mango is really sweet and ripe.
Also, just top it with the amarettini/cantuccini, otherwise they'll get soggy, and trust your own judgement in regards to the quantities - a 400g dessert per person cannot be healthy for anyone!
Last bit of nitpicking on my side: I would really call this a fool, not a parfait - using just one frozen ingredient doesn't make it a parfait.
By Bart van Olphen
Amsterdam Carrera - 2012
Very nice! The batter was very thin, which I enjoyed; DH mentioned he wouldn't mind if the batter had been a bit thicker. Be careful, though, because even if you use the quantity for just one egg, it'll be a lot for 4 portions of fish; however, that quantity is given per person. My guess is that the line stating 'per person' only applies to the amount of fish, but that's far for clear.
We actually added salt and pepper to just half of the batter; the other half we set aside and used for pancakes as dessert - very nice, though it could have used another egg and possibly some extra milk.
Hard to rate. We started out whisking it with a fork; unfortunately, the sauce started to curdle. As we didn't have any eggs leftover, we added a spoon of mayonnaise in an attempt to rescue the sauce. Also, we switched to an electric handmixer. It looked good ad first, but later on it curdled again and made an enormous oily mess on our plates. Also, 1 tsp of salt is much too much - add half and then taste first (actually I do this all the time, but apparently DH doesn't).
A bit of a mixed bag. First of all, we didn't do the lentils - I thought that we still had some, and when I found out we didn't, I wasn't able to get them at the store either. But I can absolutely see them work well with the cod and the parma ham.
The other parts of the dish, that is to say the cod and the parma, combined very well in flavour. Additionally, the parma protected the cod, producing a perfectly cooked fish. The recipe also includes a warning to be careful with salt, and indeed you don't need any salt at all, the ham is salty enough. The problem is, though, that the textures are wildly different, and to get to get very tender, very flaky cod, you'll have to go through the ham first, for which you will need a small electrical saw. Not a good idea.
We tried it a second time, this time chopping or tearing the ham into pieces, and then serving it as a topping for the cod. It worked a lot better, but then again the cod wasn't that perfectly cooked... I guess you just can't have it all...
By Brigitta Stuber
GU - 1993
Great variation of an otherwise classic Christmas cookie recipe.
By Hugo Arnold
Kyle Cathie - 2004
All in all a very nice salad, with the exception of two aspects: the salad dressing, and the fact that it actually takes quite a lot of preparation. On the plus side, it showed us how tofu can actually be prepared to be really nice, flavoursome and crisp, something you would really enjoy to eat (sorry, not a fan of tofu until now).
Not a success. It's being presented as (quote DB) 'the best thing since sliced bread' - but it's just not a very nice dressing, and far too complicated. And yes, they write that you need to practice this a few times to get it right - but who would want to practice a salad dressing? Really, I've got better things to do...
Not bad, but just a little too boring. Add a little ginger and maybe a splash of Shaoxing, topped of with a little coriander would have made a world of difference.
I didn't have soba noodles and substituted them with normal rice noodles, and omitted the bean sprouts, but I don't think that made much of a difference. Be careful with the salt, I used half the amount recommended (something I always do), and yet it was a bit on the salty side.
And I substituted sea bream for sea bass - not much of a difference either. I didn't notice much effect of placing the fish under the broiler - next time I would probably try grilling it in the grill pan until it is charred to add a smoky flavour.
Except for the marinade it was an extremely quick dish; would be good to know if you could also marinade the fish for nine instead of two hours without oversalting the dish to make it office-proof.
By alice hart
A really nice recipe for one of my favourite pasta dishes - Pasta with Spinach and Gorgonzola Sauce. In contrast to Nigel Slater's Spinach with Blue Cheese and Pasta (incidentally my first review on Cookbooker!), this sauce really does work.
The only problem I had was preparing the spinach, which isn't described in this recipe. I just wilted the leaves in a pan; unfortunately, they ended up being too watery. Next time I would fry the spinach in olive oil with a little garlic.
What a mess! More or less everything that could have gone wrong, did.
It started with the dough. Although it felt very nice, it didn't rise a bit. I was afraid that that was due to me using an old paket of yeast, so I started all over with a brandnew paket of yeast. The resulting dough had barely risen any more than the previous one, and was only just enough for two rather small pizzas (20cm diameter - it looked like a lot less). Though who knows, perhaps we didn't make them thin enough, though I wouldn't know how.
Then the vegetables: a fennel and one courgette (zucchini) is more than enough, or even more than you can use on these pizzas - the second courgette was entirely superfluous. And even though we grilled the vegetables for a few minutes longer, the fennel wasn't done when we served the pizza.
Then when we grilled the first pizza, the whole thing was drowned in the liquid coming from the vegetables and the cheese. We grilled it another 3 minutes, but the pizza remained soggy.
Last, we had prepared both pizzas at the same time as I knew that the dough would dry out if we didn't. By the time we were ready to grill the second pizza, it was impossible to slide off the pizza into the hot pan, and we ended up with a kind of pizza stir fry in our pan. Not what was intended!
Tastewise, the pizza was okay though undersalted.
Edited the next day to add:
We served the leftover topping as a side dish to the Coq au Vin, which worked well, especially due to the rosemary. So at least it was good for something!
The combination in itself was very nice, but I found it very difficult to season well. I used a lot of salt, which was a good thing, but I also used too much lemon juice, even though I didn't even use the full amount. It could have used more lemon zest and more pecorino (grana padano, in our case). Also, we used one tin of artichoke hearts, and I think using more, and possibly better quality (not tinned) ones would have helped. I was very pleased, however, with how incredibly quickly this salad came together.
It tastes just as bland as it looks. Which shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise, I guess, if you look at the ingredients: peas, barley, broad beans and eggs, flavoured only with two twigs of mint. We substituted haloumi for feta, and barley for bulghur - this might have had an influence, of course, but actually I doubt it - none of the ingredients substituted has a distinctly different flavour.
I think the best you can do in this case is to drastically reduce the amount of grain and replace it with flavourful (and colourful!) veggies like bell peppers, possibly fresh or sundried tomatoes. And *gasp* bacon. Or chorizo. You got me thinking here...
Wow, unexpected! I really enjoyed this salad, which actually is a kind of elaborate Salad Caprese: tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, nectarines and garlic. Yes, you read right, nectarines and garlic, and it was especially this combination that blew my mind. It worked extraordinarily well!
Something else that made this salad outstanding is the recipe for basil oil hidden in the instructions - a great recipe to use for any salad, with pasta, or just to dip bread.
We actually used wild peaches instead of nectarines, though - partly due to availability, but partly also because they were just ripe, yet still on the hard side, and therefore not very sweet - DH was worried that really ripe fruit would be too sweet for this salad. For him, this issue remained, he didn't like the combination of mozzarella with sweet fruit, and suggested to use goat's cheese instead. I'm not always that much of a fan of goat's cheese, but I could see a blue cheese working here, as blue cheese often works well with fruit.
Another issue DH had with this salad (he was the cook today) was that it was pretty vague on the amounts of ingredients. Yes, it said '12 heirloom tomatoes', but even the tomatoes shown in the photo were so diverge in size that you could probably mean anything from 150g (cocktail sized ones) to 1500g (larges ones) - and the correct amount does matter to mak the salad balanced.
Although you can serve this with some bread as a main dish on a warm summer night, I would rather recommend it as a starter on ditto warm summer night. This is a Skye Gyngell recipe, by the way.
Very delicious! Our soup was just slightly too hot, probably because DH added Tabasco in addition to the dried chilli - use either of the two, but definitely add one of them, it made the difference between a good and a very good soup. With more liquid resp. less filling, you could also serve it as a vegetarian appetizer.
One thing right at the beginning: We substituted baby aubergines with normal ones, cut into pieces to resemble the size of baby aubergines, and substituted Thai basil with normal basil. I don't think it made a noticable difference.
Unfortunately, the dish was quite disappointing. The aubergines were heavy with fat and didn't take on any of the flavours of the other ingredients. There was too little seasoning in general; it probably would have been just fine for just the bok choi, but not with another major ingredient added. Also, where did the word 'braise' come from? Everything was either fried or deep-fried, and simmering something for a moment in a few spoonfuls of liquid is not enough in my opinion to constitute the dish as a braise.
By Nigel Slater
Fourth Estate Ltd - 2009
Extremely tasty! Full of flavour and very delicious! I had some issues with the preparation, however.
First of all: take your time. Making the aubergine cream will take a while, and if you don't have a large oven that fit's two trays of veggies, such as me, you will have to prepare one after the other. That is not necessarily a problem; just be aware of it. You can easily prepare the aubergine cream a day in advance, then all you'll need to do is chop the veggies, throw them into a baking dish, off into the oven and you're done.
Slater didn't give an indicator how long the aubergines would need to become soft. Some of my aubergines were quite soft after 10-15 min, others weren't. I guess it helps making really deep, regular cuts and using lots of oil, at least I suspect that that was the difference between my different aubergines. All in all I think they spent at least 25-30 minutes in the oven, perhaps even longer.
Then the baking time for the other veggies: He estimates 45-60 minutes, we baked our veggies for at least 1 hr 15 min, and even then some of the courgettes weren't really soft. Some of the peppers and onions, and especially the raisins lying on top (15 min) were burnt. Possibly this was partly due to the fact that the baking dish was stuffed full with veggies - but actually I was glad that at least half of the dishes' veggies actually fit into my 23x30cm baking dish (and that didn't need to feed 4 but only 2 today). So, if you have a larger baking dish (or even two of them), go for it. You might also want to consider to chop more and bake shorter.
Because I forgot that I had only used half of the veggies I added all of the cumin, homemade harissa (from Modern Moroccan), raisins and pine kernels/almond flakes, but that was a very useful mistake as it gave some extra flavour. The courgettes actually fell away a bit, tastewise, but had a nice texture, and all in all it was great. Great mediterranean side dish, great vegetarian main dish.
Edited the next day:
Making the aubergine cream a day in advance really is a good idea. Yesterday the mint was hardly noticeable - today it made the cream taste very fresh!
Edited 30 December 2012:
Definitely try to make the aubergine cream at least a few hours in advance so that you can chill it - makes a great contrast to the hot and spicy vegetables. You might need to puree the cream.
A classic combination, though this one turns out more like a cauliflower-scented, slightly liquid fondue - not necessarily a bad thing, though...
Edited to add:
The flavours get stronger on the second day - I can really recommend to prepare it a day in advance!
Quite nice. We chose this recipe as it was quick to prepare and we could let it simmer while painting our bedroom - by the time we had finished painting, it was the perfect meal you would want to eat after a day of hard work. I'm not a big fan of beer, but after hours of braising you couldn't taste any anyway.
In my opinion, though, the apple sauce was quite superfluous. It was too much - I had used only three (albeit large) apples instead of the 5-6 required, and ended up with lots of apple sauce after I had finished my meal - with a scoop of ice cream it would have made it the perfect two-in-one dish!. And to be honest, I just preferred a dollop of cranberry sauce with the stew.
As accompaniment I would suggest something crunchy, as the meat is already extremely soft. Think rosemary roasted potatoes, think a gratin (think Potato Pear Gratin, another reason to omit the apple sauce!), and perhaps a salad to go with it to add a light component too.
Slightly disappointing. To be honest, I'm not that much of a fan of celery, but still..
First of all, for such an easy dish it took ages to make, and then the resulting dish just tasted like.. well, celery. As if we had spent hours doing nothing!
The sauce in itself was quite delicious, but it didn't have any flavour of its own (duh, it was a Béchamel made with the cooking water from the celery), which meant that it couldn't stand up to the overwhelming flavour of the celery. A better dish would have balanced its flavour, I believe!
We actually only made the celeriac mash to accompany the Coq au Vin, with flat beans as another side dish. It was very delicious, and a good choice as a side dish for a veryrustic poultry dish!
Served with Scallops with Ginger Sauce as a starter and Apple Pie with an Almond Crust and David Lebovitz' Vanilla Ice Cream as a dessert - an excellent menu for a sophisticated dinner!
By Nigel Slater
Fourth Estate - 2010
Soo delicious! The flavour of the quinces was pretty strong, too strong for the pork actually, which is why this recipe doesn't get 5 stars. However, this might have been due to the variety used, which looked and smelled slightly different from those I (think I) remember.
Also, I made the gravy slightly thicker than instructed to get a nice not-too-runny gravy. This of course meant that there was less gravy; next time I would make more gravy, and perhaps use more Marsala as I hardly tasted it.
The pork was wonderful, juicy and soft, just the crust could have been crunchier. 3 kg meat for 6 persons is too much, even including bones. We had 1,3 kg for 4 persons, and that was more than enough.
Such a typical Slater-title, isn't it? This is a fairly simple, straight-forward crumble recipe. I liked that the amount of crumble was sufficient - often there is too little crumble for too much fruit. I would have wished that the apples had been just a bit sweeter and more caramelised, they were just a bit too sour for my taste.
We added blackberries, but they were hardly noticeable, unfortunately. We served the apple crumble with the cardamom cream from Roast Figs and Plums in Vodka with Cardamom Cream, a perfect match!
9 April 2013:
Apparently we used a larger dish this time, as there was too little crumble. Also, it turned out a bit dry.
The panna cotta was nice, but not 'panna' (creamy) enough - I think that what I most disliked was the addition of Greek yoghurt - the change in consistency just wasn't worth the few calories saved. Also, I didn't taste any cinnamon in the panna cotta, though the vanilla was distinct and enjoyable. Next time I will probably use my basic Panna Cotta recipe.
The rhubarb was nice too, but far too much orangy! And I even only used a very small orange. I would suggest to use only haf an orange (both zest and juice) and see how that goes. I substituted the aniseed with fresh ground cardamom, which worked well. Again, the cinnamon (and the rhubarb!) was hardly noticeable.
I just tried to mix all ingredients together, but as the honey wasn't exactly very liquid I had a hard time. It would probably help dissolving the honey in the orange juice first (place in a jam glass and shake, always works perfect for me!).
If you're interested in more rhubarb-with-orange-recipes, it seems to be a combination favoured by Slater. See this article, Little Rhubarb Tarts and Rhubarb and Blood Orange Compote. Speaking of rhubarb, we made a very nice Apple Rhubarb Crumble last week, and I'll make a Rhubarb Crumble from this book tomorrow (to be reviewed on Sunday). Clearly, the rhubarb-season has started again!
By Sybil Kapoor, David Loftus
Mitchell Beazley - 2003
Strip the watercress of its leaves and discard the stalks? Ms Kapoor, you’re not serious, what will left of the watercress? Hardly anything. I chose to ignore this direction and just used the watercress including the stalks (perhaps this is a misunderstanding, and she meant some tougher stalks that were already removed?). I used smoked salmon instead of bacon, and it was very delicious! Be careful with adding salt, though.
Quite a simple recipe of which you should expect that there's nothing that really could go wrong. Well, the timing was very wrong. The salmon was done within the time given, while the tomatoes were nowhere near roasting. 20-30 minutes should do a much better job than 5 minutes.
Otherwise, using fresh herbs probably really makes a great difference in this dish, and if they tell you to keep the filo pastry covered with a wet cloth, do as you are being told.
Crosspost: This recipe was republished in the December 2010 issue of the Dutch version of Delicious.
By Jasmin Schults, Anaisa Bruchner
Uitgeverij J.H. Becht - 2007
Worked very well, in contrast to most other shortcrust pastries I've made until now. It didn't really taste spectacular, a little more salt and sugar wouldn't hurt I suppose, but it did a nice job. What else can you want?
Hmm. It wasn't such an enourmous success as last week's Tarte Tatin. The main problem was probably that we'd let the apples simmer for too long on the stove - apparently, this produced apple juice, which then again turned into a kind of apple jelly. Also, by the time the pastry was just done, the apples were already slightly overcooked. Not what I had hoped for.
Oh, and be careful with the caramel. Melted sugar is really hot!
Very delicious, but two problems: it didn't say how much sugar to use, and it didn't say that it was nothing more than an appetizer with two portions! Looks like I'm going to bed hungry tonight.
Tastewise, it was very delicious., but the flavours could have been slightly stronger. We guessed one tablespoon sugar, but it could have been more, along with some salt. Visually, I preferred it without the goat's cheese, but then it probably rather would have been dessert.
By Susanna Tee
Parragon - 2007
This was kind of a Gazpacho turned upside down - a bit of raw, puréed tomato with garlic, with large chunks of peppers and boiled eggs in it - which is nice, in principle, if this is what you expect. A nice refreshing salad with hardly any cooked ingredients, perfect for the heat of summer.
I got a little annoyed at the foto. I'm not usually a person who values it if the finished dish "looks just like the foto" - but in this case, they had clearly omitted an important part of the dish (the dressing) to make it look more appetizing (and consequently, once I added the dressing, it looked a lot less appetizing)! In the picture, I added only one third of the dressing though I didn't stir, just to give you an impression of how it might look, once everything is covered in red mush.
Quite nice, but too much capers (nearly a whole glass!), and a lot of work in relation to the quantity of food you'll get; but I guess that's inherent to this type of food. I'd at least double the quantity to make the effort worth it.
My major point of critique however is more of a technical kind: you can't re-use bits and pieces of puff pastry by rolling it out again, you just can't. And guess what they're suggesting.... Not that it was necessary anyway, I got 30 empanadilla's out of 320g (7 sheets) of puff pastry, they suggest using (and re-using) 500g.
I fried the ham along with the onions - I'm not sure it made much of a difference, though I might have had if I had only used half the amount of capers.
By Susanna Tee
Parragon Publishing - 2005
Slightly disappointed. We had expected this salad to be good enough for a birthday party and only prepared it advance once to check if tinned artichokes would be good enough, and now I'm really glad we tested it. It's not much of a salad. You have large chunks of melon, of artichokes and especially (and far too many) of Chorizo, and that's it. The dressing has no effect whatsoever, and because the pieces are so large, and the three main ingredients so different from one another, it doesn't really "come together as a dish". I tried chopping them up slightly more and serving less Chorizo, which helped a bit but not enough. It's a pity...
By Mandy Wagstaff
Kyle Cathie - 1996
In flavour, this clearly was a 5 star dessert. The rich custard that perfectly complemented the flavour of the rhubarb, the crunchy sugar - just brilliant.
The only problem was that the custard didn't get firm, and I'm not exactly sure, why. I might be that we didn't cook it long enough, though I thought we did. I noticed that other recipes such as the very similar one in Flavour First cook the custard au bain marie a second time once it has been filled into the ramekins. To be honest, if possible I would rather try to avoid this, I remember doing it once and thought that it was such a hassle, and with the shallow creme brulee ramekins it'll be an extra hassle. Instead, I was wondering if I could cheat next time by adding a little gelatine .
I really like the idea, but the execution wasn't really good, and I had several problems with the recipe.
First of all, cups. I know that it's just down to what you're used to, and I don't happen to be used to measuring food in volume while a lot people are, but sometimes I just don't get it. I mean, I cup flour is 1 cup flour, but how on earth should I know how many balls of mozzarella you need for 4.5 cup shredded mozzarella? Doesn't that depend too much on how finely you shred it? Isn't it easier and just as (im)precise to just say '3 large onions' instead of '3 cups chopped onions'?
Then, quantities. Quantity of milk products, specifically. My estimate is that this recipe contains about 2kg milk products (anything from full fat milk to half a kilo of mozzarella) in relation to 1kg butternut squash. I never use skimmed products because I believe that natural is best, and I don't count calories either, but I thought that was a bit much. I reduced that by half, mainly by using only half of the ricotta and less than half of the mozzarella and Parmesan (though I did add a little grated Gouda on top). Next time, I would skip the ricotta entirely, the bechamel sauce plus cheese is all you need. That's the other thing: mozzarella and all the other milk products are comparatively sweet, as is butternut squash. Either you need to add lots of salt to compensate, or you choose a cheese that is naturally salty by itself.
Then, texture. Unfortunately, everything was just a bit mushy, you nearly could have fed it to a baby. Next time I wouldn't cook the butternut squash as long so that it retains some bite, and I wouldn't puree it in the food processor either - half cm/ quarter inch slices are just fine.
Last, I chose this recipe specifically because I wanted to use our balcony grown sage. Unfortunately, you didn't taste it at all, and it just had a tiny hint of thyme. Use more of both.
By Jane Lawson
Uitgeverij Terra Lannoo - 2011
Really delicious salad! I hadn't really expected this as it is seems like such a weird mixture Northern European potatoes, dill, mustard, rocket with prawns and avocado. But it was really nice! I substituted the mustard powder and part of the oil with real mustard and it was fine.
Quite delicious, but also quite expensive, especially given the result. DB complained that the ingredients 'didn't quite come together as a dish', one of his favourite criticisms since MasterChef. The salsa verde at least definitely didn't come together as a sauce, it needed a lot more oil (4-5 tbsp instead of one) to make that happen. I substituted part of the asparagus with haricots verts (runner beans) to cut the cost, which worked very well.
DB had this as his lunch box salad. He thought it was slightly boring as none of the ingredients came forward as 'the star of the show', another Masterchef favourite quote. It's not a bad salad, it's just that we've had so many more salads that were a lot more interesting.