I came across a beautiful photo of this dish on Pinterest, read that it combined rose and rhubarb, and I knew immediately that I had to give it a try. It's from a blog written in Polish, of which I don't understand a word, but luckily, there's Google Translate.
I didn't follow the recipe for the shortcrust pastry as I didn't have sour cream (and to be honest, I'm not quite sure I would have dared to do that - sour cream in a shortcrust pastry?). Instead, I used the Sweet Pastry from Ottolenghi, which worked perfectly.
I made the rhubarb and the rose 'custard' according to the recipe. I put custard in parenthesis, as it's not really a custard, rather an egg-mascarpone cream. Unfortunately, the very last sentence is pretty bungled by Google Translate so I can't say for sure if the cream should be heated, but I'm quite sure that the recipe says it should only be cooled, then poured into the pastry. This is very unfortunate, as at least in my case, the cream was completely liquid, and there was no chance at all that the rhubarb would stay in top. Just in case the cream was meant to be cooked I tried that as well, but to no avail. I'm wondering what might have gone wrong - is her 'one package of mascarpone' considerably more than mine (250g)? Did she actually use less than 2 egg yolks? Or maybe you need to use gelatin (the last sentence actually mentions gelatin, but I understood that to be used for any juices the rhubarb released)?
All that said, flavourwise, it's absolutely fantastic! Really brilliant! It's a bit of a shame of the custard/cream, but if you omit (one) egg yolk, and/or add gelatin, it just might work.
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.
Who knew this is an Algerian dish in origin? I've made a few different versions of Shakshuka in the past, i.e. from Smitten Kitchen and Plenty, and I'm pretty sure I've made the one from Jerusalem as well, I just haven't reviewed it yet. Of all these, I probably liked the one from Plenty best.
This version contains a lot of peppers and onions, and very few tomatoes, which I think is a shame - it works best with tomatoes as main ingredient! Also, the eggs where fully cooked, not runny after 10 minutes, though I think that's strongly dependent on how hot your pan is (i.e. medium bubbles vs small bubbles).
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: the quantities for fish and batter are given as per person. This has to be a mistake, as we used a single portion of batter for 4 portions of fish, and still had enough leftover to have pancakes for dessert (I'd recommend pouring a bit of batter on a deep plate for the fish, and keeping the rest separate). My guess is that the line stating 'per person' only applies to the amount of fish, but that's far from clear.
The pancakes were nice, too, though it could have used another egg and possibly some extra milk.
Edited 17 May 2014:
We usually fry instead of deep-frying; in that case, remember to keep the temperature high to get a crunchy fish.
The next morning we had pancakes for breakfast - this time I really liked them the way they were.
Edited 20 June 2014:
I used this recipe to make Fish 'n Chips with mashed peas for the FIFA 2014 challenge, to represent England.
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...
Quite nice and very, very easy. It contained a bit too much butter for my taste, although I'll have to admit that I saw too late that the net weight of the of sardines was 85g, not 100g as I had assumed. Next time I'd just start with 40g of butter, and add the rest bit by bit. It will need a lot of salt.
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 Muoi Thai Loangkote
Wei-Chuan Publishing Co Ltd - 2000
Nice, but I actually wasn't able to taste any of the ingredients other than the chicken, except for perhaps the kaffir lime leaves, which I had used instead of some of the bay leaves*. It was a bit of a pity of the coconut juice, which is relatively expensive for an ingredient you don't even taste.
Served with with Chilled Cucumber Salad and Soy-Dipped Radish Salad.
*) I used kaffir instead of bay leaves as I suspected that the recipes calls for bay leaves only because they are more readily available than kaffir lime leaves - the book was published in 1999 in the United States by a Taiwanese publisher. I'm still not yet entirely convinced that kaffir lime leaves aren't the more authentic choice, especially as the some of the other recipes in this book are more adapted to a Western palate than I would have wished.
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 Editors of Phaidon Press
Phaidon Press - 2011
Quite nice. The only thing I would really change are the tomatoes - next time I would use more, and I would probably use small ones, roast them first as described, and add them just a few minutes before the risotto is done. As it was now, the tomatoes disappeared into the risotto with hardly a trace.
It was difficult to taste the tomatoes and (though not quite as difficult) the spinach, because it was just a bit too salty, though that's always tricky to get right with risotto. Also, I had to add more liquid (possibly because I made only half a portion), and I used part stock, part water for the extra liquid - only water would have been better.
Edited a day later:
I made it again, this time using small tomatoes, roasted for 20 min instead of 10, and added at the very last moment - much better! I also used less stock and more water, and only added extra salt and pepper to the tomatoes, not the rice - it was still slightly salty, but not too much. Last, I used 1.5 times the amount of spinach, not removing the stems, and the amount was fine too. I noticed the stems a little bit, but not enough to make me want to remove them the next time.
Very nice salad. I found that the serving size is a bit large if you serve this as a side dish; one chicory is enough for 2 servings, you can reduce the other ingredients accordingly.
a.k.a. Risotto Margharita (tomato, mozzarella, basil).
It was quite nice, but could have been just a bit more exciting for my taste. I needed more stock (I only made half a recipe, and needed about 400 ml extra), but maybe it would have helped to use a slightly smaller pan. I also used the juice from the tomato seeds (peeled and de-seeded the (washed) tomatoes above a bowl, then sieved that stuff).
Edited a day later
I made the second half of the four servings today. This time I used a bit more rice and consequently also a bit more stock; I also added about half a garlic clove, two extra tomatoes (resulting in about 550 g of tomato weighed before peeling and de-seeding instead of 250 g), and 125 g instead of 75 g of mozzarella. Overall, it was a little more interesting. It was definitely more creamy (mozzarella!), and although the garlic clove wasn't noticeable, I'm sure it also spiced things a bit up (everything savoury is more delicious with a little garlic added to the mix!). Next time I would even use a whole garlic clove, or rather two cloves for the whole four serving dish.
Really very, very nice! I didn't use the exact amounts called for, but instead 250 ml (single) cream, 1.5 tbsp heather honey and just 125 g raspberries (and the rest according to recipe). Additionally, it would have been way too much for just two persons, so we actually divided it into four portions.
Be careful with the oats; I had them in a pan for 20 min+ and nothing happened, so I set the heat higher just a tiny bit, and immediately they started to turn brown. Also, make sure that you'll use a good quality (heather) honey, as you will taste it - though slightly less so if you make this dessert with whisky than without. Because I made two version of the cream - with and without whisky - I just served the raspberries and the oats along with the cream so that everyone could decide for themselves how much of what they wanted to add. The cream with whisky was noticeably more liquid, but not too much.
By Florine Boucher, Margreet de Jonge
uitgeverij Philippe Boucher - 2013
A very nice, but also very sophisticated dish. It's indicated as an appetizer serving two; we had a small 15 g tinned winter truffle which was given to us as a present (the recipe requires 30 g fresh white truffle). There were four of us for dinner, so we just made a half recipe and served it more as an amuse than a real appetizer (I even used large plates! :) ). The risotto was very good, though very simple; the instructions are very detailed (as is the whole book), so it can't really go wrong.
The only problem we had was that we didn't have any homemade stock. We bought the best stock we found, but although it's flavour was nice (read: natural) and it didn't seem to contain any chemicals, it made the risotto slightly oversalted. So it's really worth it in this case to make your own stock, and use very little salt!
Handheld pastries with an interesting filling. These empanadas contain minced meat (should be chopped, actually), cumin, chilli, olives, raisins and hardboiled egg. I quite liked the filling when I tried it before making the pastries; once they were in the pastries, for some reason they made me think of curry. I think it was the combination of cumin, spicyness, raisin and the hardboiled egg. Both the egg and the minced meat turned just a tad dry because they were cooked twice, but not too bad.
The pastry itself was hard to work with - it was really hard, more or less like pasta dough, and if I'd have a pasta machine, I probably would have used it. But once you had it rolled out thinly enough, it was absolutely great, easy to transfer to the baking tray, didn't tear, etc.
Things I changed: I omitted the green pepper, ground achiote and fresh coriander, I used black olives instead of green ones (this is what most online recipes did), and in the pastry I substituted half of the butter with lard.
I made the Coconut Ice Cream only and omitted the pistachio crumb (and forgot the blueberries when serving). I also forgot the pinch of salt, and used vanilla sugar, and 1/2 tbsp less maple syrup instead.
This ice cream was really, really easy to make. In fact, next time I wouldn't mix the ingredients in a jug (or in the coconut milk can, as I did), but dump them directly into the ice cream machine - that thing is stirring continuously anyway, so why not take advantage of it? I think this is the first dish I've encountered that only takes 5 min to make, and still counts as a proper dish. Brilliant!
It also tastes very nice, but here comes the drawback: that nice taste only lasts for the first scoop. After that, you realize that all that you're eating is basically sweetened frozen coconut milk, and to be honest, you'll get a little sick from it. So stick to one scoop, and garnish with something else to make it more interesting. I think mango would be a better match than blueberries, though something crunchy to go along with it is a good idea.
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.
Edited 7 January 2014:
This has become one of our standard dishes. It's really easy to make, and very delicious! You can also adapt it easily by using other herbs (or even spices), or adding other ingredients (ie. apple slices or raisins).
We used trappist beer until now and never had any issues, but today it somehow smelled strange and tasted bitter. Either the beer changed (though highly unlikely) or it is something we just never noticed before. In any case, you can just as well use other types of beer - Guinness would be particularly suitable, as would be cider.
We made Rösti today to go with it, which was a really nice combination, the Rösti was crunchy, and just as rustic as the stew.
Edited 6 July 2014:
We made this using a Belgian brown beer (Leffe bruin), and it was very nice, and no bitter flavours at all. Very nice! Also decided to upgrade this dish from 4 to 5 stars, because we've made it so often.
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.
Brilliant salad! A very nice balance between sweet (mango), creamy (avocado), sharp (red onion and mixed salad), tangy (lime juice), and, well, prawn.
I used about two thirds of a large red onion, and that was clearly too much; and I think the dressing could use just a tiny bit more lime juice. Remember to dry the prawn well before frying (stir-frying, actually) - I used frozen, defrosted ones, and they emitted a lot of liquid (though I'm not quite sure how much of that is due to the fact that they had been frozen).