Saturday, 31 July 2010

7. The best stew with potato and rocket pasta cushions

This is the last recipe from the fresh pasta chapter. There isn't any particular reason why I keep this last. It just happened to be, simple as.

I have made fresh pasta several times now and I've mentioned it every time that it's so much fun. Time consuming, yes, it can be. But not at all difficult. Two ingredients: flour and eggs, and a little bit of knead work, that's all it takes to make fresh pasta dough.

This morning I started by making the beef stew which was very straightforward. The only different ingredient was Jamie uses white wine instead of the regular red wine. The stew was simmered for a couple of hours until all the meat falls apart.

Whilst the stew was cooking, it was the perfect time to make the pasta dough. A fellow blogger recently suggested me to try adding a little bit of salt and extra virgin olive oil when making the dough to give extra flavour, and so that's what I did today. I left the dough setting in the fridge and then got on with my day.

I was looking for a present for my friend's birthday and I am rubbish at buying presents. I went from one shop to another and finally found something decent after a couple of hours.

I went home and watched a DVD I just bought, Doubt. Meryl Streep is such a great actress. She could play anything and anyone. I mean if someone is making a biography film about Arnold Schwarzenegger, I reckon she'll be an awesome Arnold. Not that I am a fan of Arnold, but if Meryl Streep is playing him, I'll definitely go to watch it.

I baked some potatoes to make the filling for the pasta. After an hour, I took them out from the oven and let them cool a bit before scooping and mashing the flesh into a bowl. Add a handful of parmesan cheese, grated nutmeg, chopped rocket leaves, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and stir well. Set them aside and I then rolled the pasta dough.

Pasta cushions are raviolis, aren't they?, but shape a little differently...

These cushions were then boiled for three minutes and then served on top of the stew with a little sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.

Jamie says this dish reminds him of his childhood, tucking into a big plate of stew and mash. And even though it's an Italian dish, there is something very English about it.

I was being very modest on the picture above. I actually had two servings of that. :)

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Pan-roasted salmon with purple sprouting broccoli and anchovy-rosemary sauce

At the beginning of the fish chapter, Jamie mentions that in the UK, we don't eat enough fish in our diets. We should be eating more fish to keep healthy. The Japanese eat more fish per head than any other country in the world and they are healthier and live longer. The amount of fish consume in the UK is tiny by comparison.

I couldn't agree more. I think people should eat more fish. And I don't mean frozen fish-finger from supermarkets, but the real fresh fish. Some people say they are put off by the bones, but that's not an excuse. Fishmongers are more than happy to skin, fillet, bone and clean the fish for you. And if the fish is fresh, they should not smell!

I grew up eating loads of fish and I still do. As much as I love meat, I try to incorporate fish as part of my diet as much as I can. OK, sometimes the fish is covered in cream sauce or battered, but hey, everything in moderation is allowed...

Without a doubt this is definitely my favourite salmon recipe from Jamie's book. I love salmon whether it's grilled, poached, in a sushi or sashimi; but pan-roasting it, is the best way to eat them I think. You get the beautiful crust on the outside and inside it's flaky and rich and moist. yum... but of course, you must get good salmon, wild or organic, to really enjoy its flavours.

The sauce that accompanies the salmon is equally delicious. Lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper are added to the anchovy-rosemary sauce. It's fresh, salty and tangy and really balances the sweet flavour of the salmon.

The salmon is served on a bed of purple sprouting broccoli that's been boiled for a few minutes until perfectly cooked. I heard somewhere, purple sprouting broccoli contains chemical thought to help prevent cancer and heart disease. It is also packed with vitamin C and is a very good source of iron, folic acid and fibre.

And as you may know, salmon is high in omega oils, so this whole dish, in a sense (my sense, anyway) is a health food.

OK, I need calcium now. Ice-cream anyone?...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

8. Baked cod in the bag with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar

The original recipe in the book calls for John Dory, but John Dory cannot easily be found here. My fishmonger is probably sick of me asking about this fish every time I visit him. Luckily, Jamie provides alternative fish that can be used for this recipe, like cod, haddock or even skate wing.

I chose cod because despite being overfished, I really like its tender, flaky flesh.

Cooking in a bag or commonly known as en papillote is such a fantastic cooking techniques because everything stays so moist. All the ingredients, the sliced ripe tomatoes, garlic, fresh red chilli, finely sliced onion, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, olive oil and the fish are basically put into a folded parcel and then baked. Make sure the parcel is tightly sealed and there are no gaps anywhere (don't wanna lose the wonderful cooking juices).

You can either use parchment paper or aluminium foil to create the parcel. I prefer foil only because it's stronger.

After twenty minutes, remove the parcel from the oven and allow it to rest before putting it on a plate. And then it was time for me to open the delicious present.

As I was eating, I keep thinking about the question many friends have been asking, "what's next when all of this is over, when you completed all the recipes?". I don't know to be honest. I know I want to keep blogging. Some friends and also my sisters suggest to do another book. But which book? hmmm... Well, I don't have to decide right now. I still have 35 days and 7 more recipes to try.

Anyway, the baked cod was utterly delicious. The juices from the tomatoes, the onion, olive oil and the vinegar create this wonderful pool of broth that surrounds the fish. It's like summer in a bag, on a plate and then in my stomach.

Have a great one.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Coq au Riesling & Chocolate Cola Cake

I'm getting really good with my new ability to control the weather. Today has been a warm, sunny and beautiful day just as I wished. I had a great time with some friends at the beach. The beach was fairly busy today with the preparation for the annual air show which starts tomorrow.

This evening my friend Leo asked me to show him a couple of delicious recipes that are quick and effortless. He plans to cook for his family sometime soon and of course, as a good friend, I was more than happy to help.

First on the menu was Coq au Riesling. This is my take on the classic French dish, Coq au Vin. And this is so embarrassingly easy. In a heavy casserole pot, heat up a glug olive oil and fry some cubed pancetta until slightly crisps. The pancetta will render its fat which is so delicious. Add some sliced onions, finely chopped celery, cubed potatoes and carrots and soften them with the pancetta for a few minutes. When softened, add dried thyme, finely chopped garlic, the chicken and the wine. I like to use skinless chicken thighs. You could use skinless and boneless if you prefer, but I like the bones for flavour. Season with salt and pepper. Let this come to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

When the stew had its time, add some sliced courgettes and simmer again for an extra five minutes. The courgette will be cooked but still slightly crunchy. I don't like courgettes that are cooked to a mush. Add some lemon juice to the broth and chopped parsley. Check again the seasoning.

Serve on a wide bowl, sprinkle with more parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Delish! This is the kind of stew I like to have on a breezy summer evening with cold beer or sparkling wine; it's light and refreshing (the lemon juice is crucial here).

For an easy and impressive looking cake, I made chocolate cola cake, a recipe from one of my favourite chefs, James Martin. This is my kind of baking, the kind that's straightforward. Simply mix a few ingredients in a bowl, put in a tin and bake. And when it's done, my guess will think that I've gone into a lot trouble making it.

Don't worry, you won't end up with a cola flavoured sponge. The cola here provides moisture to the cake. The cake is then covered with a thick and smooth chocolate cola icing. heaven!

I realised that I rarely include measurements for the recipes in my blog and I am really sorry. But you know what, this cake is so delicious and I think it's selfish not to share.

Chocolate cola cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Grease a 2o cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Sift 250 gr self rising flour, 300 gr golden caster sugar, 3 heaped tablespoons cocoa and 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.

Gently melt 250 gr butter and 200 ml cola drink together in a pan. Don't let it boil. When the butter has melted, add 75 ml of whole milk. Add this to the dry ingredients, together with two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix gently but thoroughly, then tip into the cake tin.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.

To make the icing, sift 250 gr icing sugar and 2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa into a bowl.
Melt 75 gr butter with 4 tablespoons of cola drink and add this to the sugar cocoa mixture and mix until well blended. Spread generously over the cake.

However, if you can't be bothered to bake and happen to be around, I have plenty of leftovers I'd be happy to share :)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

9. Lovely lamb shank pie

I always associate pies with autumn/wintry meal. I think it's because of their cosiness. You have the lovely warm filling of root vegetable, the tender meat and the creamy sauce; and also the crunchy, flaky pastry crusts.

Yesterday when I decided this is what I'm gonna make for today's dinner, before I went to bed, I wished tomorrow to be rainy and damp, like the winter so that I can really enjoy my pie.

And guess what, when I woke up this morning, it was raining, cold and miserable, you know, the typical British weather. It's so weird. Have I suddenly possessed the power to control the weather? Maybe.

Jamie's recipe for this lamb shank pie is very straightforward. Start by browning the seasoned shanks in olive oil for a few minutes and then put them aside on a plate. Sauté some chopped carrots, onions, turnip, leek and celery until the veg has softened. Add flour, red wine, tomato purée, a small bunch of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Put the shanks back into the pan and push them down in the sauce so they are completely covered by the liquid. Bring to a boil and then cover with a lid and simmer for an hour and a half. When the time is up, you'll end up with a delicious sauce (give a little taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary) and meat that is so tender but still holding its shape.

If you have a high-sided earthenware dish where the shanks can fit snugly into, take them out of the pan and put them into your dish. I don't have one and the reason I waited this long to make this recipe is because I've been looking for this dish everywhere but I had no luck. The ones I found are either too big, too small or too expensive. At the end, I used my le creuset pot and it worked! waahayy!

Beat an egg with a splash of milk and brush around the rim of your dish. Cover the pie with strips of puff pastry. Don't worry if you can't make the perfect lattice, I can't. In fact, Jamie's instruction is to 'lay these strips randomly and erratically over the dish, criss-crossing and winding them around the shank bones'. And there's no need to trim the edges neatly. I also think with pies, the more homey they look, the better. Brush the pastry strips with the egg was and put in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry is nicely golden. Easy as pie.

I had the pie with some peas, but broccoli, carrots or cabbage would also be lovely.

One last thing, I wish tomorrow will be nice and sunny, because I'm going to the beach.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

10. Grilled monkfish with black olive sauce and lemon mash

Counting down to the last ten recipes... how scary...

I often have friends over for dinner, mainly weekends and the occasional weekdays, but many times I'm alone at home and I have to cook for one. OK, cooking for one doesn't sound like fun, because I do like the company and sharing the food I cook with my friends.

But every now and then it's nice to be alone and enjoy dinner just by myself. I can cook whatever I want and not having to worry what my friends might not like or any substitutions because of allergies or dietary requirements; I can cook whenever I want without planning when people are going to arrive; and what's also fun about being by myself is I can put the music on whilst cooking, singing as loud as I want, and dancing and who's to judge?! no one (well, maybe my neighbours).

My favourite thing about cooking for one is I got to treat myself to a more extravagant ingredients, something I don't normally get when feeding a crowd, like monkfish.

I love monkfish. It has such a meaty texture. In this recipe, the monkfish fillet is grilled and then served with a fresh lemony mash, rocket salad and olive sauce, which is more like a salsa, that's made with black olives, chilli, garlic, parsley, celery heart, lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. As Jamie says, "really, really good".

This is a beautiful recipe, for me anyway. I love everything here, the lemony mash (I love lemon), the black olive sauce (I am a freak for olives), rocket salad which I can eat all day long and of course, the monkfish.

And when a meal is this good, why would I want to share it?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

baked chocolate mousse with berries

After a big, satisfying meal, there is no need to put out dessert. No one would really go hungry without it. But my view is, dessert is not about necessity; it's about luxury and indulgence. That's why desserts have to be something extraordinary. And extraordinary doesn't mean fancy or complicated. It's more like my baked chocolate mousse with berries.

The mousse only requires four ingredients: dark chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar; and twenty minutes in the oven. I am always amazed by how delicious this dessert is every time I make it. The baked mousse has this cake-like exterior even though it's flour-less; and inside is the gooey-est and lighter than a feather chocolate filling. The mousse is topped with vanilla whipped cream, sliced strawberries and raspberries which give freshness and summertime feeling to it.

Monday, 19 July 2010

slow-roasted pork belly and braised red cabbage

This is what happened, I went to the butcher to get my pork belly and then I went to the supermarket to get some more ingredients for dinner. After paying at the self-service check-out, I went home and suddenly realised one ingredient was missing. I left the pork belly at the supermarket!! I sprinted back to the supermarket (I could have won at least a bronze medal, I'm sure) and luckily somebody handed it in to a member of staff. I was so relieved...

It was a pretty good exercise though. I haven't been to the gym for a week and I don't mind burning a few calories before dinner.

This is another Jamie's recipe that I have made before and it got better and better. In a pestle and mortar I bashed some fennel seeds with salt and massaging this fragrant mixture to the scored skin before cooking.

Pork belly is best when cooked slowly, starting in a very hot oven to get the crackling going for about ten minutes; and then turning it down, letting the meat to continue cooking for another three hours.

After the first hour, take the tray out of the oven, pour away any excess fat and pour in a bottle of white wine and put it back in the oven for another couple of hours. The wine will become a delicious, light gravy.

The last hour of the cooking is the perfect time to make the accompaniment for the pork belly, must try red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar; also a recipe I have made before and it's definitely a must try.

The red cabbage is slowly cooked with bacon, fennel seeds, onions, apples and balsamic vinegar until the vinegar becomes syrupy and the cabbage is gorgeously sweet. Before serving, stir in a knob of butter and sprinkle with some parsley.

Dinner was YUM! the pork belly was so moist, the crackling was crunchy and the cabbage really complements the pork.

My friends and I had a little break and then it was time for dessert... and I think this dessert deserves its own post.

pappardelle with wild rabbit, olives and marjoram

Yes! I had been away for a few days. Last Monday, I attended my friends' graduation ceremonies which was fun. I had my graduation a couple of years ago and it's just nice to have that eight seconds moment when your name is called and you walk across the stage and people are cheering for you for the work you've done.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to the annual international student advisor's conference as part of my job in York and spent two days talking about immigration stuffs. OK, you are allowed to yawn...

I went to London on Thursday to celebrate my friend's birthday and I stayed there until yesterday. And if you're like me, when I travel, I don't go to museums or galleries, but I look for food places. Unless, it's food museum, like the chocolate museum when I was in Barcelona. Anyway, back to London, I went to Borough Market for the first time and it was wonderful. I was there around lunchtime and the options for a meal were unlimited. There were stalls that sell seafood, pies, curries, sandwiches, sweets, beverages, etc. I wanted something that I can eat on the go, like a burger, and so I had chicken burger. The thick chicken patty was grilled and then served with garlic mayo, wholegrain mustard, tomato salsa and rocket salad in a lightly toasted sesame bun. Yum! And then I had caramel pudding for something sweet.

What I also like about going to open market is there are many free samples. People offer you food everywhere you go and of course I couldn't say no, because that's just rude.

For souvenir I bought a rabbit which then transformed into today's lunch and also to continue with the cooking project. And yes, I bought a rabbit from London and took it back in a three hours train journey back to Sunderland. The meat was tightly wrapped with a bag of ice, and the butcher ensured me that it'll be fine.

When I got home last night, I marinated the rabbit with olive oil, lemon zest, thyme leaves and garlic, then leave in the fridge overnight. Jamie says you can even leave the meat to marinade for up to a couple of days if you want a stronger flavour.

This morning, I browned the meat in a heavy casserole pot, before adding more thyme, a sprig of rosemary, garlic and white wine. Cover the pot and put it in the pre-heated oven for a couple of hours until the meat pulls away easily from the bone. Just enough time to make the fresh pappardelle pasta or of course you can always buy good quality dried/fresh pappardelle from the store.

Once the meat has cooked and cooled to handle, shred all the meat away from the bones. I removed the rosemary sprig and garlic cloves and put the pot on the heat to reduce the cooking juices until slightly thickened. Stir the shredded meat, olives and marjoram into the sauce and season to taste.

To serve, simply add the cooked pappardelle to the sauce and stir, making sure every strand of pasta is covered by the sauce. Add a little knob of butter, parmesan cheese and lemon zest and sprinkle with more fresh thyme leaves. delicious...

I have plenty of leftover meat and I think this will good for risotto. Anyway, I need to unpack and do some house chores. I have friends coming over later....

And how was your weekend?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Fantastic Fish Lasagne

This fish lasagne is based from a Venetian-style baked fish dish. Jamie describes it as the Italian version of the British fish pie, using pasta instead of potatoes. The fish, I used cod, salmon and prawns, are layered with a beautiful, thick and creamy sauce; cherry tomatoes, parmesan, parsley, the pasta itself before finely topped with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest, and then baked in the oven.

Have you heard something about you shouldn't mix fish with cheese? Well I think why not. The little bit of parmesan in this lasagne makes it fully work. Italians are really strict about this, but I'm sure deep down inside they love it (though they might not admit it).

The lasagne wasn't at all hard to make but it's quite lengthy, especially when making the sauce. I'm a great believer that great things come to those who wait and the whole process was absolutely worth it.

Jamie calls this dish as Fantastic Fish Lasagne and I think it's an understatement. It's so delicious, beyond fantastic. I think it should be called... hmmm... well, I don't know, what's the word to describe a dish so delicious, beyond fantastic??

the beyond fantastic, Fantastic Fish Lasagne

For dessert, I made tiramisu, my all time favourite sweet things. It was a special request from my friends who came to visit from Scotland.

I was once told that the literal meaning of tiramisu is 'pick me up' and I don't know if this is true but apparently Venetian courtesans used to eat it before their gentlemen arrived for the evening because they believed it would give them the energy to make love all night...

And tonight I was reminded once again why I love cooking and going into all the troubles so much. Cooking is a way for me to share what I feel to others; and when I see my friends eating, enjoying the food I made, helping themselves for more serving, making delicious noises, it gives me joy.

3 days and 3 new recipes in a row?! I must be on fire! I have 11 recipes left to try and 51 days to go. Bring it on!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

grilled spatchcocked chicken

I had my friend Leo and his mom over for dinner tonight and because it's been such a warm and nice and perfect-for-the-grill day, I made grilled spatchcocked chicken with new potatoes, roast asparagus and herby yoghurt. I've been wanting to try this recipe since I started the project, but I thought I'd wait until the summer and the wait was finally over today.

Spatchcocking is basically cutting a chicken open through its back and flattening it out so it cooks quickly. This is an ideal way when preparing chicken for grilling or barbecuing. You could ask the butcher to do it for you, but it's quite easy to spatchcock the chicken yourself. You can use a pair of kitchen scissors to remove the back bone of the chicken or you can also use a very sharp knife like I did.

Also with a knife, I slashed the chicken legs about 1 cm deep in a few places. This will help the marinade to get into the meat and this will also cook the legs in the same time as the breast.

The chicken was marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and dried oregano for a couple of hours in the fridge and no longer than that, otherwise the acid in the lemon juice will 'cook' the meat.

Pre-heat the oven to high and also a griddle pan on the stove. Season the chicken generously with salt and black pepper and then place the chicken skin-side down on the grill until it's golden and crisps. This will only take minutes. Turn the chicken over, add a whole lemon to the pan and transfer everything to the preheated oven.

While the chicken is cooking, it's the prefect time to prepare the new potatoes. I used the miniature ones, simply because I like the look and I feel like I can eat more of them. :)
Put the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water, then bring to the boil and simmer until cooked. Drain the potatoes in a colander and put them back in the pan with good amount of butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put the lid on to keep them warm.

After 45 minutes in the oven, the chicken was golden and tender, but this is depending on the size of the chicken. Put the chicken on the serving platter and allow it to rest. Cut the whole roasted lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Mix with plain yoghurt, seasoning and serve this with the chicken later.

Pour any excess fat out of the griddle pan and cook the asparagus in a single layer for 3-4 minutes until tender. When the asparagus are cooked, toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Pile the asparagus and the potatoes on the serving platter with the chicken and scatter some parsley and mint leaves - OH YUM!

Friday, 9 July 2010

raviolini of celeriac and thyme

A change of plan this morning. I didn't go to the fishmonger. I just couldn't be bothered. I have some leftover spinach from yesterday's risotto and I have to use them, of course. I don't like wasting any food.

I flicked through Jamie's book, looking for a recipe that requires spinach, preferably a recipe I haven't tried before, and so I made raviolini of celeriac and thyme.

The spinach was used to make the coloured pasta. This is my first green pasta and as usual I really enjoy making my own pasta. The spinach was blanched and then puréed in a food processor before adding it to the egg for the dough.

The filling was equally easy to make. If you never had or seen celeriac before, it's not the most beautiful looking vegetable, but it sure is delicious. The diced celeriac was cooked in olive oil with fresh thyme leaves, garlic, chopped fresh chilli, salt, pepper and a bit of water until soft. Once done, and all the water has evaporated, I smashed the celeriac up with a potato masher, leaving some chunky bits and some smooth bits. At this point, this would actually be a very nice side dish.

Roll the dough and shape into raviolini...

They only need 3.5 minutes to cook in salted boiling water, just enough time to make the butter and thyme sauce. Yum. When the raviolini is done, remove it with slotted spoon and toss gently in the butter sauce with a splash of the cooking water. Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese and sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves. Jamie recommends a little black or white truffle oil if you are lucky enough to have some (and I haven't).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Spinach and goat's cheese risotto

If I were forced to pick my favourite recipe from the risotto chapter in the book, this has got to be the one. There's something about its creamy texture and flavour that make this risotto so, so comforting.

By cooking the spinach in butter, garlic and nutmeg before adding it to the risotto mixture gives a really intensely delicious flavour. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a handful of parmesan cheese and then topped the risotto with some lovely and tangy goat's cheese and extra virgin olive oil. The only right thing to do next is to pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a fork and start eating.

I know goat's cheese is not to everyone's taste; but I love it.

Anyway, I'm taking few days off from work only because I still have lots of holidays to take or otherwise I'll lose them. I'm going to the fishmonger tomorrow morning and I'm hoping to get the ingredients for the two recipes left I yet to try from the fish chapter of the book; or maybe the preparing and cooking live lobster section, still untouched... we'll soon find out *sigh...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

proper blokes' sausage fusilli

This is a real blokey, no fuss but yet delicious pasta dish. A recipe that I have made a few times from Jamie's book - and despite the name, girls love it too!

The pasta hasn't really got a sauce because all the flavour that comes out of the ingredients - the fennel seeds, chilli, oregano, white wine, butter, lemon zest, parsley and parmesan - will stick to the pasta and that's enough. Just make sure to get good quality sausages, because they are the main star here.

So, boys (and girls) this is how it's done. Bash up some fennel seeds and dried chillies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed, put to one side. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and squeeze the meat out of the sausage skins and put into the pan, really breaking it up using the back of a spatula. Fry for a few minutes until it starts to colour. Add the bashed up fennel seeds and chillies and cook until the meat becomes golden brown and slightly caramelized.

Stir in dried oregano, a glass of white wine and allow it to reduce a little. Add the lemon zest and juice. Turn the heat down and it's time to cook the pasta. When the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain, reserving a little of the cooking water and then toss the pasta in the sausage meat. Add a knob of butter, grated parmesan, finely chopped parsley, the reserved cooking water and really coat the pasta. Check the seasoning and serve with more parmesan over the top.

Pasta in a bowl, cold cider, football. Good times.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Doughnuts with Old English spiced sugar

So, this is the truth: I love doughnuts. I just have a soft spot for them; either the one with holes and covered in sugar or ones that are filled with jam or custard, I'm easy; but one thing, the doughnuts must be warm.

My mom makes wonderful doughnuts and I remember eating lots of them growing up.

I was very excited to make my own doughnuts and glad Jamie included this recipe in his book. The dough was not at all difficult to make and I love the addition of the lemon and orange zests to it.

After some frying and when they're still piping hot the doughnuts were then covered with spiced sugar that's made of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, lemon zest, orange zest and vanilla.

Each bite of these doughnuts bring back all the delicious memories from my mom's kitchen.

Day 308, Recipes 148

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Fab Fish Stew and Chocolate Tart

Another beautiful day here in Sunderland and on the menu tonight and continuing with the project was Fabulous Fish Stew. I went to my trusty fishmonger this morning and got all the ingredients needed for the stew. I bought mussels, clams, filleted bream, red snapper, cod and a couple of tiger prawns. Not a cheap recipe if I have to be honest.

Anyway, onto the recipe, I started by simmering chopped tomatoes, garlic, white wine and basil stalks. And nothing beats the smell coming out from this combination. heaven.

I then added all the fish and shellfish in one layer, making sure they are all coated in the lovely tomatoey broth. It would help to have a big shallow pan to do this. Put the lid on and let the stew cook gently for 10 minutes or until all the clams and mussels have opened and the fish fillets and tiger prawns are cooked through. Remember to discard any clams and mussels that don't open.

The fish stew was fabulous, hence the name, if I must say. I think my dad would love this stew. I'll definitely cook this for him.

The fish stew is best served with saffron aioli. But can you guess the one crucial ingredient I couldn't find anywhere today? yes, it was saffron. I went to three different supermarkets and they were all out of stock. I wonder what people are cooking this summer.

Instead, I made garlic aioli and that's basically mayonnaise mixed with finely grated garlic, lemon and a little salt.

And not to forget, crusty bread to soak all of the broth.

For something sweet I made fifteen chocolate tart, also a recipe from the book. I attempted to make this weeks ago and failed and it's been haunting me as my first attempt to make chocolate pastry was a disaster. To cut long story short, the pastry ended up in the bin and I was left frustrated.

I told myself that I'm gonna try it again today and hope for the best.

And I think I have conquered the recipe! YES!!!! The tart turned out beautifully (a little rough around the edges but I could live with that).

I was so so pleased with the tart and I don't know where to start to describe how delicious this tart is. One of my favourite food combination is chocolate and orange and these flavours really come through in the pastry.

Crumbly chocolate and orange pastry with silky smooth chocolate filling

Have a great weekend.