Sunday, 15 April 2012

Many meals...

I've been meaning to write this post all week! So much to many brownies to bake. I was musing on the fact that I still get quite excited by making tray after tray of them after 8 years...I decided that it was a good sign to keep doing what I'm doing!
The ones above were baked especially for my parents Golden Wedding celebrations last weekend...toasted pecan with lots of gold glitter!
On Good Friday, I traditionally bake something for our neighbours as an Easter gift. Last year it was hot cross buns. This time, I made loaves of the Colomba Pasqualina mixture that I described in my last post. I left them to rise slowly overnight and baked them first thing on Friday morning...then wrapped and delivered them to 6 houses while still warm...
It was a surprise...and everyone was very pleased & delighted! I have had some beautiful 'thank-you' cards this week. We have two sets of next door neighbours...the wonderful gentleman to our right is in his '90's, dapper & sprightly. He answered the door in his floor length, satin edged dressing gown & elegant velvet slippers....perfect!
Mum & Dad's party went so well, too, on Easter Saturday. 18 of their closest friends & family gathered for lunch cooked by moi. Of course, I was too busy to take pictures....& I confess that I actually forgot until it was too late - except for dessert!
I planned a middle-eastern inspired it is our family's favourite region for food. Nigella Lawson's Sephardi Roast Lamb, Sticky Garlic Potatoes & Involtini (all taken from her fabulous book 'Feast') & Ottolenghi's French Bean & Mange Touts with Hazelnuts & Orange plus (slightly adapted) Fennel & Pomegranate Salad with Sumac...I made an extra side dish of the jewelled rice stuffing from the lamb, so that everyone could have more. It looked and tasted absolutely gorgeous!
Fresh raspberry almond tart with creme fraiche...
those brownies....
and, of course,
a special cake! I am the first to admit that the decorations here are not the most sophisticated I have produced...but my almost-4-year-old nephew was very eager to help...& I know that it meant all the more to my parents for that haphazard sprinkling of the glitter by their youngest grandson!
The flavour was lemon - a special request from my Mum - filled with home-made lemon curd. Light & delicious and the perfect end to a memorable celebration!

Last night we had a couple of close friends over for dinner - my favourite kind of evening. Easy & relaxed & fun - and I wanted the food to reflect that. So I cooked some 'real Mexican' from Thomasina Miers' lovely book 'Mexican Food made simple'. Lamb Barbecoa (a slow-cooked dish with the complex flavours of smoky ancho chilis, very dark chocolate & red wine amongst others) Green Rice (a revelation...a paste of onion, garlic, fresh coriander & flat leaf parsley is used to add a beautiful jade colour and fresh taste to simple rice - I will be using this a lot) & a pickled 'slaw' accompaniment made from white cabbage, radishes & red onion sliced paper-thin and dressed with olive oil, sherry vinegar, more coriander & my own addition of pomegranate molasses...which cut through the rich, strong flavours of the lamb beautifully.
Afterwards, Ottolenghi's Chocolate Fudge Cake which is a deep, dark yet mousse-y flourless confection that sparked many compliments (from the first book, Ottolenghi The Cookbook) Highly recommended & very simple to make. I added some pecans crumbled on top before the final baking, for a little crunch (I can never resist tweaking recipes, as you'll have noticed!)
So, I collected my new supply of brownie chocolate on Friday...100kg, in large, white sacks of 25kg each. They will last me about 4 weeks at this busy time of I'd better get on with it!
Wishing you a wonderful week xo