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A favourite thing: FOOD
Home Cooking - Helpful Hints and Tips
Member Name: sy2kgbr
Home Cooking - Helpful Hints and Tips
Date: 25/07/02, updated on 25/07/02 (1413 review reads)
Advantages: Quick, easy, tastes nice.
Disadvantages: If you cook like I do, you'll have a mountain of washing up at the end...
I'm sure most of you have heard about Jill Murphy's "favourite thing" celebration by now. I've just returned from a quick break in England (gotta love that weather - I actually tanned) and had plenty time to consider what to write about on the journey back. I nearly wrote my favourite thing opinion on bags - you don't realise how many you own until a friend points out that you've got so many they're taking over your home.
But I digress.
Bags (and shoes) are certainly a favourite thing of mine, but so is food. I do enjoy cooking, especially making cakes. Probably because they taste so nice.
Deciding upon my favourite food would be too difficult, so I thought I'd share an easy three course meal with you instead. You can make the starter the day before, and the pudding is a bit of a cheat, so it's really very quick.
Make this the day before to save time!
Watercress roulade is an impressive yet simple appetiser and can be made the day before. Actually, it's better made the day before because it gives it time to set. All you'll need is a packet of watercress from your local supermarket (can be bought very cheaply if you buy it close to its expiry date), a six pack of eggs, some salmon (the long thin pieces are the only kind that will work, so take those chunky pieces out of your trolley), some mayo (whatever you have lying about - doesn't matter if it's the fatty kind or the light version), some salt and pepper (which I expect you'll have in your house anyway), some water and some gelatine.
Basically, you whip up a few egg yolks and add half a packet or so of the watercress. One of those handheld liquidisers works wonders as it shreds up the watercress for you. Then you have to whip up the egg whites and fold in. If you don't whip the egg whites properly and they fall into your wa
tercress mixture just like water, then folding is probably not an option. Never mind. Just mix it together. The end product will look different, but not *bad* different. They'll never know anyway.
Depending on how much of the watercressy mix you've made, you'll need to line a baking tray or a small Pyrex dish with baking paper. Once that's done, pour the green mixture into the container and pop it in the oven. Shouldn't take that long to cook. Keep it in the oven until the mixture is solid.
You'll need to make some egg mousse to go in the roulade. Hard boil some eggs, peel off the shells (if you plunge the eggs into cold water, you'll save time waiting for them to cool) and mash them up using one of those potato masher things. Add a few healthy dollops of mayo, some salt and pepper and mix together.
You'll need to dissolve the gelatine in some hot water before adding that to the egg. V simple, and the instructions should be on the packaging.
Once the green thing is cool, place some of the smoked salmon along one edge and smear the egg mouse on top. Using the baking paper to help you, roll it up. Once it's all rolled up, you should be able to hold it quite firmly. Place in the fridge to cool.
Before you serve it, pull the baking paper off and cut (think cutting swiss rolls/Christmas logs).
Quicker than you'd think!
Take some chicken fillets out of your freezer to defrost. If you're *really* short of time, there's always the defrost button on your microwave.
You should have some potatoes kicking about somewhere - cook as you like. My method of choice is a rosti. Apply a grater to some potatoes (do this over a bowl) and squeeze out the starch. Add some beaten egg, butter and season with salt and pepper. Pat into little cakes and cook in an omelette pan. (You can actually use
any pan you like, but my omelette pan is non stick; which is why I like it so much.)
Take a fully defrosted chicken fillet and put it into a pan. (Again, use a clean pan of your choice, but I really do only have one that's still non stick. My others are just scratched and horrid to clean.) Cook until it's slightly golden brown or at least just white. Black is a bad colour. Pink is also not good. Anything in-between is fine. (Most colours are good, except maybe purple.)
Repeat the process until you have enough chicken, or just do them all at the same time in a *really* big pan.
Transform some bread into crumbs using your weapon of choice - grater is v difficult, hands are ok but take a while, and a blender is v quick and v easy. Grate some cheese while you're at it.
Put the chicken onto a baking tray, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese, and pop into the oven just to brown and melt it all. Shouldn't take long. Once again, black is a very bad colour, boys and girls.
You now have chicken + potato. If there's some salad or anything green in your fridge that isn't a watercress roulade, then serve with that as well. Don't forget that bottle of salad dressing.
Make an ordinary pudding look impressive!
If time is definitely not on your side, then try this quick and easy dessert - ice cream served in a sugar basket.
Pour some caster sugar into a pot and put it on the stove. Stirring it would be a very bad idea, which is good because you probably don't have time to do so anyway. While the sugar is turning into a deliciously looking golden brown sticky substance, find a small Pyrex bowl (or something similar, we're just randomly pulling things out of the cupboard here) and grease it. Butter, margarine, it's all the same here. Whatever you've got handy.
When the s
ugar is ready, take it off the heat and grab a fork. Dip the fork into the brown gloop and hold it up (still above the pot, so the sugar falls back into it, not onto your kitchen floor) and wait until the thread runs thin. Not doing this is the mistake most people will make, if any. You don't want to make a lumpy sugar basket; it's just not pretty. Wait till you've got a fairly thin strand running from the fork and run your fork in the air over the greased bowl (which is standing on some baking paper; just to keep the kitchen tidy). Keep dipping the fork into the sugar mix and running it backwards, forwards and even in circular motions. Whatever works for you.
If you've done everything right, you should have a v impressive sugar basket on top of your Pyrex bowl. Wait a while to let the sugar cool, then slip it off. You'll probably find it easy to test it a little first and loosen the sugar from the bowl rather than simply yank it off. It should feel pretty easy to remove.
You should make a sugar basket per hungry person - if you have lots of similarly sized bowls, you can work quickly, but if not, you'll have to reuse the same bowl. No problem.
Now, the ice cream which is standing on your kitchen counter (you should have taken it out a few minutes ago unless it's one of those wonderful soft scoop types) is ready to go into your baskets. Be careful here - you don't want to break them. If your baskets are looking a bit fragile, then put a couple of scoops of ice cream onto a small plate (bread plates are fine) and put the basket *over* them. Still impressive.
This really doesn't take long at all. You can even grate a regular chocolate bar (if you have any handy in the fridge) and sprinkle the chocolate on top of the ice cream if you like.
If you do have slightly longer, banoffee pie is good. A bit scared at long this op is turning out to be, so I won't ad
d any more recipes. But I will add that when you make banoffee pie, don't take it out of the flan dish too early or the weight of the 'toffee' will cause the biscuit base to collapse outwards. Not a pretty sight. But yummy nevertheless.
Arrgh better finish this thing off:
* don't be scared to try your own new ideas
* measuring things takes time - with most recipes you can just trust your own judgement and not have to dig out the scales
* get someone else to do the washing up!
PS., hope this is the right category!
"Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."