Sunday, 8 July 2018

One Student at Nigella's Table: Update 1

So as we discussed in my first blog post about this project, I'm currently on a mission to try out every recipe in Nigella Lawson's latest cookbook At My Table. I'll be posting updates every 10 recipes so here's what I've made recently. I've not quite gotten into the swing of trying out many of the dinner recipes as I'm living at home and running on everyone else's schedules/tastes. But I definitely plan to try out more fo the dinner recipes when I'm living on my own.

I've made a few of the main dishes and a few of the desserts too. So far I've had no major disasters and everything has been at least edible (when you aren't a good cook that's the standard). I tried black pudding for the first time, was shocked at how easy it was to make mayo and terrorised some Americans with the concept of savourty French toast.

Here's what I thought of the recipes:

Golden Garlic Mayonnaise

Rating out of 5: 5
Time taken: 5 minutes
Any changes: I forgot to add a teaspoon of lemon juice right at the end. Didn't notice that it was missing. 

I used to be firmly in the 'mayo is gross' camp but recently I've become a big fan of flavoured mayo. Particularly anything spicy or garlic. I was so surprised by how easy it is was to make this from scratch, just putting all the ingredients into the bowl and blending them together. This recipe does include saffron which is expensive and you can't really taste it but it does add a lovely colour. I made this to serve alongside the next dish as I thought the garlic mayo would work really well with the crispy potatoes. 

Black Pudding Hash with Fried Egg

Rating out of 5: 3
Time taken: 45 minutes
Any changes: I used chilli flakes/powder in replacement of a fresh red chilli. 

Oh, what sins can be hidden by a well placed fried egg? This dish tastes nice in the end but my recreation looked nowhere near as good as the picture. I didn't quite get the nice crunchy look that the book demonstrated. My potatoes also took a lot longer to good than the book suggested so the overall cooking time became a lot longer. This dish was lovely and went really well with the garlic mayo but for what is supposed to be a breakfast meal the prep time wasn't really worth it.

Catalan Toasts

Rating out of 5: 4
Time taken: 10 minutes max
Any changes: I didn't cut up the tomato as much as I really should have as I used cherry tomatoes and I don't have time for that.

This is one of those dishes that the Spanish will call Catalan toast and insist it is Spanish. The Italians will call it bruschetta and insist it is Italian. I will call it who cares it's tasty and insist it is a nice easy lunch. So yeah this was one of those recipes I was glad to have during the challenge as it's so easy to do quickly. This is basically my recipe for bruschetta that I use all the time minus basil and red wine vinegar. However, it was super tasty, super easy and I have no complaints.

Parmesan French Toasts

Rating out of 5: 5
Time Taken: 15 minutes
Any changes: I added yellow mustard seeds in replacement of dijon mustard as my family didn't have any in the house (who are these people and how are we related).

I first introduced my American friends to Nigella by watching the accompanying BBC series to this show. They were absolutely horrified at the concept of savoury French toast when they watched Nigella make this. Like. actually pained. So of course when I made this I had to rub it in their faces. It was delicious and super easy to make. Infinitely more tasty than plain old savoury French toast. I can see myself making this again to serve with some bacon and maybe a smidge of Vermont maple syrup as a homage to my stateside friends?

Roast Loin of Salmon with Aleppo Pepper and Fennel Seeds

Rating out of 5: 5
Time taken: 15 minutes
Any changes: I used a salmon fillet rather than the whole loin as I was just cooking for myself, I also used cumin seeds rather than fennel seeds because they are basically the same thing and I didn't want to buy fennel seeds for one recipe.

This recipe was great during the heatwave that graced Scotland recently. I made this one evening, flaked up the salmon with a fork and had in a wrap with lettuce and a touch of the garlic mayo. Delicious meal for a hot night when the heat takes away your appetite. I cook salmon a lot so I can definitely see myself having this again (and not only because I bought 100g of Aleppo pepper for Amazon and now have a huge jar of it in the cupboard).

Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse

Rating out of 5: 2
Time taken: 30 minutes
Any changes: I followed it by the book!

This recipe just didn't work out too well for me. That could be because I didn't execute it well. But the end product was not super tasty. I don't think it was sweet enough so I think it would be better wth more sugar or milk chocolate instead of dark. I enjoyed it alright but no one else in the family wanted to eat it which isn't really a good review is it!

Emergency Brownies

Rating out of 5: 3
Time taken: 40 minutes
Any changes: I cup up chocolate from a bar rather than using chocolate chips and omitted the walnuts because I didn't have any.

So the idea of this emergency brownie is that it's a smaller portion of brownies should you not want to make a whole tray (???). It was tasty enough but honestly I think I'd rather just have a full tray of brownies. I could understand if it was a mug cake or something and it was genuinely faster to make than a full tray but if you're going to go to the effort of weighing out ingredients etc I think you may as well go full steam ahead.

Grapefruit Margarita

Rating out of 5: 5
Time taken: 5 minutes
Any changes: I followed it by the book!

Jesus christ Nigella you make a strong drink. After one of these, I was practically half cut. Great recipe though and super easy. I've made it a few times and it's really fresh and light.

Bashed Cucumber and Radish Salad

Rating out of 5: 5
Time taken: 10 minutes
Any changes: I didn't have any radishes (we normally always have them so I had a moment of shock after I started slicing the cucumbers and then found no radishes in the fridge) so I used tomatoes instead. I also used dried ginger instead of fresh.

I made this as a side dish for a lunch one day and it was really fast and tasty. To be honest, I don't really think that bashing the cucumber was necessary but it was fun so I can't complain. The dressing was really fresh and sharp so worked really well with the lighter veggies. I loved it, so did my grandmother. Is there a better seal of approval?

No photo of this one, unfortunately!

Cumin Seed Cake

Rating out of 5:
Time Taken: 1 hour and 20 minutes including cooking
Any changes: Em so I took a bit of artistic liberty with this one. I used self-raising flour in replacement of plain flour and baking powder. I also used lemon zest and juice in replacement of orange zest and orange blossom water. My mixture made two loaves.

I honestly didn't know how I felt about the idea of a cumin cake but Nigella I will trust you and give it a go. Despite rejigging the recipes a little bit based on what I had available, it came out really well. It was a little more citrusy than the original recipe was probably supposed to be but as it was really nice, light but spicy, I'm going to consider it a success.

Recipes Complete: 11/109

And if you'd like to get a copy of the book yourself. It's currently on sale at Amazon for £12. (aff. link)

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