The Forgotten Dishes

You know those days when you shuffle into the kitchen and you can just about manage to pour some cereal into a bowl? Or those even worse days when you demand that your other half shuffles into the kitchen and make you a bowl of cereal? Sometimes though you have the wherewithal the cook but then you sit in front of the computer screen with absolutely no inspiration at all. All the words seem like a riddle, but not a clever Lewis Carroll riddle, more like a "why on earth am I mindlessly watching E News?" riddle. And that's if you're lucky to churn anything out at all. Perhaps it's just me that suffers from that...if so, forget I ever said anything.
Anyway, whilst flipping through my My Pictures file, originally titled, rather inspiredly 'Blog', I found lots of pictures of food that I had never written about. And the food was good too! Most of the time anyway. So, I thought I would share with you the food that didn't make it. The food that deserved to be given the spotlight alongside Blueberry Loaf Cake and Courgette Fritters but just didn't. These are the forgotten dishes:

Cabbage Torte. A recipe I cooked only last week or so, from a recent issue of Gourmet Magazine. It was supposed to be an unusual ingredient of the week because it used Cavolo Nero,
an Italian breed of cabbage that I have been looking for for ages. As I recall, the dish comprised of some egg tagliatelli, that was mixed up with beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, Taleggio cheese and the cooked, chopped Cavolo Nero, then poured into a cake tin and baked in the oven until golden brown. To be honest, it wasn't that great; I found it to be a little too eggy and not cheesy enough. I also felt that it was probably a waste of my Cavolo Nero which I had waited so long to get.

Paneer Curry
Now this did rock my world in a way that only a squeaky flavourless fried cheese can. I love Paneer. I love it's texture, I love the flavour it takes on when fried and I love how it is a perfect bland foil to a spicy sauce. I also appreciate its affinity with the frozen pea.
This recipe was cooked only Tuesday this week, when we were trying to clear some things out of the cupboard and use up a rapidly wilting bunch of Coriander. The recipe was taken from Keith Floyds Curries (CLICK HERE PLEASE!!) book but I prefer Nigella Lawsons version in Feast which packs more of a punch. We served it with Prawn Cakes (see below).

Chicken a la Cider
Now this was a good dish but perhaps I felt I couldn't give it the write up that it deserved. I took this from the latest issue of Fine Cooking and it was my variation of Poulet au Vinaigre, featured in their excellent Bistro Special. How did I make it different, I hear you cry? Well, I didn't have the required Champagne Vinegar, nor Dry White Wine so I used Cider Vinegar and some of my very special Somerset Pomona from the Cider Brandy Company. I added some sauteed mushrooms and produced a sort of Coq au Pommes, if you will. This dish is particularly notable for it's use of Tarragon, a herb hitherto unseen in the Erickson kitchen due to an all encompassingly bad experience with a bottle of Absinthe. We served it with Puy Lentils with Kielbasa Sausage (see below).

Mexican Flan
The dessert element of our much lauded Mexican Fiesta.
For now, gaze upon the golden be-topped glory that was Mexican Flan, an eggy, vanilla, cinnamon scented custard topped with a caster sugar sauce (surely a miracle of culinary science how it goes from sugar to hard caramel to this liquified sauce). 3 out of 4 dinner party grateful guests gave it the thumbs up. The other one had ice cream. And shots of tequilla. Lots and lots of tequilla.

Lentils with Kielbasa
This was ths side dish served with aforementioned Chicken with Cider or Coq au Pommes. Puy Lentils simmered with herbs and garlic until tender. The Kielbasa sausage sliced up and rapidly boiled in some seasoned red wine until thickened and reduced, then the two are put together. I love Puy Lentils, the sausage not so much. But I love the Lentils. I can eat them straight from the pan (cooked of course). I love Lentils. Did I mention that?

Prawn Cakes
My attempt at an Asian classic, Thai Prawn Cakes. I made this recipe up as I went along, utilising elements from various online and offline sources. In the end, the ingredients, whizzed up in my food processor, were prawns, fresh coriander, some fresh ginger, a clove or two of garlic, some Nam Pla, an egg, a fresh Chilli and an Onion. Oh and the juice from a lime. I think I may have added some salt too which meant that the finished dish was a wee bit too salty but Paul said they were great the next day.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
A really old one this, from last Summer (ah, how I long for warm summer days again), Wholemeal Chocolate Cake from a Nigel Slater Cake, who had adapted it from a Tamasin Day-Lewis recipe. It had a good heritage yet I remember it being slightly dry in texture. The 'instant' icing was chopped hazelnuts and chocolate sprinkled on the cake before it goes in the oven.

Braised Red Cabbage and Sausages with Smashed Potatoes
I had to look twice at this dish to remember what it was. Then I remembered, braised red cabbage with sausages, taken from a UK food magazine, probably Good Food, served with smashed potatoes, a recipe from another food magazine, this time Fine Cooking.
The only auspicious thing about this dish was the potatoes, they were the Shetland Black Potatoes that I blogged about, way back in early December. They lose their black colour when cooked, as you can see here which is a shame but the flavour is great, as potatoes used to taste. This is the potato dish that got me into eating potato skins, hithertofore, I had never touched the skin. Basically the potatoes are boiled whole and in their skins, left to cool and then squashed flat with the palm of your hand, drizzled with oil and baked in the oven until they come out resembling some sort of flattened cockroach. They taste great in spite of the nauseating analogy. The braised cabbage and sausage was nothing to blog home about.

So, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the lost foods of the Erickson household. This doesn't even include stuff that wasn't photographed or that was just lost fullstop. Luckily that doesn't happen too often. As for the weekend, well, to jump on the bandwagon, I got Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, that so many people have been writing about. It's a big book and one that I will pouring over all weekend. I also added Rick Stein's Food Heroes and Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt (beautiful cover). And in case I get fed up of reading about food or cooking food, I also bought a game for my Nintendo DS: Cookin' Mama. Yes, I really am that juvenile.


The Mommy Chef said...

Wow! All of those dishes look great.And it makes me want to get into the kitchen!I love cooking with apple cider.I am actually making bourbon chicken tonight that uses cider in place of bopurbon.I know,silly to call it bourbon chicken,right? Great blog.I am glad I found you!

wheresmymind said...

Lentils with Kielbasa??? Cabbage Recipes??? All that and you dig punk rock and horror too?? Your husband is one lucky monkay!

Ros said...

Ah, yes I sympathise. I also have a backlog of photos of meals that I was going to write up but didn't. For me it's usually because the photos were a bit rubbish. I have no problem with writing bad articles so long as the photo makes up for it! ;)

It's a good thing you posted these - it would have been a shame for us t miss them - especially those little prawn cakes - they look great!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi, Freya!

What a great blog you have here!

So, you've been keeping all these delicious recipes a secret??? Don't do that! ;)

That chocolate and hazelnut cake has my name written all over it.

Tks for the lovely comment on my blog, I know I'll be here again for sure!

Shaun said...

Freya, love - Clearly you and Paul eat well. Perhaps it is a good thing that you don't live close to Eric and I...I fear all we'd do is cook and eat and not blog at all. It sounds like Paul has the Mexican Flan thing done, which is a great achievement because some are too eggy or have caramel that is either too runny or too hard. The lentils and Kielbasa side sounds great...I love Polish sausage (I'm not being dirty). But the recipe that I'd be most keen on getting the recipe for is that of Chicken a la Cider...What would you swap the mushrooms out for? Chestnuts?

Can you believe I haven't cooked anything from "Feast" yet? There are so many great recipes in that book, and I have read it from cover to cover, too. Perhaps I should have another look at it and see what I can make in the coming week. Are there other recipes you have tried from this cookery book?

Freya said...

Hi Mommy Chef! Glad you found us! I think bourbon chicken sounds great, except it never lasts long enough in our house to use it in cooking....

Jeff, if he's a lucky monkay, then what does that make me??

Hi Ros! I'm glad to hear about your exacting standards :)! Your pictures are, for the most, great! And the writing is really funny too! The prawn cakes look better than they tasted I think due to a slight heavy handedness with the old salt pot!

Hi Patricia! Glad you enjoyed the article! I'm pinching your carrot cake recipe too!

Shaun, I think that perhaps we eat a bit too well at times! Actually, I cooked the flan. Paul doesn't do desserts except maybe ice cream from the tub! I'll email you the chicken recipe, it really was very good!
I haven't cooked too much from Feast because, as with all Nigella books, she caters for such large parties of people that it becomes a bit mind boggling having to halve and quarter the recipes!
Speak to you soon!

Freya x

Katie said...

What a wonderful round-up of your own!
I'd be very happy eating at your house. Now, I'm hungry for red cabbage...

Kathryn said...

The food that the blogger forgot... It looks delicious - all of it! I wish the food that I forgot was so good. Mmm.

Oh and I have that problem with Feast too, sometimes, but I've ended up cooking a lot out of it (probably getting the maths wrong mostly)...

Kathryn x

Kristen said...

Look at all of those great things. Looks really good!