Some Old Favourites....and Some More That Just Didn't Make It

I always consider these "and here's some I didn't blog about" posts to be a bit like sawdust or clip shows - a sort of filler because there's a lack of inspiration and/or time. And that's exactly the case here. Well, I'm not suffering from lack of inspiration but more lack of time. This Boiga Ballyhoo that Paul insanely embroiled us in is in full swing in our kitchen and there seems to be no end in sight.
Not only are we grilling every evening (and, I admit it, sometimes just using the griddle pan - rain, you know) but we also have a 'social' barbecue organised for Saturday. I am refusing to eat any more burger based food products and am instead doling check sheets out to our hosts and forcing them to mark the burgers out of 10 instead.
Don't get me wrong. We had a fantastical response and every single burger sounds absolutely delicious. It really will be hard to judge which lucky person will be the recipient of a 5 gallon drum of Goatslick...that's why I'm passing the tasting duties onto our friends.
But I digress. There is one thing that separates this post from a compilation episode of the Simpsons - you haven't seen these dishes before. Or have you? Some of them are old favourites of mine that I wrote about last year and wanted to share them with those of you didn't catch the posts last year (why not, I ask!). So, without fanfare and further ado, here's the grub....
1) Smoked Haddock and Watercress Tart. This classic Tamasin Day-Lewis from her Art of the Tart book comes from a frantic tart baking spell that I went through last Autumn. I am still a huge advocate of anything that can be stuffed into a pastry shell, being a carbohydrate addict, and will take any opportunity I can to make a pie/flan/tart etc.
This recipe won't be of much interest to our transatlantic friends who don't have privy to as many smoked goods (of the food variety) as us Brits and more is the pity. Smoked Haddock is a smoky, salty fish with the texture of cod but much more flavour. Brits have been eating it for breakfast with poached eggs or as part of a Kedgeree for many years and our smokeries are rapidly coming back into fashion, after a decline in interest.
Unless, like lucky Christine over at My Plate or Yours, who has her own smoker (and check out her smoked prawns and cheese for more reasons why you need to buy a smoker), you may find yourself confronted with smoked products that have been dyed (haddock was an unnatural shade of saffron until only a few years ago) or chemically smoked. This is not a natural process so check the labels carefully. Artificial smoking really does not taste good at all.
The symbiotic relationship between the smoked fish and the watercress is thrilling and this is truly a tart for an old fashioned picnic. I get asked by my Mum to make it all the time. If you do manage to get hold of some smoked Haddock, the recipe is here..

2) And now for something that looks really good but was completely disastrous: Beef Empanadas.
The premise seemed like a recipe for success: beef simmered with some gently spices, onions and olives, then stuffed into a pastry circle and baked. I told you I liked stuffing things in pastry.
The recipe, culled from the UKTVFood website recommends simmering the beef for about half an hour. An hour later and mine was still like boot leather. The flavour was boring and the pastry tough, although Paul did a wonderful job of folding and crimping the Empanadas into their distinctive shape. This hasn't put me off making Empanadas again, just remind me to look for a slightly more traditional recipe.

3) A delicious vegetarian classic that fulfils my "quick, it's the end of the month and we have virtually nothing left in the freezer" quota, Black Bean and Aubergine Chili.
Actually, I used Black Eyed Beans instead, because I love their nibbly little bite and nutty flavour which works so well in this dish. Any fervent meat eater would be hard pressed to pinpoint this specifically as vegetarian. The Aubergine is fried off and then added to the chili at the end to heat through. Any chili dish that is ready within 45 minutes is good with me.


3) Another disaster: Oatmeal Meringues.
I have been checking out this recipe in a baking cookbook for a while, just imagining how delicious the combination of oatmeal and meringue would be.
I thought I would be clever and use golden caster sugar instead of normal white, processed sugar, thinking it would give a yummy, caramel texture to the meringues. I know this works because I have made meringues with golden caster sugar before.
However, I'm not sure if leaving the meringues in the oven for 2 hours on a low heat contributed to the cremated mess that you see before you or if the oatmeal just didn't like being baked for a long time. I am definitely not going to let these beat me though and I have two egg whites sitting waiting for me in the freezer, next time I feel like a challenge.

4) Magic Lemon Pudding. The pudding that really does live up to it's name, separating from a lemony batter into a light sponge top with a tangy citrus bottom.
I have fond memories of this dish. I last served it to Paul's family when they visited at Christmas time and I recall that his brother Mark was particularly enamoured of the dish, literally licking the baking dish clean and having to go to hospital to have third degree burns on his tongue treated. Later on, he started injecting the lemon pudding, such was his need for a fix. Am I kidding? After eating sardine cookie sandwiches, you may never know the truth.


5) Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken. Simply the best recipe I have ever tried for this long time family favourite. I just cannot get enough of Parmesan Chicken. It is simple, tasty and quick. And to a lesser extent, healthy.
I actually taste-tested a recipe for Cooks Illustrated that required a lot more faff and the flavour wasn't as good. I have yet to cook an Ina recipe that has failed me.
The next time I make this recipe, I really want to make a sandwich out it, stuffing a soft white roll with lettuce, mayonnaise and tomatoes and then a thick slab of crisp-coated, cheesy, tender chicken. I think that would be ultimate chicken sandwich.
So, I hope that you've enjoyed taking this glimpse into our kitchen, and I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy weekend. If I eat another burger, I fear that I may be hospitilised for some time....

29 comments:

Susan said...

Everyone has their own hit or miss collection of recipes. I'm a great fan of Parmesan chicken, too. And that lemon pudding looks like a marvelous summer dessert even though you made it for Xmas.

christine (myplateoryours) said...

Hits and Misses -- what a fun idea. Though unlike you, I don't take pretty pictures of my failures -- they tend to go right down the garbage disposal. :)

Saffron said...

Another wonderful collection of recipes!
Baci

Brilynn said...

I think I participated in my last meme just because I needed something to post and hadn't made anything new...

MidwestMaven said...

I'm going to try the Parmesan Chicken. Sounds delicious, and easy to make - perfect!

Aimée said...

I'm glad I am not the only one with some hit and misses! Thanks for sharing!

pom d'api said...

I'm so hungry very beautiful dish!!

Kelly-Jane said...

Everything looks yummy, I love seeing what fellow bloggers cook nightly!

Will have to look for Ina's Parmesan chicken, that seems to have escaped me, hmmm.

katiez said...

What a great idea! I can clean out photoshop! Maybe have a 'worst dressed' contest.
I liked the smoked haddock one, a British friend brings it to me - rarely.
And the parmesan chicken - I can do that one...often!
Continue to enjoy the burgers!

veron said...

That parmesan chicken looks so good, it does look very tasty. I should put this on my Must Try list. Happy weekend to you too!

Nora B. said...

The parmesan chicken sounds good. I read about a similar recipe on Eva's blog too. Now I will have to try it.

Deborah Dowd said...

Beautiful picture of the black bean and aubergine dish and I have to try the Magic Lemon Pudding! As long as you have more hits than misses you're ahead of the game!

Cynthia said...

This was such a fun post. Had me thinking about my own hits and misses.

Have a good weekend too.

valentinA said...

Wow Freya, you've been cooking up a storm! I wish I had as much time as you to spend in the kitchen!
I've never had waterpress pie before, I always had it as a salad or in a clear watercress & egg soup. Hmmm, all the food looks good enough for me=)

Lydia said...

I think we could all write a post called "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". Thanks for putting yours out there! Without the kitchen failures we would not be able to appreciate the successes!

Kirsten said...

Too funny - and a good read. I must try Ina's parmesan chicken...

Good luck surviving all the burgers!! :)

Quellia said...

Well I've never had the smoked fish before, but based on everything else you cooked here that was a hit, if you served it to me, I'd eat it.

Sig said...

:) Nice post... Even your not so there dishes look great!
So you guys are actually trying out all the burgers... I wanted to participate so badly, but had some busy weeks at work, couldnt do much cooking at all... Can't wait for the round-up and to see the winner... :)

Passionate Eater said...

I love to see recipes that were successes and those that were failures. We are all human, and so are the recipe authors! And I love Ina Garten's recipes too--she is "perfect."

Claude-Olivier said...

Oups for the meringues ;-) But all the rest sounds good !!! The beef empanadas, I have never tried but I will !!!

Have a very nice day
Cheers
Claude

Victoria said...

Oatmeal meringues does have such appeal! And I suppose you win some, you lose some and then you gain some. hehee. I'd gain alot from that delicious looking lemon pudding! mmmmmm=) More luck to you!

The TriniGourmet said...

i am always so despondent when after pouring my all (and money!) into a recipe it comes out a mess! but it's nice to know that i'm not alone, sometimes it seems that way :)

Chris said...

What a great post. I must say...Meringues are a thorn in my side! I can never get them correct. But I can eat the ones from the stores until the cows come home!

Kristen said...

I bet you are up to your eyeballs in burgers these days. I love a good burger but have to have them sparingly... I'd be farming out the responsibility too!

Love your post... it is nice to know that others aren't always perfect in the kitchen too!

Amy said...

I love parmesan chicken too. I'll use your recipe next time I make it. I'm making some empanadas tomorrow, eek! it'll be my first time.

Anh said...

I love the look of your Smoked Haddock and Watercress Tart. I love tarts and pastries - anything will do! :D

kellypea said...

Great post, Freya! I love that lemony pudding, too. I think the last recipe I tried was Jamie Oliver's. And the Parmesan chicken -- I was going to make that a couple of nights ago and ended up making her tequila lime chicken instead. I love both recipes.

I've got a few bloopers saved up as well. Good idea!

sher said...

That Ina Garten recipe looks amazing. That will be served at our table very soon!

I have been wondering how the burger tasting was going and was a little worried about both of you. It is just too daunting to eat that many burgers. I fear you will come to hate them. Don't let that happen! :)

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Parmesan Chicken sounds delicous....

By the way, you have been tagged by me, please check my blog.

Enjoy your weekend,

Margot