Monday, 28 May 2012

A Selection of Things I Have Eaten This Week

Last week, I went to Bincho Yakitori with some lovely people.

We drank sake;

Ate fish things;

Kimchi things;

And a lot of things on sticks (and a soft shell crab).

All very nice and, with a bonus 50% Taste Card discount, superb value.

I made some ribboned asparagus salad with a chilli and caper vinaigrette.

We ate it with grilled quails.

I celebrated the summer by buying a packet of mini fabs. I've only eaten two so far. I am the very model of restraint.

There was a small accident/escape incident with my sourdough starter (again).

I went to the gym and rewarded myself with this on the way home.

We went to Byron and ate the amazing Chilli Queen special burger,

And far too many sides.

Husband bought some duck breasts with this picture on the box.
There was beetroot and asparagus in the fridge.

So we ate them like this...
It seemed like the right thing to do.
There was also an orange dressing, but that wasn't in the picture, so you're not allowed to see it.

And finally, today, we ran out of food.
So we ate pasta or courgette ribbons with a spicy tomato sauce.


That's all for now, folks!

A Feast For Your Eyes

When I saw the theme for this month's Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge, I was a wee bit concerned.
Weirdly, I'm not an enormous fan of chocolatey ice creams (or puddings, actually), though I *obviously* am partial to a bit of the brown stuff from time to time...
When I mentioned it to husband, though, he was very clear about what we should do.
Feast - he said. And how could I refuse.
We did a bit of 'research' first.

And made some decisions.
Although husband is still fairly enamoured, I really thought that the 'chocolate flavoured' whatnot that is in the middle and outside of the actual Feast tasted pretty nasty, so determined to use actual chocolate for our version.
Husband was keen to keep the bar in the middle quite soft, though, so I thought that a butter ganache rather than just solid chocolate was in order.

As previously mentioned, I'm not a massive lover of chocolate ice cream, so we decided to go for  a more 'grown up' salty butterscotch flavour instead.
I was very impressed by the crispy bits on the real Feast, though - in the distant recesses of my mind, they were nutty, but it turns out that they're actually more like biscuit bits, though very very crunchy - I'm not sure how they retain that.

First of all, I made some custard, using my usual trusty ice cream recipe (6 egg yolks, 125g caster sugar, 500ml cream - I mixed single and double this time - and a split vanilla pod) and stuck it in the fridge overnight.

At the same time, I boiled up a load of golden caster sugar with a bit of water to make a thick, caramelly sugar syrup.

When it was ready, I (carefully) chucked in a bit of cream, some butter and a (generous) sprinkle of salt crystals.
I also stuck this into the fridge overnight, once it had stopped being so darned hot.

I churned the ice cream as usual the next day and, right at the end, swirled in the butterscotch sauce.
I don't seem to have a picture of this, but you get the general idea.
I stuck this in the freezer until I was ready for the next stage.
We didn't even eat *too* much of it in the interim.
I knocked up a quick ganache for the middles, using equal parts of cheap milk chocolate (for authenticity) and butter.
To fit the theme, I also chucked in a bit of sea salt.
I stuck this in a squarish tub and refrigerated it.
The next day, I cut it into little slabs, jammed lolly sticks into it and surrounded it with the (slightly softened) ice cream in foil parcels which I stuck back into the freezer to harden.
I do NOT recommend using foil - it didn't like peeling off again afterwards. Cling film might work, or baking parchment definitely would.

I would have liked to get a square, Feastier shape, but suspect that that would involve moulding, or, at the very least, cutting the ice cream from some kind of slab.
I am too lazy for such things!

The next day, I (roughly) tempered some chocolate - I used dark here, to get a crispy shell and happily discovered that I had some chocolate cookie crumbs left over from my Momofuku chocolate cookie forays.

I rolled the lollies into the crumbs.

And then (very messily) coated them in the chocolate, before the lollies started to melt.
And, lo - Jennie's Own Feasts (even though they look more Magnummy).

They went back into the freezer for a little while, just to be sure.

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.

So we ate them. Or one of them, at least.

I was very pleased with the chocolate middles - convincingly soft, I thought, and the saltiness was good.
The ice cream was tasty, but that's kind of tried and tested, so I hadn't really been worried about it.
I was pleased with how scrunchy the scrunchy bits were - I'd been worried about them going soggy.
Husband would prefer milk chocolate on the outside next time - he reckons the dark is really too strong a flavour for the other bits. Milk is harder work, I think, but am prepared to give it a go.
Overall - a pleasing result.
Despite the lack of squarity :-)
This is my (last minute, as ever) entry for the Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Chicken and Chicken

Last night, we roasted a giant chicken...

And ate him (or, as much as we possibly could of him) with roasted vegetables and a bit of asparagus.

Today, we made the leftovers into a mustardy, asparagussy thing.

Husband ate his with pasta and I ate mine with courgettes.

There's at least as much again for tomorrow... Leftovers rule!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day of the Tentacle

There was an octopus (actually, two small octopi) in my fridge.

Today, friends, I ate him (or them).

First I hacked them a bit and cleaned them - observe this fun pile of tentacles.

Then I braised them briefly in a tiny bit of water to tenderise, release the juices and start the cooking process.

And drained the juices - look - aren't they pretty?

And again, up close - see all the lovely suckery tentacles :-)

I chopped the chunks a little more and fried them in a bit (ok - a lot) of olive oil, with some onions, shallots and garlic.

And chucked in a tin of tomatoes, the reserved octopus juice and a splodge of red wine and vinegar (for colour mainly), brought to the boil and then turned the heat way down and braised for an hour or two.

Hey presto, delicious octopus stew!
Husband had pasta with his.
It was good - very good. I shall definitely do this again.

I also made some chocolate macarons (I made ice cream yesterday, so had a lot of egg whites knocking around - there are still some, actually, but I'm making progress, at least).

Not the best I've ever done, appearance-wise, but not too bad and they taste good.
I shall be trying to foist them on my workmates in the morning.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Things That Happened Today

Today I met some lovely people for brunch at the splendid new Place to Be in South London, The Dish and the Spoon to eat food made specially for us by the very awesome GinandCrumpets.

I ate this delicious sandwich-all-tied-up-with-string (stilton and gooseberry chutney - yum) and sampled many other tasty baked goods.

All foods were delicious and the place (and the company) were delightful - you must all go as soon as you possibly can. Maybe tomorrow.

I followed this up with a complimentary indoor cycling class, courtesy of the nice people at Boutique Sport and Boom Cycle. It was fun - I shall definitely go back, if only to use my free class voucher. And there were party bags. That's my kind of exercise :-)

When I got home, I discovered that my sourdough starter had 'escaped' somewhat... This is not the first time something like this has happened. It's a bit unruly.

I forgave it and made some into a lazy (but good) loaf of bread.

Later on, we ate something a bit like ratatouille with some liver fried with shallots. I love liver. It makes me happy.