Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Walnut Cake

I don't normally make cakes, or bake anything really. I tend to follow Marcella's advice and have fruit for dessert. I didn't expect to get to this chapter for, well, years. But I was asked to help bake. Just before my helper disappeared. So I was stuck with the task.

First thing I needed was the ingredients. I didn't have any baking powder. But I had some self raising flower. I didn't have a full 2/3 of a cup of white sugar, but I had a little brown to make up the difference. And I had some walnuts and a lemon, and the rest. You can see the brown sugar peeking out of the white.

And into the oven for the walnuts.

I didn't have a food processor, but I tried my best with a blender. It worked with the nuts, but not with the rest. So I just threw it in a bowl and had a crack myself.

In go the nuts.

And it's all together.

Not looking too flash at this stage.

There we go. I think perhaps I left it in the oven a bit too long.

Of course, in classic Marcella fashion, she tells me at the bottom of the page to wait 24 hours before I can eat it, to "let the flavors fully develop"!!! So I did that. It was very tasty with a nice lemon tang. Even two days later. And I have no doubt it would last even longer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Roast Chicken with Lemons

This perhaps is Marcella's most famous recipe. It's very simple, and just involves a couple of lemons as well as some salt and pepper. 

I have made it before, and wasn't so impressed. I tried to pay more attention this time, and made the effort to buy toothpicks and string so I could tie it together. 

So I bought myself a free range chook. They do taste a lot better than the factory ones. I washed it, and chopped the fat off as directed. 

So far so good. Next the wash, sit, salt and pepper and whack the lemons in the hole - stitched up with tooth picks. 

Here it is half way through.

And finally done!

As promised the meat was very tender and juicy. With a faint lemon taste.  One mistake I think I made was not spooning juices from the bottom of the baking tray over the meat when sliced.  As with any roast I think it's best to serve this one with some veges. I had some mash but you could also roast some veges in another tray with the chook. Certainly an option if you feel like some roast chook. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And so it begins

This is my attempt to teach myself Italian cooking by working my way through Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She is a bit cranky, but I think that is part of the charm. She reminds me of David Thompson in Thai Food, without the sense of humour.  I won't be posting the recipes - you'll have to buy the book to see those. But I will give you my views on the process, and whether or not something is a success or not, and perhaps if anyone reads this they can give their views as well. Clearly Marcella is an excellent cook. Let's see if she can teach me!