Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas meals

I thought I would mention a couple of meals cooked after Christmas. My plan for boxing day was to cook basil and tomato pasta and a green bean and lamb stew. I sought Marcella's counsel on increasing the amount of lamb as follows:

  • Dear Marcella and Friends I was wondering if any of you had ever doubled the lamb and bean with vinegar recipe from Essentials. I am cooking for a crowd on Boxing Day and was hoping to do so. Does it scale nicely, especially the oil? Sometimes recipes do not scale and you need to tweak things rather than doubling each quantity directly. I intend to have a tomato and basil pasta for the first course. Merry Christmas to all. David
    December 23 at 7:15am · · · See Friendship
      • Marcella Hazan
        Dear David, your new mustache and beard make you look fierce? Are you? I am glad that lamb shoulder with the bone in no longer causes a trauma. By NO means double the vinegar, half again is plenty and the same goes for the oil. The lamb depends on the proportion of bone and meat. If there is mostly bone, add a little bit of meat. Victor, who has a few Australian gems in his cellar, just opened a McLaren Vale 1998 reserve Shiraz from Fox Creek. Beautiful, and it would be perfect on your lamb, whereas you might choose a non-reserve Chianti for the pasta. Buon Natale to you and Victoria. Ours is our 56th.
        December 23 at 9:53am ·
      • Adriana Downie Fierce is definately not in David's repetoire. I am looking forward to the boxing day lunch...leave the McLaren Vale Shiraz up to me! Can I suggest we do a batch of asparagus with ham from Essentials for a starter. I love it and have made it to great success!
        December 23 at 10:07am ·
      • Marcella Hazan Not fierce, then, but brooding? An Alsatian late harvest Gewurztraminer would be delicious with the ham, and skip the pasta.
        December 23 at 10:45am ·
      • David Downie Thanks very much Marcella. Is the onion doubled? One good thing about being the cook, of course, is that you can decide the menu. I have told my mother I will be harvesting her basil on the 26th. I can brood, it is true, and perhaps I would be better off being a little fiercer. David
        December 23 at 12:33pm ·
      • Marcella Hazan You never have to worry about using too much onion, if you cook it long enough
        December 23 at 2:25pm ·
      • David Downie Thanks Marcella. Speaking of which, Victoria just cooked a form of your onion pasta, and she is very proud. It was delicious.
        December 23 at 8:32pm ·
      • David Downie Marcella, I could not find any lamb shoulder on boxing day! Fortunately I was able to spot some racks of lamb and make Giuliano's rack of lamb with rosemary and breadcrumbs, along with the basil and fresh tomato and garlic pasta. Your orange cake also got a look in. A pleasant boxing day lunch was had by all.
        Sunday at 8:10pm ·

Well you can see the outcome there. The lamb rack was excellent. The pasta was perhaps not as tasty as it has been before, and on reflection was underseasoned. Don't be shy with the salt!

Today I cooked the pasta again (with more salt) and it was excellent, along with lamb stew again. It helps when cooking to repeat the same dishes over and over. They get easier, and better.

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