“Chicken with lemon, rosemary and garlic” from “Easy” with guest contributors in Cape Town, South Africa.

Kirstin: I gave this book to Kathryn last Friday when they were visiting and we thought it might be interesting to try and cook a few of the meals at the same time and compare notes.

Tom: That’s a good idea! Let’s start!

Kirstin: Oops. Looks like I forgot the garlic. And I burnt the bread. Clearly I was having one of those evenings…but our guests have something to say about the garlic, so maybe it was no bad thing.

Miles: I love this! Please can we have this again?

Ella: It’s a little lemony, but I like it anyway. This bread is yummy.

Kirstin: This was Tamsin’s bread recipe suggestion. It was rather fun!

Tom: And we had lettuce from the garden, with some unexpected insect guests. Did you have to bash the chicken with a hammer?

Kirstin: Yes, between parchment paper. But I’m not sure about the 200ml of olive oil. 100ml would have sufficed.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town:

Sophie (aged 7, pointing to the lemony sauce): I did that.

Ingrid: Did you flatten the chicken? Mm … it’s very lemony.

Tom: Yes, it’s the South African take on things – it’s flattened because it’s township road kill.

Continue reading ““Chicken with lemon, rosemary and garlic” from “Easy” with guest contributors in Cape Town, South Africa.”

“Chicken with lemon, rosemary and garlic” from “Easy” with guest contributors in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Baked Eggs with Ham and Parmesan” from “Easy”

Peter: I do like a baked egg.

Anna: So do I. I’m always drawn to recipes for baked eggs. I don’t actually make them that often though. Now I remember why.

Peter: You got a bit frustrated trying to get them cooked properly didn’t you?

Anna: Just a little. It seems to be a nirvana, the baked egg that has a wobbly yolk but properly cooked whites. Instead the yolk got over-cooked but we’ve still got yucky uncooked bits of white floating around.

Peter: How long were they supposed to be in the oven for?

Anna: The recipe says 10 minutes. But after that amount of time they were definitely not cooked. After 5 more minutes I think they would have been fine for you but mine needed at least another five, and still there they were, the globs of white.

Peter: I liked them a lot though.

Anna: Yes, they are delicious.

Peter: Do they have lemon in them?

Anna: It’s the creme fraiche. It gives a lovely contrast to the saltiness of the parma ham. Cream would have been too rich.

Peter: They do feel very indulgent. Is it wrong that I’ve had two?

Anna: It’s Sunday, you’re allowed to indulge yourself.

“Baked Eggs with Ham and Parmesan” from “Easy”

“Lamb fillet or rump with spicy couscous” from Easy

Kirstin (while Tom slices it up): Is it rare inside?

Tom: Er, no. Although I have to say I’ve never been a fan of raw lamb.

Kirstin: Damn! I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be rare inside. He said to colour the meat at a medium heat. I had a feeling that wasn’t going to work. So when it didn’t I had to increase the heat to brown it properly which of course meant more cooking for the inside. And that was before I had to stick it in the oven.

Tom: The outside is done beautifully though.

Kirstin: So I need to cross out that crucial word in the book and change it so that I sear the meat rather than brown it next time at  a  higher heat for a shorter period of time.

Tom: Will there be a next time?

Kirstin: Actually, yes because the couscous was lovely. And thank you Drings for the lovely lamb. And the cheeses from the cheeseboard. Good choices, all. Yum and thank you!

Tom: You know me, I love couscous and lamb.

Kirstin: And it all went well together. I have to admit I left out the raisins and sultanas. because you all know my longstanding feelings on the matter. I don’t think we missed anything, do you Tom?

Tom: No.

Kirstin: To be fair, I needed a recipe tonight which would be quick and easy after a long day at work. But also one that would impress. This almost fitted the bill and I would definitely use it again, with that slight adjustment. So thus far, a great book that just needs a few notes added to each recipe….

“Lamb fillet or rump with spicy couscous” from Easy

“Quick chocolate mousse” from “Easy”

Tom: Well, it’s definitely chocolate mousse, but was it quick?

Kirstin: No. I had to make a custard. I’ve never made a custard before! And he doesn’t say, but people who make custards must know this, you are supposed to keep stirring it. So bits of it went all horrible and scrambled eggsy. Although I did get to use my cooking thermometer, which is always exciting. Also, he says it’s enough for four, but it was enough for an army! I’ve got eight chocolate mousses in the fridge!

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“Quick chocolate mousse” from “Easy”

“Spatchcocked poussins with lemon, green olives and rosemary” from “Easy”

Kirstin: You should never miss the opportunity to use the word “spatchcock”. I love the word “spatchcock”.

Tom: For my part I am very keen on the word “crepuscular”. I never miss an opportunity to use that word.

Kirstin: I can’t even say it. What does it mean?

Tom: Crepuscular animals are those active mainly at twilight, such as guinea pigs. And photographers!

Kirstin: Yes, I’m active at twilight. These pictures I’m taking are crepuscular, bokeh salad and all…

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“Spatchcocked poussins with lemon, green olives and rosemary” from “Easy”

Cookbook of the Month, Jul 2011, Easy by Tom Aikens

Anna: Why did you choose this book?

Kirstin: Because Amazon kept recommending it to me. And I bought three other books for this month and they didn’t suit. Also, we wanted some French recipes, because we are going to France this month.

Tom: What were the books that failed to make the grade?

Kirstin: Bocca di Lupo… but that was too difficult. Elizabeth David, but it’s just mad. And the Chez Bruce guy, which just looked a bit fancy for a whole month.

Tom: Bocca di Lupo was too difficult?

Kirstin: Yes, it was really involved recipes.

Anna: This book says it’s easy, and with my work schedule I need quick and easy. I don’t know if easy means quick, of course.

Tom: What are we looking forward to cooking?

Anna: Salmon baked with juniper and lemon thyme.

Kirstin: Are we going to cook some of these in France?

Anna: Oh, yes! We can go to the fish man.

Peter: The fish man?

Anna: Monsieur le Poisson. In the market.

Kirstin: Do you remember we had to text Tom to ask him what sea bass was in French, last time we went to that market?

Anna (flipping the pages): I’m going to do the lamb rumps with rosemary and parmesan polenta. And the English rose veal rump with creamed spinach.

Kirstin: He has good desserts, too.

Anna: Ooh, baked eggs with ham and parmesan. Put me down for that! And the blueberry and buttermilk American pancakes.

Kirstin: Which involves baking! Right, my turn. Yes, this is going to slightly fancier than last month. But look at these desserts! They sound amazing! And a leftovers chapter! Brilliant! I am so doing this. This is going to be a great month. But I’m not doing anything with liver. We’re leaving that out. Because you  know how much I don’t like eating anything I can identify macroscopically. I just don’t.

Cookbook of the Month, Jul 2011, Easy by Tom Aikens