We got back from camp on Friday afternoon and I'd been mega-organised so that for the first few days back, I didn't really have to do much in the way of cooking. Yes, I know I maxed out with a pretty splendid pavlova (yes, i do say so myself) on Saturday night for the post-camp post-mortem, but we had quiche on Sunday night, Nigella's African Chicken drumsticks on Monday night (already frozen in the marinade a couple of weeks' ago with that meal in mind, so I just had to de-frost and cook some rice) and fresh tortelloni (also stashed in the freezer) last night. The rest of the time, we have been eating up the leftovers from the camp itself and from Saturday's BBQ. While this has all made my life much easier in some respects (back at work, settling la BF* in, catching a modest amount of sporting endeavour...) I have felt strangely adrift, especially with someone French to feed.
Today it was
time to reclaim the kitchen. Lemon & rosemary pork steaks with corn on the
cob along with, from the garden, new potatoes and a 'medley of beans' (broads,
dwarf French, purple beans, borlotti), and to follow, Quick Portuguese Tarts from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals.
Now, I don't
own a copy of 30 Minute Meals - it kind of passed me by as a cook book - but I was
browsing in the library the other day while the kids picked their summer
reading challenge books (and sulked because I wouldn't let them choose DVDs)
and I picked it up. I was strangely drawn in and before I knew it, I was
checking it out, along with a book of curry recipes by Anjum Anand.
the last to know this, but the premise of 30
Minute Meals is that you can cook a delicious 2 course meal from
scratch in 30 minutes. Apparently, "... It’s about being
organised, working fast and using shortcuts and clever tricks to put insanely
delicious plates of food on the table in no time.". I read the
introduction quite carefully, because I wanted to make sure I'd got it right.
Then I read some of the recipes.
itself looks great. Very Jamie Oliver, good meals. I’ll definitely be trying some
of them – I might even buy the book, But 30 minutes? Really? And after a hard
day’s work? I reckon I’m reasonably handy in the kitchen. I know what’s what,
and how to do most of what’s called for in the book, but I am having trouble
envisaging how I might whip up any of the menus in the allotted time. However,
I’ll reserve judgment on that for now, and ask you to watch this space…
meantime, let me tell you about the Quick
Portuguese Tarts that came from the book (I gave you the link again – can
you tell that I liked them?).
remember back in the early Jamie days, making something similar from The Return
of the Naked Chef. In fact, I just looked it up and it’s pretty much the same
thing, although the 30 minute version is a little more ‘bang, crash’. You have
to extract the recipe from the overall scheme of the instructions because the
meal is timetabled as a whole, for the allotted 30 minutes, so it dots back and
forward from main to pud and back again, but it’s pretty straightforward to get
out the relevant bits.
You make the
pastry cases using puff pastry which you dust with cinnamon, then roll into a
sausage, slice up and then squodge out each rolled up piece into a pastry case
using a muffin tin as a guide. You bake the cases empty, and then when they
come out of the oven all puffed up, you push the middle of the pastry back down
so you can spoon in the filling – a mix of crème fraiche, orange zest vanilla,
sugar and egg. Back in the oven, and while the filling cooks to a wobble, you
make a caramel using the juice of the orange and what seems like an obscene
amount of sugar.
tarts are cooked, you whip then out of the oven, drizzle over the caramel and
leave to cool.
delicious. Pink didn’t like hers, but she’s funny with things like that. The recipe
made 6 and they all went, even though I was hoping to keep one aside to send
the Husband to work with tomorrow. I also managed to make a satisfying amount of mess as I went. Jamie advocates clearing as you go into the sink. Sorry Jamie - I think I may have fallen at the first hurdle...
*la baby-sitter francaise