What is it they say about the best laid plans? Well exactly, for whatever reason the Good Food magazine from April 2006 which I'd planned to cook from wasn't working for me, I'm not sure why as I'd tagged quite a few recipes I wanted to cook. Perhaps it was because I wanted to cook a fancy cake and was drawn to this magazine instead. So I gave in, cooked the cake and then proceeded to cook a few other recipes too so I've adopted it as this month's magazine.
And as it was a fancy looking cake I got out my cake stand too. It's a lemon victoria sponge and very easy, sadly Olive don't seem to have many of their recipes available online and I can't find this one to post a link. The whole issue was a bit on the patriotic side as it was available in the run up to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which if you'll remember wasn't quite the sunny occasion it might have been and was a rather grey and wet, but still patriotic day.
Back to the cake, the recipe says to add strawberry jam in the middle but I used my spiced blackberry jam made from our Norfolk blackberry picking trip last September instead. It was the first time I'd opened a jar of that and I was right not to worry about it setting. As it was pretty well set I warmed it up in the microwave to help spread it over the cake more easily. As you can see it's oozing down the sides, that's sort of by design and sort of because I probably didn't need so much jam... but it was softened, so I decided to use it anyway.
It looked and tasted great, and was definitely a cake to eat with a fork! And sorry, no there's none left..
At a loss for what to cook one night I stumbled across the Chicken Katsu curry recipe and it looked easy enough - although I wasn't so keen on egging, flouring and breadcrumbing the chicken, but decided to rope in MOH to help with that. I had most of the ingredients listed, and was just short of some natural dried breadcrumbs. I didn't have much joy sourcing them locally so sent MOH on a mission to Waitrose in Canary Wharf to pick some up, he tried but didn't quite manage it and ended up with the un-dried sort of breadcrumbs. So as that part of the recipe was the bit I wasn't looking forward to, and I didn't fancy drying the breadcrumbs I did have I skipped that bit. I think that means I can't call this recipe a Katsu curry so I'm referring to it as my Katsu-ish curry. The best bit about this dish though was the curry sauce - and that was fab!
I'm just a little bit too pleased that I've made a curry sauce. And one that tasted like a curry sauce too, you know the sort that you get from the Chinese takeaway. I've a feeling I'll be making this again to go alongside some chow mien and Singapore noodles. I may never need the takeaway again (clearly I will as I'll still have those days where only a takeaway will do!) I didn't realise it would be so easy, but now I know it's onions and spices, let down with chicken stock simmered and then blended it makes sense.
So having got my cake baking on earlier in the month and with MOH repeatedly asking "what's for pudding?" I decided to make some Cherry Bakewell muffins. And it was another opportunity to substitute my spiced blackberry jam for the cherry jam the recipe suggested. There's ground almonds in the muffin mix and the plan was to add icing, some flaked almonds and a glacé cherry on top. As I said that was the plan anyway...
It started relatively well, and I liked the idea of jam stuffed into the middle of a muffin but in reality it didn't quite work out that way. While they were cooking the jam did its best to escape the muffins, with mixed success - while all seemed to still have jam inside, some also had it around the edges and most had a cratered top, into which no doubt lashings of icing could be hidden! We tried one - for tasting purposes, you understand - and while it tasted perfectly ok it was pretty messy to eat. So I didn't bother with the icing and have since renamed them Naked Cherry Bakewell muffins.
I plan to try these again to see if I have better luck, with perhaps less than the teaspoon of jam in each one that the recipe says and maybe I'll get as far as adding icing too. Wish me luck.
So looking back at the contents of the magazine, what else was going on?
Well May 2012 wasn't that long ago and I've already mentioned the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it seems that Meat Liquor - the trendy burger joint was opening its second branch in Covent Garden, this is somewhere MOH wanted to go to then, and still does. And we still haven't made it there yet, oops! It's probably not so hot and trendy now.
Gin was published on Olive's 2012 Cool List - but let's be honest, we already knew about the gin didn't we. There's a whole list of gin establishments with some cracking names, the best of which has to be The Ginstitute museum.
This magazine is one I'd cooked quite a bit from before, including John Torode's Japanese salmon, miso and asparagus and his Pizza bianco with artichoke hearts - both of which I should bear in mind for the next few weeks as they'd be good to eat again. There's also a recipe for beetroot-cured mackerel and to be honest it's not a good look - I'll probably give this recipe a miss because if John Torode and the food stylists can make it look as if something's died close by then I don't stand a chance of making it look any better!
Flicking through this magazine I found the recipe - for a Maple pecan twist - that I'd spent ages looking for (and failing) last December, so ended up cooking this almond kringle wreath instead. The reason I couldn't find this recipe was all too clear, I'd been looking through my Good Food magazines, not Olives. Explains everything really doesn't it?
The recipe I've used most from this magazine though is one for Cheddar and paprika gougeres which are light, airy cheese puffs and great with drinks before dinner. The intro to the recipe says they'll impress your guests, and so far they have. I can't find this recipe either. It's quite similar and I use half the amounts this says, and don't include marmite although I'm tempted to try that next time. You could also add herbs, or mustard powder instead of the paprika and substitute the cheddar for blue cheese - I tried this but found the cheddar worked better. Definitely give gougeres a go, they're quite more-ish and not as hard as you think!
So this month in the kitchen I've had mixed results, thankfully it was all edible but some of it wasn't as pretty as I'd hoped, but well you've got to smile haven't you?