05 September 2008

Cookbook of the week - Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros

Okay, this is the cook book of the week-before-last because I failed to write it up at the time.

We made:
Chick pea, feta and coriander salad, accompanied by marinated grilled chicken
Pineapple, cinamon & allspice cake
Deep-fried salt cod with Skordalia
Red-pepper soup with olives and lemon rind
Pork fillet in pastry with wild mushrooms (heavily adapted)

The chick pea salad was well worth doing again, and really quite low hassle. I made it in a bit too much of a hurry, with chickpeas which were a year or three out of date, so they were still a little crunchy, but it wasn't the recipe's fault. As she suggests, I marinated some chicken (thighs) in vast amounts of cumin with yoghurt, and then grilled them. If you cooked the chickpeas the night before, this would be a doddle.

Hungerpang made the Pineapple cake, which was a triumph. I will try to see if he took a photo. The only problem with it was that it was so beautifully moist that we should have kept it in the fridge, and we had to throw the last half of it away. The mould culture on the top was too much even for us.

Deep-fried salt cod
Ages ago, I bought some dried salt ling from the Argentinian stall at Borough Market. I'm always looking for Bacalhao (Portuguese dried salt cod) and thought it would make an appropriate substitute. As instructed in the recipe, I soaked it for 2 whole days, changing the water regularly, but it didn't seem to re-hydrate much. I couldn't extract any of the pin-bones from it, for instance. After deep-frying, it puffed up nicely, much more fish-like, but still very chewy. We ate it with the fantastic Skordalia

This recipe really appealed because she says you need to be "in the mood for garlic". It involves boiling potatoes in vegetable stock, then mashing them with pureed garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. It's really really lovely stuff.

Red pepper soup looks gorgeous, but the end result wasn't nearly as intense as the lovely one we ruined by turning it into a jelly. I would use the recipe from A Celebration of Soup next time instead.

Pork "Wellington"
This was very strange. Can Tessa Kiros really get pastry to work with equal quantities of butter and flour? I wasn't willing to risk it, and made a normal shortcrust. Then the deviations really started. I hadn't really read the recipe before I bought all the ingredients, and I couldn't face turning nearly 10-quid's worth of wild mushrooms from Booth's into a couple of tablespoons of cream sauce. I'd assumed it would be like other meat-in-pastry recipes, with the mushrooms, herbs inside the pastry. So that's what I did, with a bit of homemade chicken liver pate added in for good measure. It was very successful, but the book was only really inspiration.

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