A curious cocktail

Tried out another Hairy Dieters prawn cocktail this week — the twist with this one is that the prawns are given a lemon-and-garlic rub/dressing before being quickly grilled or griddled, and the sauce is made using horseradish sauce rather than mayonnaise.

I had some interesting results — the lemon-and-garlic rub worked pretty darn well and I’m making a note of it for future seafood dishes, but the sauce was a bit more of a mixed bag. The horseradish certainly gave it a lot of kick, meaning that I didn’t need much per portion, but the horseradish was very hot/strong, enough to nudge my personal upper limits. The sauce wasn’t bad by any means, but henceforth I think I’ll stick to using light mayo for home-made prawn cocktail. Luckily, my local butcher and Sainsbury’s deli counter between them do good enough beef that the rest of the horseradish sauce will not go to waste! 😀


Not mush-room in here

So ran my thoughts while I was making soup yesterday — 900g mushrooms (chestnut, portobello and closed-cup white — there would have been some oyster mushrooms as well if I’d noticed them in time) takes up a lot of space. I just about managed to fit the lot into my largest saucepan by adding them in batches and letting each batch cook down and shrink before adding the next.

The glut of mushrooms was my improvisation based on my inability to access the dried porcini mushrooms called for in the ingredients list — nearly doubling the quantity of non-dried mushrooms seemed like a reasonable compromise 🙂

The soup itself turned out brilliantly! A lovely, earthy depth of flavour with plenty of savoury/umami notes and a pleasant spicy edge from the rinsings of a spicy-garlic-pickle jar which I added to the stock. This one’s definitely on my regular roster — especially as it works out to under 100 calories per bowl, which gives me a good bit of flexibility with accompaniments ^^

Of sweetcorn and sugar

I made spicy sweetcorn soup with bacon garnish yesterday — it was delicious! I certainly enjoyed it more than last week’s pea, lettuce and asparagus soup — the flavour felt more full-bodied and less intensely vegetable, and the spices added a pleasant background warmth.

I used tinned sweetcorn rather than frozen, because for some reason none of my regular supermarkets had the frozen stuff in stock. Bit weird, that… Also, I rarely use chipotle paste (which is what the soup recipe calls for) and didn’t think it worthwhile to buy a jar of the stuff only to use 3 teaspoons of it, so I subbed in a spicy garlic pickle that I have in stock. It worked really well, especially mixed in with the bacon for the garnish — something to note for the future!

Today was very work-light, so I took the opportunity to crack open a make-your-own-fudge kit from Christmas and cook up some chocolate brownie fudge. Results were mixed — it tasted good, but was sticky, nearly unmanageable and refused to fully set because I’d messed up on both the boiling temperature and the temperature of the fudge-wrangling surface I was using (a metal baking tray — I don’t own a suitable chopping board and using the worktop would have led to a ridiculous amount of extra cleanup). Ah well — a learning experience! Luckily, I managed to scrape up all the yummy caramel-y/syrupy goop into a mostly-set splat shape which I will re-boil (possibly with the salted-caramel ingredients from the kit — less washing up) in the next couple of days — thankfully, the formulation of the kit allows for that. I’ve reacquainted myself with information on the soft-ball stage and other stages of heating sugar (I don’t own a sugar thermometer, so this info is useful) and hopefully things should turn out a bit better next time 🙂

A proper pea soup-er

Pea, lettuce and asparagus soup was this week’s special, and it turned out pretty well!

The texture post-stick-blender-blitz was a lot like what I’m used to from tinned pea-and-ham soup, though perhaps a bit more runny — I suppose I must have used a little too much stock, taking into account the water content of the veg involved.

The recipe called for a splash of lemon juice at one point, but I deduced that this was more for a hint of sour-sharpness than any specific lemony flavour, so I used a couple of teaspoons of Dijon mustard instead. It worked pretty well, so I’ve made a note of this for future reference.

Lots of vitamins and roughage and nutrients in this one, so it’s a very good way to get some of your 5-a-day 🙂 The veg-heaviness also helps keep the calorie count way down, which is good ^^

Making a hash of corned beef

Yes, I made corned beef hash yesterday, and it actually went pretty well!

It was another recipe from Hairy Dieters: Fast Food, so there was a lot of boiling veg until just cooked then finishing everything off in a frying pan — quick and easy! 😀 And I managed to avoid spilling anything even though my frying pan turned out to be only just big enough ^^

The recipe called for celeriac on the grounds that it has fewer calories than potato, but I hate celeriac so I used potato instead and topped the non-boxed-up portion with a poached egg rather than a fried one to offset the calories a bit. I like poached eggs — I find them a bit quicker and easier to do, and cleaning the pan afterwards is less of a pain than scrubbing a frying pan to remove stuck/burned bits of egg while trying not to damage the non-stick coating (which is as much of a lie as the cake…) Ehehehe

I’ll definitely be making this again — I am reliably informed that CBH goes much better with dijon mustard than a lot of my favourite cheeses. Some testing of this hypothesis may be required…