Friday, July 22, 2005

The Perils of Leftovers

A problem of exclusively making lots of Nigella recipes is that, due to her enormous portions, there will almost always be too many leftovers. Over the past four days, we accumulated a piece of
cidered mackerel, some cabbage with caraway, half a roast duck, a bowl of Seville orange curd, half a Seville orange curd tart, and some petit pois à la francaise.

So for tonight, I said… “Stop the madness! I’m not cooking! We’re having leftovers!”

The plan was to make a Victoria Sponge, filled with Seville orange curd and mascarpone (similar to a suggestion from How to be a Domestic Goddess). And for dinner, I’d make some mayonnaise with Seville orange juice, to serve with the cold duck, as per Nigella’s suggestion in the “Foods in Season” section of the Basics etc. chapter.

63. Victoria Sponge
64. Mayonnaise

I made the regular-sized (not mini) Victoria Sponge in the afternoon. I’ve never made one before (don’t forget, I’m not English), and was surprised at how lovely it was! It just smells so yummy and cakey and homey. And when you take them out of the oven, they’re so much lighter and softer than the cakes I usually make. I sprinkled the top of one of the cakes with vanilla sugar as it cooled, just to increase the aroma of domesticity.

I have to admit, my decorating skills are a bit retarded – I wasn’t sure which way up the cakes should go, and um-ed and ah-ed a bit, flipping them a couple of times whilst spreading the filling, which meant I had to add yet more curd and mascarpone over the top to hide the evidence of my excessive flipping. It still didn't look "finished" though... and I wasn't sure what to do about it...


Then I got started on the mayonnaise.

Making mayonnaise is the most tedious experience I’ve ever had. It just takes ages, and you have to stand there adding the oil drop by drop. Yawn! Unfortunately, it actually curdled once I'd added all 300ml of oil. Even worse, my parents were superhungry, and in the time it took me to make my mayo (aka curdled mess), they'd made rice, a mushroom omelet, and a chicken curry, and had started eating!

I was going to try and fix the mayo, following Nigella's instructions of starting with a fresh egg yolk and slowly beating in the curdled mess. But by this stage I was so tired and over it that I left the mayo for the moment, and changed plans. I ended up raiding the fridge, and microwaved the leftover mackerel and cabbage, and some petits pois.

Me fixing mayo after dinner - face down to hide seriously pissed off expression.

But you know what? In the end it was totally worth it! I went back to the mayo after dinner, whilst my parents were washing up, and it worked out fine. I tried a teensy bit with a strip of cold duck, just to make sure it was ok - it was heavenly. It's that kind of dreamily thick, creamy mayo that you get in Amsterdam to have with fries.

"I've seen them do it man, they fucking drown it in that shit!" - Vincent Vega

I'm crazy for this type of mayonnaise - I just totally love it. You can get it at the Belgian Beer Garden in the city. And I remember eating it with fries on the Markt in Brugge. Mmm... we'll be having the duck with mayo and salad for lunch tomorrow... can't wait! Maybe I'll indulge and pick up some fries too...

Mayo - Yeah, baby, yeah!

So, the mayo was finished, the dishes were done, and we had the cake for our supper / dessert / evening tea. At the last minute, I decided that some fresh strawberries would complement the citrus flavour (which they did), and more importantly, hide the dodgy icing job.


My brother and I had tea, whilst my parents had coffee. This cake is so, so incredibly good!! It was light and fluffy and just a lovely, lovely cake. I've found that when people start learning to bake, they tend to go for the most indulgent, richest, (usually chocolate) cakes they can find. And cakes in restaurants and cafes seem to be always getting more chocolatey, bigger, richer, denser, sweeter... (Have you seen the cake cabinet at Cafe Greco? Yurgh!) And in this constant quest for increasingly indulgent cakes, the pleasures of a simple, fresh and tasty sponge cake can often be forgotten.

Victoria Sponge on the inside

We ended up pigging out and eating half the cake between us. (It's rather large). Love it. Then Dad and I went for a brisk walk. (PS I had a slice of Seville orange curd tart in the afternoon too... God, I need Low Fat August!)

Dad: munch munch... Oh wow... munch munch... this is a fucking good cake... munch munch... yeah, munch munch... good cake.. munch munch... mmm cake....


Lotta from said...

The cake looks so delicious! I love your dad's comments - they're so hilarious. :D And I love reading your blog, I'm always looking forward to new posts and think you're doing a Great job!

Anonymous said...

why not send the leftovers in a little parcel for the frances in europe fund?

Randi said...

You've inspired me to attempt to make mayonnaise.

Your cake looks mouth-watering. I think it looks perfect. The layers are the same height (something I can't often do) and there appears to be just the right amount of filling and topping.

Great work.

Ilana said...

LOLOL. Looove the Pulp Fiction quote, very apropo!! By the way, everything looks gorgeous. That cake looked divine. I still haven't broken in my LK sandwich tins and so want to do a victoria sponge soon! I totally agree with you about cakes these days. I'd much rather prefer a simple loaf cake or sponge to a heavy chocolate cake. That's probably why I will be the last to complete the choc cake hall of fame chapter in Feast...
Love reading your blog.

Ilana xoxo

Niki said...

Hey, thought you might like to know that I tried the Stephanie Alexander suggestion of making mayonnaise in a food processor. She doesn't really recommend it bc it doesn't get the same gloopiness, but I didn't find that at all. This stuff rocks and I seriously had it made in about 30 seconds. It's in the basics section of the Cook's Companion.
Like you, I've done the drop by drop thing and stood there with aching arms and pissed off expression, so this is like being visited by GOD!!!