This morning my parents and I went to Prahran Market and spent a bomb on exotic ingredients – bratwurst, frankfurters, duck breasts, venison fillet, smoked ham knuckles, puy lentils and so on. The market is closed every day of Easter except Saturday, so I had to get in while the getting was good.
We got back at around midday, and I started on lunch.
331. Guacamole with paprika-toasted potato skins (Dinner)
332. Cod wrapped in ham (Dinner)
333. Sage and onion lentils (Dinner)
334. Digestive biscuits (Feeding Babies and Small Children)
335. Lemon ice-cream (Weekend Lunch)
336. Lemon meringue ice-cream (Weekend Lunch)
Now, I know that looks like a lot of recipes, but I only made the first 4 today. The 2 lemon ice-creams were made last week when I had some free time, and I felt like pulling them out today.
The plain lemon ice-cream is simply lemon juice and zest, icing sugar and whipped double cream. All you do is stir it together, put it into a shallow container and chuck it in the freezer.
As for the lemon meringue ice-cream, you whip some cream, add yoghurt, lemon curd, lemon juice and zest, and some crumbled meringue nests. You fold it all together into a big billowing pile of deliciousness.
lemon meringue ice-cream
In fact, at this point it was hard to put it in the freezer – it tasted so good, I could have eaten most of it right then and there!
Anyway, that was Tuesday. Today, Saturday, I made the meal that preceded the ice-cream.
This menu is basically Nigella’s EARLY-AUTUMN LUNCH FOR 6, with ice-cream and biscuits in place of the hazelnut cake she suggests for dessert. I halved all ingredients to feed my parents and I.
I started by putting the potatoes for the potato skins in the oven. Next were the lentils. They need to be simmered for 45 minutes with an onion, some sage and a couple of garlic cloves.
While the potatoes were baking and the lentils were simmering, I made the digestive biscuits, which were very easy. In fact, the most difficult thing about the recipe is sourcing the main ingredient – spelt flour. This has been my main obstacle in making this recipe for the past 10 months. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a packet of organic wholemeal spelt flour at the market in the morning. Score!
So to make the biscuits, you put the spelt flour in the bowl of a KitchenAid, with sugar, baking powder and oatmeal, and then rub in butter and shortening. Then you bind it with a bit of milk, and roll it out.
They take about 15 minutes to bake.
The fish fillets are simply brushed with melted butter, wrapped in Parma ham, and brushed with butter again. I couldn’t find cod at the market, so I used rockling fillets. You can prepare the fillets in advance and bake them at the last minute.
fish on tray
Ok, so once the potatoes are baked, you cut them in half, scoop out the fluffy middles, sprinkle the skins with salt and paprika, and bake them until crisp. Nigella says to mash the scooped-out potato flesh to make another side dish.
By this stage, the lentils were cooked, so I finished them off by turning them in a pan with some oil, softened and chopped onion, and sage leaves.
lenticche in a pan
The guacamole has to be made at the last minute, to prevent brownage. All you need to do is mash up some avocado with lime juice, salt, spring onions, green chilli and coriander.
potato skins and guacamole
This was the first course. I put the fish in the oven whilst we were eating this.
I loved the potato skins! I haven’t eaten potato skins since I was a small, potato-obsessed child. And because they don’t need to be eaten hot, they’d be great made a few hours in advance for a cocktail or dinner party.
And onto the second course…
fish on lentils
The ham was quite salty, but it went well with the bland fish, mashed potatoes and mealy lentils. They also looked extremely impressive, which was a bonus.
Here is our dessert. It's lemon meringue ice-cream in the metal container, and the plain lemon ice-cream in the tupperware container.
ice-cream and biscuits
Surprisingly, I much preferred the plain lemon ice-cream - it had a much better texture and flavour. The lemon meringue ice-cream was ok, but it had a lot of ice-crystals in it, and was very, very sour. It must have become more sour as it froze, because it was perfect before I froze it. Even though Nigella says "it needs an edge to it", I think that adding a bit of extra sugar wouldn't hurt. Or if not adding extra sugar, definitely take Nigella's sugestion of serving it drizzled with honey or extra lemon curd.
ice-cream and biscuit