As of 6:15pm tonight, I officially finished classes for the semester! Yay!
When I came home, I just ate what my mum had cooked - rice and stirfried veggies, and then got on with ploughing through more recipes.
372. Sauternes and Lemon Balm Jelly (Dinner)
373. Good, thick winter pea soup
The soup appears in both the Cooking in Advance chapter, and in the Weekend Lunch chapter. Basically what you have to do is save any stock you have from boiling a ham, and boil it with split peas, a potato and some leek to form a soup. I used a tub of frozen stock I had leftover from the ridiculously salty ham in cider, (watered down substantially) and let the whole thing bubble away as I got on with the jelly.
First step is to make a syrup with sugar and water, and steep some lemon balm (or lemongrass) in it.
Next, you strain the liquid into a jug, and add some Sauternes. Then you dissolve gelatine leaves in some extra, warmed, Sauternes, and pour that into the jug. Finally, you add lemon juice to make up the volume. I was almost worried that we wouldn't have any lemons (we renovated and expanded our kitchen 3 years ago at the expense of our lemon tree, and now I never remember to buy them), until I saw this...
do we have enough lemons?
My dad has a guitar student, "Reese", who has a grandmother, who has a very fertile lemon tree. She offloaded a whole bunch of them to my dad last week. How lovely and generous of her!
Nigella says to use a 2-pint ring mould, but I only made a half-quantity of the jelly, and decided to use the randomly sized mini-mould that my Aunty Anne gave me.
jelly in moulds
The jellies are now in the fridge; they need to set overnight. Check back tomorrow for the verdict!
And here's the thick pea soup. I basically let it keep cooking until it looked like the picture of the yellow split pea soup in the New Years chapter of Nigella's latest book, Feast. It smelled pretty good too. And I think some sliced frankfurters (proper German ones, from a deli) would be lovely in it.
a good thick winter soup
I tasted it, and it was nice, but still ridiculously salty. I probably should have poured some of the stock away at the beginning, rather than adding water and then letting it bubble back down to its original saltiness. Whoops. I watered the completed soup down, and put the whole thing in the fridge. So now the soup is not too salty, but it's watery, and not "good and thick". If I can be arsed tomorrow, I'll boil up some more split peas in water and then add that to the soup.
I think it defeats the purpose of this soup if it's not like one of those "wonderful grainy, tobacco-tinted purées eaten in Amsterdam - thick, puddingy... smelling of sausage". Although I don't remember ever seeing soup like this on my trip to Amsterdam. To be fair, however, I don't remember much of my trip to Amsterdam at all.
You'll be pleased to know that I also made both marinades for Nigella's low-fat char siu recipes. The pork loins are defrosting as we speak, and I shall cook them tomorrow.