The way I’m picking the remaining recipes is by looking at my list (typed out, size 12 Times New Roman font), and just going for whatever I haven’t crossed out yet.
This was dinner tonight. It was just a casual meal, for the parentals and I, but it turned out to be quite nice and special.
368. Lentil and black olive crostini (Dinner)
369. Prawn and aubergine crostini (Dinner)
370. Hollandaise sauce with Seville orange juice (Basics etc.)
I started on the lentil and black olive crostini while I was cooking this afternoon, by cooking 30 grams of puy lentils until soft. You gotta process the lentils with some black olive paste / tapenade (available at any supermarket these days), a bit of water to bind, and a teaspoon of Cognac. (Once again I turned to my parents’ surprisingly handy stash of mini-bar bottles, collected over years and years of overseas travel). The mixture can be left in the fridge until needed.
The prawn crostini are pretty easy too – you bake an eggplant in the oven until soft, and cook some prawns in a pan with garlic and chilli. Then you process the eggplant flesh and the prawns together. Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, second crostini topping.
I had some leftover slices of baguette, all bagged up and ready to roll. They just need to be toasted on each side in the oven, takes about 8 minutes a side from frozen. (See below for the photos).
Now, as for the hollandaise sauce, Nigella says it could be a treat as a “once-a-year accompaniment to plain, baked or grilled white fish and broccoli”, but to treat this deviation from the classical with caution. (Even though I don't really understand why, the result is pretty damn tasty).
In keeping with my use of the retro egg-slicer, I pulled out my mum’s super retro double boiler to make the hollandaise sauce in. I also had Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits blaring, but that’s another story.
retro double boiler
It’s the usual deal, egg yolks over simmering water, into which you gradually whisk cubes of softened butter until it’s all emulsified and sauce-like. At the end, you add a squeeze of Seville orange juice instead of lemon juice. Pretty simple. Hilariously, I got distracted singing to Rod Stewart while using the retro double boiler, and curdled the stupid sauce! So I had to start again, and this time I used my usual bowl suspended over simmering water dealy, and concentrated properly. And that worked fine. I served grilled chicken breasts, and steamed asparagus and brocolli with the sauce.
So here are the crostini. The light ones are the prawn crostini, topped with chopped coriander. The dark, lentil crostini are garnished with a teeny slice of cherry tomato. (Nigella says to blanch, peel and de-seed the cherry tomatoes, but I said "stuff that" and just left them raw).
Both were quite delicious, but I loved the prawn one! Prawns! Chilli! Garlic! Eggplant! It's like all my favourite flavours conveniently spread on a single, easy-to-eat crostini.
sauce and vegetables
That is some tasty, tasty sauce. I did have to warn my parents that "this is a mega-fattening sauce", just so that we wouldn't immediately drown all our food in that deliciously buttery-rich sauce. I've liked all of Nigella's variations on hollandaise, and feel no qualms about deviating from the classical.
Wow, I'm amazed that this mish-mash of random recipes resulted in such an elegant dinner! Lucky me.