Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sarah Loves Ginger

I made gingerbread on Saturday afternoon, and we’ve been slowly working our way through it since Tuesday morning…

113. Stem-Ginger Gingerbread (Cooking in Advance)

One of the main reasons I chose to make this is that we had all the ingredients. Stem ginger was really difficult to acquire, but I found it at The Essential Ingredient a few weeks ago during my big foodie shopping spree.

It’s not a particularly complex procedure – just mix some ingredients in a KitchenAid (or use your fingers if you’re not so technologically advanced), heat some others in a pan, then mix everything together and bake in a lined and greased tin. Nigella says to grate the stem ginger with a drum grater but I took one look at the teensy pieces floating in the jar (it’s “baby stem ginger”, does that make a difference?) and realised that grating it by hand would result either in tears, or in big feral chunky bits of ginger. So I just whizzed it up in a Braun mini-blender. Easy.

I don’t know if my tin is too small, but the mixture expanded above it, much like a muffin in a muffin tin might. But not to worry, it didn’t spill over the edges. You have to leave it to cool in the tin, then wrap it up and leave it for a day (not an easy task). It smelled fabulous, and straight after it was baked, I showed it via webcam to my gorgeous friend in the states who was extremely jealous.

Gingerbread in foil – this sight tormented me for two days!

On Tuesday morning, I woke up to see Mum had already snuck a slice out! I’d told her “we can eat it on Tuesday”, and I think she was thinking the same as me, and got stuck in first thing Tuesday morning.

This was my Tuesday morning breakfast (following a bowl of minestrone, of course).

Headily spiced, moist, rich. It is a bit spicy, because of the stem ginger, I think. I also used allspice instead of mixed spice because that is all we had.

I gave a slice each to my friends Paul and An at uni. Paul, especially, liked it. He’s into that sort of thing you see.

Paul: Ooh, this is really good! It’s not as spicy as you said, but it’s definitely got a kick to it.

Tonight, I made a mushroom risotto for dinner (Yes, How to Eat has two), followed by gingerbread for dessert.

114. Mushroom Risotto (Feeding Babies and Small Children)

This one is basically the same as the low fat mushroom risotto , but it has marginally more butter, you cook the mushrooms separately, adding them at the end, and there are slightly different proportions of rice and liquid stipulated. (Not that it matters, as I always end up using double the amount of stock anyway…)

Anyway, this is your basic risotto, nothing too exciting to report with regards to its method or appearance. Except, of course, it took me about 50 minutes of constant stirring to cook it. 20 minutes my arse. I know this for a fact, as I listened to the entire new Tommy Heavenly6 album whilst stirring.

Mushroom risotto - this is quali'ee stuff, matey. It's the porcini mushrooms that give it the luscious depth of flavour. Also, I used Marsala as the alcohol (Nigella suggests it, and I'd never used it in a risotto before, so why not?), and it was fab - the dark earthiness of the alcohol is echoed in the mushrooms.

The rice I used was imported Italian vialone nano rice, which I bought (along with the stem ginger), from The Essential Ingredient. It felt a lot more special than using ordinary Arborio rice from a supermarket plastic packet. And I'm pretty sure I've seen this rice on the Nigella Bites program in Nigella's pantry.

Dad: This is very good. If you served this at a restaurant for an entrée, you could charge, like $18 for it!

Putting a price on something I cook is one of Dad's favourite ways of complementing me. I'm not complaining!

And here’s dessert – more gingerbread, with bought vanilla ice-cream, cinnamon and stem ginger. Fabulous.

gingerbread, ice cream, stem ginger

I’ve yet to try it, as Nigella recommends, with crumbly cheese (Caerphilly, Wensleydale or Lancashire), but I’m longing too. I’ve got the leftover cake sliced up and frozen, and as soon as I can get my hands on the correct cheese, I’m going for it.

Nigella says the gingerbread will serve 6-8. We’ve already got 8 slices out of it, and have another 5 in the freezer. I know she says to slice it thickly, but there’s only so much ginger a girl can handle at once!


Anonymous said...

The ginger cake looks amazing. I'll definetely have to try it (if I can get some stem ginger...). You're doing such a good job with HTE and I just love to come to your blog and find you've written something new since my last visit. :)

domesticgoddess said...

that's great that the gingerbread was a hit- i made the one from HTBADG once and i didn't like it at all. so i guess when it comes to ginger, don't knock it til you've tried it more than once, hehe. :)

Ilana said...

Oooh everything looked fab! I did the risotto recently too.. Mmmm, love risotto!!! Mine always takes just around 20 min., and I tend to use less stock than stipulated.. ah, not all risottos are created equal. LOL.
by the way, this is the way my dad compliments.. this is fucking great!!! (sorry for my language; we could be less behaved here, right?) hehe.

Sarah said...

Hi Ilana!

Oh yes, that's the way my brother compliments too!

Oh and of course we can be less behaved here - this is a Sarah blog, swear away!

xox Sarah

domesticgoddess said...

my dad also compliments my dishes by saying 'fucking great', haha.

(and when he doesn't like it he sys 'delicious food.' monotonously- i've worked it out, lol)