Something Fishy, Birthday Celebrations and a Colourful Curry …

I thoroughly enjoyed painting today. I used salt to add texture to the sky within the fish – it was good to use it again and had forgotten how effective it can be:
IMG_2706It was my parents’ birthday lunch at the weekend. It went really well, there were a few surprises along the way and luckily all the food turned out as well as I had hoped;

Chicken Risotto with White Truffle Oil, served with Foccacia Bread was our main course. This was another recipe from Katie Quinn Davies ‘What Katie Ate’ and it was very tasty indeed. To follow, we had a choice of 3 desserts:

Tiramisu has been a long term favourite and here we had our own individual servings. I’d made the sponges and had assembled the puddings the night before, this gave the sponges plenty of time to soak up the coffee and brandy.

Strawberries dipped in melted chocolate and served with the buttery-est of shortbread biscuits went down well too.

I couldn’t give my parents a special celebratory lunch without meringues, it’s amazing how egg whites and caster sugar can transform themselves in to such deliciousness!! The leftovers were good the next day too 🙂

Yesterday we had a hot, spicy and very colourful curry. The weather has not been great so far this week and this hearty dish was just what we needed to brighten our day:

 

Trio of Puds …

I do love a pudding, I have to admit that even better than 1 pudding is 3! I attempted to make these quite small so that we would fully appreciate each one:

On the left is Strawberry Shortbread with Crème Pâtissière, in the middle is Eton Mess (meringue, double cream and raspberries) and on the right is a raspberry trifle which was made with vanilla cupcake soaked in raspberry liqueur, raspberries, Crème Pâtissière, double cream and 3 raspberries on top. As desserts go, I quite enjoyed this one/three!

 

Spinning Sugar on Strawberries and Shortbread …

I made the shortbread yesterday evening and today decided to see if I could make a kind of Strawberries and Cream Shortcake dessert with maybe a bit of spun sugar on top. It’s only the second time that I’ve attempted spun sugar, my first attempt did not go well. Previously, I followed a recipe which called for a certain temperature to be reached and some liquid glucose to be added. I decided to rebel today and just tried it with sugar:

I wouldn’t say this was a resounding success but I am pleased that I managed to make a small sugar ‘cage’, even if the sugar is a little thick in places. I’ll no doubt get some more practice in this evening when I make them for my family.

Melt in the Mouth …

There was a near disaster in our house tonight – we ran out of biscuits! With two very rapidly growing boys, this does count as a near disaster, there was only one remedy: home made shortbread.

I followed the recipe in Mary Berry’s baking book:

I doubled the quantities (don’t want to run out of biscuits again too soon):

200g plain flour

100g semolina or cornflour

100g caster sugar

200g butter

Mix the flour and semolina/cornflour together, add the butter and sugar and rub together to form breadcrumbs, carefully continue to mix until the mixture just begins to bind together, knead briefly, roll out to your preferred shortbread shape and place on a prepared baking tray, or press into a prepared baking tin, bake for roughly 25 minutes at 160 * or until the shortbread just begins to turn golden.

Allow the shortbread to cool in the tin before turning out and slicing.

Try to have some left over to avoid a biscuit deficit disaster the day after baking.

These meltingly tantalising biscuits were delicious, they literally did melt in the mouth. They were very quick and easy to make, even after a very full on day at work.  I have a feeling I’ll be making them again soon.