Monday, February 28, 2011

Valentine Delights

This year we didn't do anything for Valentines Day itself but the day before it was a leisurely Sunday Lunch at Koi in Woolwich… Beautiful Food. Fresh sashimi and nigiri sushi with a delightful and well balanced plate of pork belly cubes with crunchy crackling and the smoothest and most delicate of matching mustard sauce to go with it. Well I'm not describing it properly and I'm not in the habit of photographing as I eat so all I can admit to is not doing it justice at well, my description poorly lacking to describe the work of art it was. 

The Daring Bakers challenge for the month was creamy pannacotta with crunchy florentine biscuits… Suitably inspired I made this a few days beforehand for Geoff with Valentines in mind if not marked precisely on the calendar.

For this challenge I chose to make a lavender flavoured pannacotta. It did split a bit, I think I didn't heat the milk enough after adding the cream but someone else might know what was the real cause. It tasted just fine though and I topped it with fresh berries and a berry jelly coolie concoction with a touch of rose water to reflect the floral notes in the pannacotta. 
I tried two plating options, interestingly the one that looked most impressive on the table – the long white presentation tray photographed less well than the pre-valentines treat plating did.
For my florentines, I used this lovely bircher museli mix I had which was oats with bits of apple, currents, wheat flakes and coconut, a great combo for the biscuits which I have already been requested to make regularly to fill the cookie jar up with.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Year of the Rabbit

Well a few weeks back it was all very busy celebrating Chinese New Year. It is the year of the Rabbit and another pair of paper-cut creations have made the way from my cutting board and onto my shelf and to Geoff's family home. They are becoming a very nice way to count the years I've known this wonderful man. 

My new in-laws always throw a big party at their place and I have already established my part in the traditions. Everyone always brings a plate of food and I am permanently assigned now to a contribution to the dessert table. This year I chose this Lime and Coconut Layer Cake because its all fluffy and white like a rabbit. It is layers of sponge brushed with malibu and sandwiched together with lime curd with creme fraiche. To coat it is an Italian Meringue with flaked coconut. It seemed to go down very well with the crowd. The long day full of food culminates in a round of Mahjong, my annual dalliance with this addictive game.