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Showing posts from December, 2011

TOP 10 POSTS IN 2011

Here are the ten posts which received the most traffic on this blog in 2011. Thank you to all my readers, and Happy New Year!

Nigella's Crustless Pizza

Don't Make These!

Rock Shandy

Terribly Clever

Easy Saturday Supper - Lamb Mechoui


The Best Chocolate Tart

Marmite Spaghetti

Cheat's Mango Sorbet

Nigella's Buns

Friday Supper: Steak & Leffe Pie

Guests posts invited for 2012. Please contact me via the comments box on this post, or Facebook or Twitter (@crosseyedpiano) if you would like to contribute.

FRIDAY NIGHT PUDDING: TIRAMISU

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A classic Italian dessert which has, like Black Forest Gateau, Crepe Suzettes, trifle and profiteroles, become something of a cliché. Done badly, it is sickly, cloying and claggy. Done well, it is light and fluffy, a pillow of marscapone and egg whites over a coffee and liqueur-soaked sponge base.

I have to confess to a real fondness for Tiramisu, and I often order it if I see it on an Italian restaurant menu. The best I've had was at Ca'an Mea, a wonderful and eccentric restaurant just outside Badalucco in Liguria (more here), where it was, inexplicably, served in an enamel chamber pot. My friend Nick also makes a mean version.

The word "tiramisu" literally translates as "pick me up" and it was invented within the last 50-odd years. It is traditionally made with "savoiardi" or Boudoir biscuits/lady fingers, eggs, sugar and mascarpone cheese. It's lighter than a cheesecake, or a trifle. There are countless variations, using panettone or other …

COQ AU VIN

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A classic French dish cooked for an old friend from university, who happens to be half-French and lives in Nantes.

Our get-togethers, which are infrequent, sadly, but always filled with chat, laughter, music and food, begin around 6pm with an "apero" (aperitif), usually something fizzy, sometimes tarted up into Kir Royale with the addition of Crème de Cassis or Crème de Mure. I made Coq au Vin (which is literally "chicken in wine") because I wanted a dish that could be prepared in advance and left so that Anne and I could get on with catching up on the last 18 months. Also, Coq au Vin is definitely a dish that benefits from being allowed to rest so that all the flavours can meld together.

I had intended to serve brown bread ice cream but forgot to pre-freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker in time. So, for pudding we had soft amaretti biscuits (not homemade), Madeleines purchased from Carrefour in Les Gets, and Charbonnel et Walker truffles. Oh, and more wine....

WINTER WARMER: VENISION SAUSAGES BRAISED IN RED WINE

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Venison, or rather its living original, deer, has been "in the news" lately as the YouTube film of Fenton the Dog chasing deer in Richmond Park has gone viral. Possibly one of the funniest things on YouTube at the moment, and an example of that particularly English form of schadenfreude, it is also a warning to dog owners, to keep their hounds under control when around deer in the park.

I live not ten minutes walk from Bushy Park, a lovely expanse of open space between Teddington and Hampton Court, and the park has many deer, of different varieties (as well as the famous Bushy Park parakeets, and green and spotted woodpeckers). Autumn is the rutting season and sometimes if I wake in the night, I can hear the deer grunting and bellowing.

Venison is a lovely alternative to beef, and is better for you as it is leaner. It has a rich flavour, but not over-poweringly gamey, and it also makes delicious, rich sausages. Sandy's, the fishmonger in Twickenham, sells wonderful, hom…