Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scottish Cooking

I didn't take a break between dessert and dinner last night because I had a gig in the evening and wanted to make sure I was finished and had eaten before I needed to leave.  Afterwards, went out with a small group, grabbed dessert, chattered - was tired, but had a lot of fun.

Back to the cooking, I started with the pavlova.  Now, we don't got no caster sugar here in the States (that I know of), so I do what I usually do:  use the Oskar (mini food processor) to process the sugar, but not as far as powdered sugar.  I used my electric whisk to beat the eggs, which made the process much faster but nearly got egg all over the kitchen.  Why does the whisk only have one speed, which is "hyper-acceleration?"  The mysteries of kitchen appliances ...

I folded in the cinnamon and cornflour, then mounded the pavlova on a silpat.  You're supposed to hollow it out - I did the best I could.  Despite following the directions to the letter, however, it "crisped" too much for the hollow to sink when I inverted it, so I will definitely be looking into hints, tips and other pavlova recipes.


I let this sit while I started on the next part ...


Mise en place - chopping, cutting, making sure that I had ingredients at hand.  Again, I could tell I had an Idaho potato because half of Idaho was on it.  The prep for the soup and the cheese tart were totally co-mingled - I had it planned so the tart wouldn't go into the oven until the soup was well underway.  It was perfectly timed - triumph!


The cheese tart really was as easy as advertised:  whizzing up ingredients in the food processor and then dumping them into the partially cooked tart shell.  Probably the worst part was getting the white off the brie.  Amusingly, both recipes required a sprinkle of parsley to finish ... but the parsley isn't really necessary and serves as garnish and color.  So I suppose I could have used my cilantro ...


I did make one fairly major substitute with the soup:  I managed to miss that it wanted coriander seeds (whole), not ground coriander, and I didn't have the former on hand.  So I didn't need to strain the end result, merely blend it.  It was just a bit too much soup for one pass through the blender, so I ended up having to run it in two batches.


Meanwhile!  Whipped up the cream ... spun it all over the kitchen again ... this whisk, why does it not have a slow speed?  Added sugar, raspberries, and plopped gleefully all over the pavlova.  Done.  Bliss.

Final verdict (pavlova):  Despite issues of physical construct, this was wonderful - crisp, light but intense, sweet fruit ... simple but worth it.

Final verdict (soup):  A very good, flavorful soup.  Simple enough I would make again.

Final verdict (cheese tart):  This was advertised as very rich, and it certainly trends to the heavy, but I didn't find it overwhelming, and it has some subtle kick to it.  Quite enjoyable.

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