Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Recipe roadtests: Simply the Best

I absolutely love cooking.  I’m by no means a great cook – I’m never going to be a Michelin starred chef or be a contestant on MasterChef.  One of my great failures is lacking the requisite creativity and confidence.  Success in the kitchen for me is a result of two things, the recipe I’m using and sheer luck...

It is for this reason that I have developed a love, or what some would call an obsession, for cookbooks.  Over time I have accumulated an enviable collection of food porn.    My addiction has gotten to the point where it is now affecting other people. 

I am now forced to vet all potential cookbook purchases through M, who puts them through the stringent “M Test.”  The test involves selecting recipes at random, and M making a determination of would he make it, or wouldn’t he make it.  It’s all highly technical.  To pass the test the cookbook must have 3 recipes he’d make within a reasonable number random page selection attempts.

It typically plays out something like this: we’re in a book store, and I have lingered in the cooking section for some time and located a treasure that I must purchase.  Meekly, I wander over to M, handing him the cook book, looking at him expectantly, willing him to just say that I can buy it.

Recipe 1 gets a tepid response.
Recipe 2 receives a look of disgust – it’s probably vegetarian.
Recipe 3 ... it’s a winner...

And so the game goes on.  There are times when I’m sure that I look completely despondent, as though I might curl up and cry, as the recipes flick passed his eyes receiving less than positive responses.  I think he sees me out of the corner of his eyes, and not wanting to be responsible for causing such a look, he flicks through more recipes than necessary.  It becomes a battle of wills.  Will I back down, will he exhaust the book or will M crumble and just succumb?   

How I love this type of to-ing and fro-ing!  By the end of I feel as though I have truly earned the cookbook's purchase.

Starting up this blog presents a tactical opportunity for me.  I could do posts on recipe ‘tests’ and bribe M along the way with the delicious and decadent results.  Winners all round I’d say!   

First cook book off the ranks is the latest offering from Valli Little and the ABC delicious. team: Simply the Best.  

It is the latest cook book purchase of mine.  For the inaugural test I’ll be whipping M up a three course delight.  I’ll present a picture from the cook book and a picture of my success or failure!

This is how it all played out:

Entrée: Scallops with cauliflower purée and crispy prosciutto crumbs

A lovely, delicate dish that I thought would be outside my capability.  How wrong was I!  It’s one of the reasons why I have loved delicious. cookbooks for so long, recipes that will make you look like a trained chef without any hassle!

My attempt
The professional attempt

 Main: Smoky Spanish chicken

This was a pretty special dish.  It was, however, a little bit fussy to make: you have to make the stuffing, stuff the chicken, tie it up, refrigerate it for an hour, steam it, fry it, rest it, roll it and then slice it... Worth the effort, but not something you’d be making as a quick dinner after work!

The professional attempt
My attempt

Dessert: Poached pears with chocolate mousse and pistachio soil

The chocolate mousse in this recipe is so simple and produces such an amazing result: it is the most perfectly rich and velvety mousse.  Mix this with the slight tartness of the pears (which were poached in verjuice) and crunch of the pistachio soil and you’ve got another winner.

The professional attempt
My attempt

No comments:

Post a Comment