Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries is both an entertaining read and a fabulous cookery book. Join me as I journey through the year cooking along with him...
Do buy the book from Amazon or your local book store. It's not just the recipes, its the gentle writing style and the importance of food provenance which strike a chord with me.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Week 12 - Demerara Lemon Cake and Prawn & Coriander Rolls

This looks like a straightforward cooking session, you would think - a cake, and some chopping and frying.  Brill.  Unfortunately, there was a too-large glass of wine somewhere in the mix, which really did not make for a successful evening.

Starting with the cake (p91), I realised I had not got the same size loaf tin as Mr S, so some maths to cut down the ingredients to fit the tin size was in order.  All easy enough except when it comes to eggs, but I made what I thought was a reasonable guess, and weighed everything out.

Firstly cream demerara sugar and butter 'until light and fluffy - you can expect this to take a little longer than it would with caster sugar.' Too right!  I was there with the beaters for ages, and still don't think that either light or fluffy are adjectives that I would use.  Oh well - onwards and upwards.  Add beaten eggs a little at a time 'the mixture will probably curdle a bit but don't worry.'  Too right!

Then fold in flour, ground almonds and baking powder.  Again 'fold in' would not be an expression that I would use at this point, and by the time the mix was all together, it still looked a bit separated and not overly smooth.  Put in the tin.  Top off with a sliced lemon that you have heated with sugar and water form a thick syrup and left to cool.

So this was not looking great, and once cooked, the cake is - er - dense, and the candied lemon slices had sunk.  Tastes nice, mind.

The second of tonight's dishes looked pretty foolproof, though - prawn and coriander rolls on p94. Lightly blitz prawns, garlic, spring onions, lime leaves, coriander leaves, hot chilli and a bit of flour, then put the resulting mince into the fridge for the flavours to develop. So far, so good.

Whilst that's happening, make sauce by heating sugar, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, a finely chopped chilli, finely chopped coriander leaves and some lime juice. Leave to cool and thicken.

At this point, do not, emboldened with a glass of white, decide that it should be a bit thicker than that, and 'I'll just give it a bubble up for a minute'.  Even more importantly, do not wander off, unless you want the syrup to undergo a chemical transformation and weld itself to the base of the pan, and leave a revolting all pervading and lingering niff.

Split the prawn mix into patties and shallow fry - I used sweet chilli dipping sauce to serve instead - it was probably much the same in any case.  Nice, bit bland if we're honest, and so much washing up, despite having a dishwasher.

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