Pasta Frolla al Marsala

Makes perfect Decoy Cookies too ..

Makes perfect Decoy Cookies too ..

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This is a rich, versatile shortcrust pasty, perfect for baked cheesecakes, pies and tarts. Any leftover pastry can be rolled and cut out with a cookie cutter and baked. I often do that in the vain hope that the marauding family will leave the pie top alone ūüôā

Puffy Neeps

cheesy, tasty, Puffy Neeps

cheesy, tasty, Puffy Neeps

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Those of you with Scottish ancestry may be familiar with¬†“Bashed Neeps”, the traditional accompaniment to haggis. It’s made by boiling and mashing swedes¬†with butter and¬†spices. Sadly, where we live swedes are often difficult or expensive to obtain for most of the year, so I began combining them with parsnips when they were out of season. To my delight, I found I could make a “gourmet” version that is¬†light, fluffy and makes a delicious accompaniment to roast,¬†baked or barbequed meats. The cheesy crust is particular popular in Casa de Chaos! ¬†It’s a good vegetarian option with¬†salad or baked vegetables. It’s also the perfect way to use up large, over-ripe or woody parsnips that would otherwise be consigned to the compost .. something I am sure frugal Scots would approve of, even if I am¬†contaminating their neeps.

Turkey Like a Boss

Turkey Like a Boss. Perfect, succulent meat

Turkey Like a Boss. Perfect, succulent meat

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This is it. This is the Big One. My¬†signature dish. A¬†Totally-Showing-Off party piece. Ever looked in dismay at a dry piece of baked turkey and thought it as appetising as shoe leather? I’ve had so many disappointing results, especially with turkey breast. I consigned turkey to casseroles until a very elderly, very sympathetic client of mine listened to my plaintive heartbreak following one such disaster and gave me the following advice; “When cooking turkey breast, wrap it in streaky bacon and foil, cook it slowly in it’s own juices then crisp the bacon up quickly once the meat is cooked.” The fats from the streaky bacon not only flavour the meat, they lend it much needed moisture. She also suggested¬†the brandied prunes in¬†the stuffing¬†for a little extra decadence. The result is melt-in-the-mouth tender meat with a gorgeous, crispy bacon “crackling” and sweet, delicate stuffing.¬†

Saffron Rice

Saffron Rice

Saffron Rice

This is a simple, tasty¬†dish that takes pride of place beside any sort of curry, salad or grilled meat. As an alternative to plain boiled or steamed rice to accompany creamy, meat-heavy casseroles such as Tarragon Chicken or Bookworm’s Turkey, it really can’t be beaten. Use a good quality saffron to give the rich golden colour.

Traditionally, saffron rice is cooked with Basmati rice, the aromatic long-grain rice favoured on the subcontinent. I prefer golden parboiled rice for its extra nutritional value.

Orange and Almond Cake

Orange and Almond Cake,

Orange and Almond Cake,

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Variants on this recipe can be found historically all over the mediterranean, Middle East and Northern Africa. ¬†I’ve heard it described as “Moorish”, “Sephardic”, “Persian” or Spanish Orange Cake. Whoever came up with the idea of boiling oranges so that they could be pureed and mixed into¬†sweetened, spiced almond flour was a genius, wherever they came from. The cake is moist, flavourful and packed with nutrition. I like to serve it with a gooey orange syrup and Menya D’√Ängels.