Sunday, May 25, 2008

This and That

One of the dishes in the above competition was a 'Welsh Milk Jelly' which the judges preferred to call 'panna cotta'. So lets give an easy posh nosh version of something similar. It doesn't really matter whether you follow the recipe as to the type of milk used; evaporated milk would make something similar, 'real' cream would make it superb, 'ordinary' milk a bit more downmarket, but because of the other ingredients, this still makes an extremely good dessert. Always keep within the limitations of your budget, and let the presentation make it look as though you have spent a fortune.
Grapefruit and Orange Pannacotta: serves 6
1 x 405 can low-fat condensed milk (Carnation do one)
4 0z (100g) creme fraiche
2 lemons
half a pint (300ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
15g sachet of gelatine
grapefruit and orange segments
1 tblsp orange flower water (opt)
1 ripe passion fruit (opt)
Finely grate the zest from one lemon, and squeeze the juice from the two lemons. Whisk the condensed milk and the creme fraiche together, gradually beating in the lemon zest and juice, and the orange juice (also orange flower water if using). Prepare the gelatine as packet instructions and when cooled slightly, whisk this into the mixture.
Pour into 6 individual 5 fl.oz (150ml) containers (pref. metal), place in the fridge and leave to set (approx 2 hours). To serve, give each container a quick dip in hot water, and invert over a plate. With a shake it should slide out. If not give another dip.
Decorate each plate with the fruit segments. Slice open the passion fruit, spoon out the pulp and drizzle this over (opt).

Now for something completely different. Browsing through a magazine noticed a letter from someone who wished to 'cook Moroccan' but could not find a supplier of preserved lemons. But who needs to buy when they are easily made at home?
Preserved Lemons:
Several ripe and unblemished lemons, washed
salt (4o/125g) to each 2lb (1kg) fruit
fresh lemon juice
Make two cuts through each lemon crosswise down from the top but not cutting right through to the very bottom. Open out slightly and sprinkle the cut flesh with plenty of salt (use all the salt according to the amount needed for each fruit). Close up the fruits and put them into clean sterilised jars, ramming them in as tightly as possible. Pour enough fresh lemon juice over them to cover. The salt draws out more lemon juice and the skins will have begun to soften within a week, but not ready to use for 3 to 4 weeks.
When a lemon is needed, remove what you need from the jar, rinse off all the salt and cut away and discard the flesh. It is the lemon peel that is used for flavouring North African dishes.