Nov 1, 2006

Well Done Nigella

Okay, so I didn't post yesterday, and technically I didn't cook any Nigella yesterday (eww, sounds very cannibalistic. Only not, since I didn't), but I did eat some Nigella recipes (okay, and that sounds like I ate paper. Brain very foggy), so perhaps that counts.

I didn't cook any Nigella because yesterday was Halloween. And I was panicked. The kids have, shall we say, not-very-Nigella-y tastes in food, so I made cutlets, green beans, and mac & cheese. Now, I'm the one who gave Guy this cutlets recipe (you put a ton of freshly grated parmesan in with the bread crumbs--heavenly), but he's kind of taken over making it for the past two years, so I'm a little out of practice. So I'm there, timing the cutlets down to milliseconds--very out of character for me--when suddenly the doorbell rings. I think it's the kids' babysitter, having forgotten her keys. I answer the intercom.

"Trick or treat!"

I stare at the intercom in horror. Trick or treaters? But it's only 5:00! And I'm not sitting outside--who rings doorbells in this neighborhood! And, most importantly, I HAVE NO CANDY.

Guy and I are taking the kids trick-or-treating this year. We weren't supposed to be handing out candy, we were supposed to be harvesting it.

And they know I'm here. I answered the intercom. Which, by the way, rings again. "Trick or treat!"

I look frantically at the timer--two minutes until cutlet-flip. I spring into action, tearing into our cabinets. I dump out a half a carton of sugar-free bazooka into a bowl. This is not enough. It sounded like fifty kids were out there. I find some old candy buttons in the back of the cupboard--you know, those things you only find in kicky candy stores nowadays. They kind of taste like hardened air. I cut up the buttons into strips, and race out front. One minute until cutlet-flip.

Fifty kids was an exaggeration. There are only fifteen. And most of them look to be about fifteen, but they are all in costume so I can't legitimately scrooge my way out of this. I distribute the candy, and race back to my chicken.

See? Very, very stressful.

However, I did cook me up some Nigella the day before but didn't write about it yet so we'll just ignore my lack of organizational skills and hear a tale of woe.

There is a thing in the world called Liptauer, which apparently was quite the deli standard back in the day. It is a creamy cheese mixed with capers, cornichons, and paprika. What in the world could be better. Clearly, I needed to make this immediately.

I ran out to the store, bought some cream and cottage cheese (they're to be mixed together). I already had the capers and cornichons; they are a household staple when I live in the house. And I mixed everything up and YUM.

But there's a small problem. Nobody else in this house likes capers or cornichons and it is highly unlikely that they will eat anything they've never heard of, even if it's cheesy goodness. And I made a half-recipe, but that's still damn-a-lot of Liptauer for one person.

Less woeful is the tale of the "Double Potato and Halloumi Bake." This came out mighty yummy, and was very easy. Chop up a sweet and regular potato, an onion, a pepper, and put in some unpeeled garlic. Bake forever. I can follow those instructions.

However, I didn't use halloumi. Nigella calls for it a lot, and says it can be found at Turkish, Greek, or specialty cheese shops. We don't have any of those within walking distance of my house. And what's more, Nigella describes the cheese as "mint-flavored sheep's milk cheese." MINT-flavored? I'm a cheese girl, and I experiment, but minty cheese does not sound particularly appetizing.

I used feta.

And I made sticky-toffee pudding. I'd made her recipe before, but I cooked it a little longer this time, and it was even better than usual. Nothing like a good date-free sticky toffee pudding.

Like I said, incapable of following a recipe.

But see? Even if I didn't make any Nigella yesterday, I made three of her the day before, so really it balances out.


Guy said...

A Nigella a Day keeps WHAT away?

If you revise all of her recipes, does that make you a cookbook author?

Others have pulled off the novelist/cookbook writer track. It could be done...


Ruth said...

I could never find halloumi either until I moved here. Duh, I guess it's all the sheep. Anyway, it's really quite good and the mint is SO subtle; you'd never taste it unless someone told you it was there.

I likes.