Monday, May 10, 2010

Green Mothers Day 2 ways - Cookbook Challenge - Week 26

Wow, I cant believe we are halfway through the Cookbook Challenge, which translates to 6 months worth of it, I dont know where the time has gone & on another note that also means that Josh is turning one in less than a month, what happened to my baby?

I decided to make green week a Mothers Day feast.  For breakfast I made the family, yes that's right, I cooked my own Mothers Day breakfast as I really wouldnt want to see what Michael would do to pancakes, Nigella Lawson's Arabian Pancakes with Orange Flower Syrup & Pistachio's, that very green & beautiful nut.  The book was Forever Summer & with the weather Melbourne has been experiencing of late it does seem that we are sort of having our very own forever summer too, she also suggests serving them as pudding, ie dessert though I thought they were just fine for breakfast.  They were really dreamy, the orange flower syrup was so beautifully thick, sweet & orange scented & went perfectly over the light, fluffy pancakes & the contrast of the chewy nuts on top made the whole dish just perfect.  Josh had a bite or 2 though Chloe who normally loves a pancake like her mum decided she didnt even want to try them & insisted on wheat bix, oh well what could I say but more for us!  She had spent the previous night vomiting all over the place, her bed, our bed, the floor & finally the bucket when we got her close enough so I was hoping that pancakes would cheer her up but sadly she didnt have much of an appetite & pretty much didnt eat all day or night (dinner was also flat out refused even though it consisted of her favourite savoury components, potatoes & meat on the bone).   One thing to note was that my batter didnt seem nearly as thick as she suggested it would have been & there is no way it would serve the 8-10 people that she quotes, I would say max 4!

Arabian Pancakes with Orange-Flower Syrup - Nigella Lawson - Forever Summer

Orange Flower Syrup
225g caster sugar
150ml water
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon orange flower water

150g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 and a quarter teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tspn bicarb of soda
pinch ground cardamon

3 tblspns Greek Yoghurt or labneh
approx 125ml semi-skimmed milk
1 large egg
50ml almond oil (or 50g butter, melted & cooled)

To serve
1-2 handfuls shelled pistachios, chopped

To make the syrup, bring the sugar & water gradually to the boil in a saucepan, swilling the pan to help the sugar dissolve, but on no account stirring it.  Once it's boiling, pour in the lemon juice and then turn down the heat a little & simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon.  Add the orange-flower water and simmer for another 5 minutes, then cool the syrup and chill in the fridge.

To make the pancakes, measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl then spoon the yoghurt into a measuring jug and, stirring with a fork, pour in the milk until you hit the 250ml mark.  If you need to, add a little more than the 125ml specified to do so.  Whisk in the egg & then the almond oil, then stir this jugful of wet ingredients into the bowlful of dry ones.  Almost immediately the mixture will stiffen into a thick, fluffy batter.

Heat a dry griddle & when it is hot add about 2 tablespoons worth of batter for each pancake.  When the pancakes begin to bubble on top, flip them over & cook the other side to a golden brown.  Serve drizzled with syrup (brought back to room temperature if made in advance) & sprinkled with nuts.

Green dish number 2 was to be my Mother's Day dinner & Michael was going to cook it for me so I kept it pretty simple.  A lovely rack of lamb with a mint salsa & some fairly traditional veg, potatoes, pumpkin & peas.  This recipe came from the same book as the pancakes.  Michael did a great job considering he also had Josh hanging off his leg the whole time, the boy was sick & in a new take on things didnt want to know about Mummy, it was all Daddy this weekend I'm afraid so I got to relax for real while the cooking was taking place.  The salsa was fantastic, lively, vibrant & great to liven up the otherwise dull roast vegetables, no gracy needed.  The lamb was tasty & tender though I was a bit disappointed in my butcher who I normally love as the lamb had quite a high fat content & therefore not much of the good tender pink stuff.

Thanks Michael for a bright spot in my otherwise pretty average Mothers Day!!!!

Rack of Lamb with Mint Salsa - Nigella Lawson - Forever Summer

Serves 4-6 so adjust quantities as needed

2 racks of lamb, approx 8 cutlets on each rack

Mint Sauce
30g fresh mint
30g fresh flat leaf parsley
16 cornichons (baby gherkins)
4 teaspoons capers
200ml extra virgin olive oil
4 tspns white wine vinegar, or to taste
pinch caster sugar
ground black pepper
Maldon salt

Preheat oven to 210c.  Make sure the lamb is out of the fridge and well on its way to becoming room temperature.  If still fridge cold when they go in the oven add about 7 minutes extra cooking time.

Destalk the herbs & whiz them in a food processor until they are chopped, then add the cornichons and capers and whiz again.  Pour the oil down the funnel, and then add the vinegar and sugar to taste, season with salt & pepper.

Score the lamb fat, by using a sharp knife to draw diagonal lines, this way & that, about a couple of centimetres apart and using a pastry brush, paint the fat with a coating of the mint sauce, saving the rest to serve with the lamb.  Arrange the racks in an intertwining arch (if you can be bothered!) and put them into a tin & into the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked to your liking.


What's For Tea? said...

These both look and sound delicious!

That mint salsa would be good on BBQ'd lamb chops too I reckon :)

Kat said...

I wonder if a part of your ingredient list for the pancakes was left off? Your dry ingredients were a bit sparse, so I searched for the recipe and found it also included:
150g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 and a quarter teaspoons baking powder

Glad you had a nice mother's day.

Ange said...

Thanks Kat, think I might have been in a bit of a rush to get my post done before Josh woke up, have now added in the rest of the ingredients!