The Best of Gretta Anna

Best of Gretta Anna with Martin TeplitzkyWhen I was growing up, the Gretta Anna cookbooks were the height of sophistication. The Best of Gretta Anna with Martin Teplitzky is a selection of recipes from her two earlier books, as well as some new recipes and a selections of recipes from her son, Martin Teplitzky. Each recipe is preceded with a short story from either Martin or Gretta Anna (and sometimes both), and instructions are clear. Not all recipes are photographed, but the photographs that are included are both clear and artful. The recipes I have made have all turned out well.

Prawns in Garlic Anchovy Sauce

I didn’t quite make this is as written. I made the garlic anchovy butter sauce, and then cooked the prawns in it. I served it over rice, and with beans, and it was delicious. There is a lot of butter in the recipe. Probably half as much would be just as good.

Tagliatelle with Ricotta, Pancetta & Peas

I made this recipe on a weeknight, and it was quick and tasted good. I used frozen spinach.

Lemon & Garlic Chicken

Not my favourite roast chicken recipe ever, but certainly not the worst either.  Relatively low-effort.

Rol’s Lemon & Sugar Cake

Recipe available online.

I don’t have a food processor, so I worked the butter through the dry ingredients by hand, and then mixed in the wet ingredients using a stand mixer. This is a simple, but good, cake. Ideal for afternoon tea.

Rol’s Apple Pecan Cinnamon Cake

Because I don’t have a food processor, I used the stand mixer to mix everything together. I think it would have been better if I had first worked the butter through the dry ingredients by hand as I did for the Lemon & Sugar Cake. The batter I ended up with was quite thick and sticky, and quite difficult to spread over the cake tin, especially after the middle layer of apple, pecans, and cinnamon. That said, the resulting cake was excellent.

Orange & Yoghurt Pancakes

By Massimo L. (Own work) (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons.

This weekend’s cooking featured Orange & Yoghurt Pancakes from the February 2011 issue of delicious. The recipe is a bit fiddly – lots of different bowls of things need to be prepared, and it stretch the resources in my (admitted under-equipped) kitchen. To simplify things, I decided to serve the pancakes only with Greek yoghurt and the berry compote – no messing around paring orange peel – but if I were to make this for brunch with guests (as I almost certainly will) I’d give my guests the choice of all the possible toppings. Because I’m still getting to know my kitchen, I burned quite a few pancakes before I’d worked out the right burner to be using, and the right setting for that particular burner, but once I’d worked it out, the pancakes were delicious, and smelled divine.

Real Strawberry Jelly

Parker Earle (strawberry) watercolor drawn in 1890 by Deborah Griscom Passmore (USDA).

This morning I set myself to making Real Strawberry Jelly, from the February 2011 issue of delicious. I made a few changes to the as-written recipe, in part to make my life easier, and it in part to work with ingredients I could find at my local supermarket (perhaps this also falls in the category of “making my life easier”?). I used frozen strawberries rather than fresh ones – at this time of the year much easier to find, and probably much better quality than anything fresh. I probably used a bit more than a tablespoon of lemon juice (squeezing directly into the pot is an inexact science), and when it came to drain the fruit I used a colander lined with cloth (this is what I had on hand). I substituted 6 gelatine sheets for 3 teaspoons of powdered gelatine (I couldn’t find the powdered version in the supermarket). I also didn’t faff around with inserting fruit into the setting jelly, although I did divide the strawberry syrup into ramekins to make individual servings. Despite my shortcuts, the resulting jelly is delicious. It’s not too sweet, and has a rich, rich strawberry flavour.

Butternut Lasagne

I really love lasagne, so when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin, Sage & Ricotta Lasagne featured on the delicious. web page I was keen to try it.

Photo by found_drama

Like all lasagnes, it’s a bit fiddly to make (although the fresh lasagne sheets I used made it a lot less fiddly), and it uses the food processor twice (I hate cleaning the food processor). I think there wasn’t really enough filling for the lasagne – if I made it again, I’d double the amount of filling (or halve the “footprint” of the lasagne) – and I over-browned it a little, but I was generally happy with the end result – not spectacular, but still good, and a nice vegetarian option.

Dove Rescue

There’s a pair of doves that regularly come by my balcony. I put out bird seed and water for them, and watch them collect nesting material. Occasionally they’ll bring newly fledged young to the balcony to eat, too. Late yesterday afternoon I looked out to the balcony and saw a dove in distress. It couldn’t fly, and I was worried it was going to throw itself off the edge of the baclony. I couldn’t decide if it was one of the pair, or one of their offspring (they had bought two recently fledged birds with them to the balcony just a few days ago), but it clearly needed help.

Photo by Noodle snacks

After a phone call to the RSPCA, I picked up the dove in a towel and headed out to the Murdoch emergency vet clinic. I’m not overly optimistic about the bird’s chances – by the time I picked it up it was no longer putting up a fight – but it was still alive when I handed it over, so perhaps there’s some hope.

Sunsets

It’s raining in Perth today, and last night, as the sun was setting, clouds began to come in, making for a pretty sunset.

Yesterday I made a Goat’s Cheese and Rosemary Tart for dinner (along with the suggested grape, celery and walnut salad). It was very straight-forward (especially if you use pre-prepared pastry for the crust), and good despite my slightly over-cooking it (it was a little browner than I would have liked, but didn’t taste burnt). The accompanying salad was a winner, too – I’m a fan of fruit in salads – and it was nice and crisp. We’ll be eating left-overs tonight.

Belated Mothers’ Day Celebrations

Last night I made a belated Mothers’ Day dinner, and David and Clare joined mum and me for dinner. Mum requested a stir-fry, so I made a Beef & Broccolini Noodle Stir-Fry. I thought it was OK, although nothing special (I think it would have been improved with a bit of chilli), but David and Clare both liked it enough to request the recipe. I think they liked that it was a relatively straight-forward recipe with left-overs that would reheat well for lunch the following day.

For dessert I made Lemon & Prosecco Cake from the most recent issue of delicious. I substituted cheap sparkling wine for the prosecco, and I thought the resulting cake was a little rubbery – perhaps I over-cooked it? Clare used the remaining cheap bubbly to make mimosas, which she served wearing appropriate glasses.