Monday, 9 April 2007

An Expanding Easter


Easter Monday evening, and another indulgent holiday weekend is almost over. And already I am fatter for it. A self-confessed chocolate fiend, I have eaten my fair share of it this past week alone. Not an egg has been spared my charms; cheap and nasty to dark and luxurious, they have all entered my new home and never been seen again. Any search parties looking for a missing egg only have to look at the evidence on my expanding gut to see where their fate has ended. Do I feel guilty? Of course not. Christmas and Easter are both the same when it comes to eating and drinking in my world. Enjoy it now and sort out the consequences later.

The weekend hasn’t been all about gorging on cheap cocoa and sugar laden treats. With friends staying for the weekend, I have been able to christen my kitchen with a fair share of good home cooking. On Saturday it was a sharp and crisp Panzanella salad to start things off with. Some tender and more some Orkney Gold beef fillet was topped with a wild mushroom crust and partnered by some crisp pan fried potatoes and a little wilted spinach. After a doorstep of meat I wanted to keep the dessert light and sharp.

With an excess of lemons to use up, I made a cracking dessert which is another simple delight. A little whipped cream and yoghurt combined with a sharp and zesty lemon syrup was complimented perfectly with a crunchy almond praline. It was one of those moments of discovery that made me happy to be such a food obsessive. Stupidly simple, amazingly flavoursome and a welcome break from the chocolate. Of course, a cheap egg was smashed and snaffled as the evening wore on, but memories of my lovely little pudding remained long in the memory. Saying that, a long run is on the cards tomorrow…

Lemon and Almond Praline Creams
To feed 4

300ml double cream
250ml yoghurt
100g sugar
Juice of 3 lemons and zest of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk

For the praline
2 handfuls of blanched almonds
125g sugar

1 – To make the praline, heat the sugar with a tablespoon of water until melted. Add the almonds, and then cook on a very low heat until caramelised. Pour onto a buttered plate until set, then pulse in a food processor or pummel in a plastic bag until you have small pieces of praline.
2 – Heat the lemon juice, zest and sugar in a small pan until you have a syrup. Allow to cool then beat in the egg yolk.
3 - Whisk the double cream until stiff. Fold in the yoghurt and lemon syrup then finally the praline. Pour into ramekins and place in the fridge for a good hour.
4 – Serve on their own or with biscuits such as almond thins.

1 comment:

Jay said...

David, I have been peeking in here ever since MCGL, along with a few of the other contestant's blogs. I'm no cook, I'm in fact one of the people who has been reliant on processed foods for a long time. Your recipes and ideology about food are really making me question my poor habits in the kitchen. Every time you get all poetic over asparagus, sausages, mushrooms, custard, whatever it is, it slowly chips away at my processed heart. One day soon I'm gonna crack and give real cooking a proper go. I just want to say: Please keep going. People like me represent your biggest challenge, but we are also the ones who need you most. There is an element of fear and uncertainty about buying fresh produce when you don't know what to do with it, and you usually end up chucking half of it in the bin 2 weeks later. The more you keep stressing how good it tastes, how simple it is, and how much better for you it is, the more us junkies will be likely to try again. Thanks heaps.