Tuesday 29 December 2009

Cooking up a storm

In true Christmas tradition my folks are coming for lunch today. Given that Rich and I don't have a turkey for just the two of us there are no left-overs so there is no turkey salad or turkey curry on the menu. I have opted instead for a casserole - I like these as they can be cooked in advance and left to their own devices whilst I sit and talk with my family. Not a traditional casserole though... it is a 'far-eastern' version with lots of ginger, garlic and spring onions... must remember to take the star-anise out before serving!

I also made a couple of chilled desserts. One which was quite simple was strawberries and meringues with whipped cream. This year I had no delusions about hand whipping the cream and went straight in with the electric whisk - which still took long enough. Slightly more complicated was the 'no-cook' lime cheescake. It promised a fifteen minute preparation time... ha! Not so much. Discounting the five minutes looking for something to zest the limes it still took well over forty minutes. Presumably the fifteen minutes is if you have someone who has prepared all the ingredients for you!

My biggest trauma was zesting the limes. I don't own a zester... this is the first occasion I've ever even needed one. My initial plan was to rub the limes against a fine grater. Not successful - the zest got stuck in amongst the grates and vanished. All I succeeded in doing was grating my knuckles. Next I tried a vegetable peeler. Not effective as I then had to finely slice the peel. I finally hit on the (if I say so myself) genius idea of running the blade of a serrated knife (I used a steak knife) over the lime. Finally... success - just keep your fingers away from the edge of the fruit!

I'll try and get round to publishing the recipes or links to them and some photos later. Having prepared the food I have to prepare me - I cook in a hair-net and pyjamas... very attractive!