Monday, August 18, 2008
Lightning Bolt, Dinner Party and Fanny Cradock
Over the weekend we watched Usain Bolt "stroll" the 100 metres. The Jamaicans have got these races sewn up this year, quite incredible they way they are running. The female runner in the 100 metre did the same thing as Bolt, stopped trying before they got to the end. They could see they had the race wrapped up. Bolt still got a new world record out of it though. I don't know what any of you have available, but if you click here you can find videos of the events. This picture from the International Herald Tribune shows him already relaxing close to the finish line. His specialty is supposed to be the 200 metre which I believe is on TV today. Canada has finally picked up a few more medals and I see the UK have picked up a few too. We are curious at how many British swimmers are actually from Scotland with one from Wales. Don't the English swim any more? We had friends to dinner last night and they brought a bottle of Sangria which we chilled, then poured into a bowl (seem to have lost my pitcher) and added a load of fruit and a dollop of brandy. We drank/ate it with the orange cake which I had made. It was a very good Sangria. My head is aching a bit this morning, I wonder why? I was really pleased with my Turkish Orange Cake, it was one of the best I have made. I even took a picture of it for you all to see. We started with a shrimp cocktail, had a North Carolina type London Broil with goat cheese potato purée and French cut green beans. I have posted all these recipes at one time or another. Over the weekend I started thinking about another dessert cake I used to make many years ago. Don't know if any of my English readers will remember Fanny Cradock, she was one of the first TV cooks and her husband, Johnny, recommended the wines. (Mind you she treated him like dirt). She was always dressed up when she cooked never wore an apron or anything. Obviously most of the prep work was done for her, but she cooked and handled things that I would have wanted to wear an apron for. This picture was from the Daily Mail. Looking for it, I discovered quite a few scathing comments about her, I gather she was not very popular with the people she worked with. Someone also wrote that her cooking was impossible for a home cook. Sorry, I disagree, I made a lot of her recipes. Once you had watched them, it was usually pretty easy to do the same things. I find that with most cooking shows, I might not want to do some of their recipes if I just read them, but seeing it made makes it so much simpler to follow. I made marzipan roses having seen her do it, they are actually very easy and once you have them, you can keep them for a long time properly stored. I used to keep a whole bunch of them and use them for decorating all kinds of desserts. I must admit I haven't made any for years, I read the recipe yesterday and it isn't difficult. Fanny Cradock used to make the marzipan too, but I bought mine, coloured it and then shaped it. I would often make her Gateau L'Ambassadeur (Ambassador's Cake) and decorate the cake with the marzipan roses. The picture shown doesn't have the roses although it does have some around the base of the cake. The picture was borrowed from byhecks.info/Cookies.html Gateau l'Ambassadeur Fanny Cradock 1/2 lb best possible chocolate (70% or higher if you can get it) 3 1/2 oz. sifted icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) 3 tbs double cream (heaviest cream you can get in North America, probably whipping cream) 2 eggs, separated 2 oz peeled grapes 3 tbs kirsch 1 tbs water 3 1/2 oz unsalted butter 3 1/2 oz crumbled petit beurre biscuits (cookies) Place biscuits in a small bowl, add kirsch and leave to infuse. Place water and chocolate in a small, thick pan and dissolve over a low heat. Stir well until quite smooth, then remove from heat. Cut the butter into small flakes and stir into the chocolate until completely dissolved. Add the egg yolks and beat until mixture is again smooth. Stir in the sugar, blend thoroughly, add stiffly whipped egg whites and beat (I would have thought fold, but she says beat) them in until they vanish. Add the soaked biscuits and grapes. Finally add the cream. Turn into a 5" oiled, sliding-based cake tin, being careful to line the base with a fitting circle of oiled greaseproof (waxed) paper. Refrigerate until set, turn out, remove paper and garnish. Have a great day.