Vol.35 Meals

Hi there!

I haven’t used that greeting in forever. In any case, hello again. Needless to say, I failed to send the menu out before the end of the week. The packed lunch catering job on Thursday and Friday kept me very busy, slightly stressed and full of learnings and quite a bit of pride. But enough about me…how are you? I hope you’ve been well fed but have also missed my food terribly and are keen to order. I’ve got a bunch of returning characters this week followed by a new fresh dish and a spectacular dessert.

Let’s have a looksie at Vol.35!

Trying something new with this Food letter. I’m pretty sure that all of you are familiar with this week’s frozen offerings. So the recaps for the frozen meals are all from previous food letters:

Cheeseburger patty with sweet potato wedges – this excerpt from the Vol.21 Food LetterThe beef mince is flavoured with fresh parsley, a red onion, some mild chilli powder and of course the gorgeous mature cheddar that makes up the “cheese part” of the cheeseburger. They are great patties that fry really well – even directly from frozen (just lower the temperature, cover and fry for longer). They stay moist, you get little bits of molten cheese. Basically, do yourself a favour and get a couple. My sweet potato wedges are inspired by years of loving roast potatoes, getting into the habit of flavouring with whatever spices I’m keen on, and making large amounts so that I can have seconds…or thirds. So, these are my own creation. The wedges are tossed in olive oil, plenty seasoning and spices – sometimes chilli flakes, sometimes not. It’ll be a surprise!

Spicy mushroom lasagna – this last made an appearance on the Vol.26 menu. Let’s see what wise words I had to say about the dish back then – I hope everyone has tried this one by now. Because it really is phenomenal. It’s one of Ottolenghi’s recipes so it’s a little fiddly – but that’s for my enjoyment. What you get is layers of fresh egg pasta, cream and pecorino cheese and then the most gorgeous mushroom ragu. The ragu is made by sweating down finely chopped onion, carrots and garlic. Then you add some tomatoes and tomato paste and roasted mushrooms. It gets fried until it’s all a little crispy and brown – ie. EXTRA flavour. To make it more of a sauce you then add some vegetable stock and dried porcini stock and a dash of cream. Once the lasagna is assembled and baked the flavour of the ragu is just multiplied by 1000 – seriously, you have to try this lasagna. 👌

Wise words Past Jess. This lasagna is BOSS!!!

Any Turk and JD fans in the audience?

Cheese, courgette and honey kataifi pie – You last heard about this one back on Vol.23. Shall we find out what I wrote? – This is one you’re all familiar with by now. Another truly special veggie revelation. Three types of cheese – ricotta, halloumi and kaseri are combined with courgettes and kataifi pastry in a pie dish. Last time I decided to add another type of Greek/Cypriot sheep/goat’s milk cheese – Kefalotyri and it was fantastic. The smell as it baked was so good. So, I’m definitely going to add it again. The combination of the strong cheese, some crunchy walnuts, the sweet honey and a sprinkle of thyme really makes this one of my favourites. It’s just a wonderful blend of flavours, textures and smells. Couldn’t recommend it more. *makes mental note to add that other cheese again 😉

 On to the fresh dishes. The first you’ve had before. The second is a newbie!

Cauliflower roasted in chilli butter with herby giant couscous – This was from the Chilli Heat section of Flavour (remember when I was cooking my way through the book?) In any case, I put it back on the menu because I found some really good-looking cauliflower the other day. And so, it’s time for some cauliflower love. Let take a trip back to Vol.19 so see what I wrote: The cauliflower quarters are coated in a mixture of butter, olive oil, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, chilli flakes, harissa paste and garlic. And then they’re roasted for over an hour. That is actually all I wrote about the dish. The rest of the paragraph was just about how great roast cauliflower is. I stand by it though; roast cauliflower is flippin’ amazing!! The herby giant couscous is going to be flavoured with rocket, mint, preserved lemon and za’atar!

Toasted orzo with spinach and dill yoghurt with chopped salad – This is a completely new dish. My little sister is away so I’ve borrowed another of her cookbooks – this one is Falastin. By Sami Tamimi. The Palestinian counterpart to the Israeli Yotam Ottolenghi. The book is a beautiful exploration of Palestinian food and life. Maybe I should do another cook through…? In any case, this dish is a fairly simple one filled with wonderful flavours. Orzo is a type of pasta that looks like biggish grains of rice. For this recipe it’s toasted in olive oil then mixed back in with fried onion and wilted spinach before the whole lot is boiled until the pasta is cooked. In goes the fresh coriander and a dollop of dill yoghurt spiked with fresh chilli and lemon juice. The salad I’ve also sourced from Falastin. Tomato, red pepper, cucumber, spring onion, fresh chilli, garlic and parsley and mint. Everything chopped finely and mixed together with some olive oil and lemon juice. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Both fresh dishes have a real middle eastern vibe this week. I hope you don’t mind too much.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – So this is a really ambitious one. Like really ambitious. I’ve been baking from Die Gute Küche (my Austrian food bible) for quite some time. It’s one of those recipe books that assumes you already know how to make the dish. There’s very rarely a picture and usually only about 8 lines of text for the recipe. Now this torte is something special. It comes both with a one-page step-by-step series of photos of the various stages of making the Torte. And a full *THREE* paragraphs of texts about the Torte. Full disclosure – I’ve never really eaten one of those Black Forest cakes from a supermarket bakery. I know that they’re covered in whipped cream and chocolate shavings and they have those glacé cherries for each slice. This torte is NOT that cake. This is THE OG! Let me lay it out for you: The soft chocolate sponge (pretty much the same that’s used for the Sachertorte) is sliced into three. Three rings of “Pariser Crème” are piped onto the bottom layer. What is Pariser Crème? Chocolate is melted in hot cream. Then cooled. Then whipped into stiff peaks 😱. The space between the piped rings is filled with vanilla-Sauerkirschen (sour cherries) mixture. Then the second layer of cake goes on top. That’s followed by a layer of cherry jam. Next up is the cream filling. It’s not just whipped cream. It’s vanilla pudding, mixed with the juice from the jar of sour cherries, stiffened with gelatine and then folded into whipped cream. The final layer of cake is placed on top and then it has to be cooled for three hours. Finishing touches are covering the entire cake with whipped cream and sprinkling it with chocolate shavings. Like I said, it’s ambitious. But I’m ready for it. Building that Austrian Cake repertoire one delicious (and complicated) cake at a time!

It’s now 27min past midnight which seems like a good time to finish up. I hope you see some meals you like and decide to order.

Now that you’ve read all about the meals, why not order!?