Sunday, 19 May 2013

Recipe XCIX - Apple-Vanilla-Mascarpone Dessert

I'm now on my 99th recipe. This has been a fabulous adventure for me to attempt to cook a different meal at least once a fortnight, but on average every eight or nine days. This one is so easy and yet fulfilling to make and a remarkable crowd-pleaser. You need a good hour for this, but it'll be worth it.

5 apples
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (approx)
4 tablespoons of white sugar (approx)
1 carton of ordinary dessert cream
1 tub of mascarpone
3 eggs
2 vanilla pods
A handful of speculoos biscuits but shortcrust will do
A spoonful of cinnamon

An electric whisk
A blender

Cut up the apples and put them in water and tip some brown sugar over them. Some remove the skins, but I leave them on as I like a nice zesty tang to my apple purée.

Put the biscuits in a blender and give them a whiz until they're pulverised. Put them aside until later.

Take the cream, eggs and mascarpone and fold them into each other. Add the white sugar (to your own tastes) and empty the vanilla pods into it by cutting down the centre from one end to the other and scooping the vanilla out with a teaspoon. Then get the electric whisk and turn it into a creamy substance.

Meanwhile, get half the apples and scoop them out of the water and into a blender. Whiz it up until it turns to pulp. Put them in a bowl to cool.

With the other half, add some cinnamon and blend it to a pulp. So below you see the difference. The one on the right I am saving for my roast pork later, and the one on the left is going further in this story. Put it in the fridge for a while first though.

Spoon very carefully some apple purée into the bottom of a glass and smooth it down to a flat surface either with a spoon, or by gently swirling the glass. Add the mascarpone layer after this, and then the biscuit crumbs.

Use various sizes of glass depending on who they are intended for.

You can do the same thing with other fruits, such as raspberries, pineapple or blackcurrants. The vanilla would be an unnecessary, depending what you choose.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Recipe XCVIII - Hungarian Paprika Chicken

A part of the world brimming with culture and tradition, from the cowboy-like farmers of the Puszta plains past the talented Gipsy musicians enchanting Budapest to the noble rot winemakers of Tokaj, Hungary is a country that makes central Europe that little bit more like an ancestral homeland. What the locals speak of course, is incomprehensible: surrounded by Slavic and Germanic language speakers, Hungarian is from the incomprehensible Finno-Ugric strain and subtitlers give the Chinese a run for their money in one of the TV and film world's most thankless professions. Which may explain why they dub everything. And why, quite bafflingly, only 35% of Hungarians speak a foreign language. Nevertheless, when I was there, I found the food to be sensational, even if I needed to point at other diners' plates to get what I wanted.
This dish is one of the easiest and most delicious things you will ever cook, and you should immediately go out and buy the ingredients.

2 dessertspoonfuls of paprika*
1 dessertspoonful of plain flour*
1 large pinch of Cayenne pepper*
10 crushed peppercorns*
600g chicken breast
5-7 ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 onions, chopped
1 red or green pepper, cut into strips
1 pot of sour cream
300ml chicken stock
Some odourless oil
*Put these ingredients in a pot and mix thoroughly together

Put the chicken in a high-sided frying pan and fry until sealed. Add the onions, and stir up until they release their aroma. Sprinkle liberally all the spices over the meat and onions and mix well.

Add the tomatoes and crush them to release their juices. 

Pour over the chicken stock before the ingredients stick to the bottom, add the peppers and simmer with the lid on for up to 2 hours.

Just before you serve, pour sour cream into it and stir to form a marbled effect.

Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.