Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine's Day - # 28 & 29

I've been a bit poor recently with the upkeep of this blog, so I'll start with Valentine's Day - least Thursday. If there's Grigsons for special occasions one simply has to make them. So it was a choice between Sweetheart Cake or Valentine's Day Syllabub; I went with the latter. The Grigson suggested making Elegant Sugar Thins to go with. The process for both required some prep the day before. For the syllabub add a splash of white wine, a good squeeze of lemon juice plus the grated zest, a dash of brandy and a big tablespoon of honey to a bowl and leave to infuse. For the bikkies, I simply made the mixture and let it firm up in the fridge shaped into a sausage. There were three - yes count them, three - options for the flavoring; lemon, vanilla or cinnamon. I went with vanilla, as I am loving it the moment after the rice pudding I did last week. The mixture was a basic biscuit one really - I really should find out how much of the Grigson's recipes I can put in the blog without getting done... I only needed about a third of the mixture for the next day, so I've frozen the rest.

On the day, it was pretty straight forward: pour in a small tub of double cream into the lemony mixture and whip up. Place in two wine glasses and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. The Sugar Thins needed slicing very thinly and then sprinkled with sugar. They took only 7 minutes to cook in a hot oven.

For the main course I made chilli baked eggs - a recipe from another excellent book - Leiths Vegetarian Bible. This book is excellent - the recipes are all of such high quality. Most of the hundreds of recipes are traditional and not hippy cuisine at all.

All-in-all Greg and I had a lovely romantic evening, filling our faces and drinking wine as you can see by the photo - I do apologise for the depressing background of drying washing and part-built kitchen cabinets...

FYI: noone really knows who St Valentine was,and it may be a day that celebrates several saints all called Valentine. Also, the association with love and romance seems to have been completely made up as part of a story by Chaucer. I am officially a font of all knowledge...

#28 Valentine's Day Syllabub: 5/10. When I first started eating it I thought it was lovely, but then the wine and brandy made it too rich and bitter for me. I'd have preferred it with just honey and lemon methinks!

#29 Elegant Sugar Thins: 8/10. Lovely delicate, sweet, crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth. I'm so glad I've made a big stash of the mixture in the freezer!
Greg says:
#28 Valentine's Day Syllabub: 6.5/10. I think I liked this more than Neil did, he doesn’t really like boozy foods though. As usual however we tried to eat too much of it, but I think if you got a little egg cup’s worth in a fancy-pants restaurant you’d appreciate it much more. WHEN NEIL GETS A BLOODY DINING TABLE HINT HINT then we can share the wealth a little more. Are you listening?? Any road, the bitterness is nicely offset by these: #29 Elegant Sugar Thins: 8/10. Ooh I like a good thin, me: butter, lemon, cheese or sugar, you names it, I likes it. You could just sit and eat these all night with a brew in fact, they’re like a really classic sweet little biscuit from your Gran’s ‘parlour’. Muchos yum.

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