The good news, is that with this post, we are done with the letter F in the A-Z of Cooking. The chapter heading promises that we will be “Finishing with Flair”. The bad news is that without seeming like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary right from the get go, another F word springs to mind when I consider the contents. Except for these Strawberries in Grand Marnier. They were good! Although how could a combination of fresh sweet strawberries combined with luscious orange liqueur with mint as it’s cheerleader not be delicious?
We’ll get to them later. However, back to Finishing with Flair – we have already mentioned this so called Mango Mousse. The picture of which contains bananas, oranges, passionfruit, eggs and nuts. The recipe below has none of these. The Mango mousse recipe actually sounds really nice. Maybe I am just being a brat for not making it. Then again, if they can’t be arsed putting the right picture with the recipe, what are the chances that recipe will turn out?
That fear of 1977 desserts not being all they were cracked up to be was born out when I made the Continental Chocolate Squares featured on p28. The picture from the A-Z of Cooking is on the left, with the Squares looking rather decadent. Mine are on the right looking a lot more Raggedy Anne. I think I tried to cut them when the chocolate topping was still too hard from being in the fridge and I could not get a nice clean line. Maybe I should have glammed them up by adding some candlelight!
What both of these pictures fail to convey is the overbearing sickly sweetness of the filling. It contained 4 cups of icing sugar which was far too much! I love sweet food but this was way too much for me and prompted the fussiest eater in the world to ask if I was trying to put him into a diabetic coma. It is a shame that the middle layer was awful because the base which was chocolate and walnuts and biscuits was quite nice. It is probably worth someone spending some time on trying to get that filling right because this could have been amazing. I just don’t think that person will be me! Although, now I kind of want to. So maybe it will rear its head in another incarnation down the track.
There was a lovely sounding recipe in this section for French Cherry Fritters. This is the one I would have loved to make but you had to deep fry the fritters and I do not have a deep-fryer. This however is one I am going to:
a) Play around with until I can perfect a baked version
b) borrow a deep-fryer. i think my mum has one.
Until then, it’s Strawberries with Grand Marnier. Adding the mint sugar was an idea I borrowed from Sabrina Ghayour in Persiana. She makes a number of herb sugars to sprinkle over fruit and now it is something I do all the time!
I served this with some white chocolate dipped almond bread which was every bit as delicious as it sounds!
Initially I thought this might be a bit too simple to blog about – soak some strawberries in booze. And done.
And it is very simple. But sometimes that is all you need to finish a meal with flair!
- 1 punnet of strawberries
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- Handful of mint leaves
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- White Chocolate Dipped Almond Bread to serve (optional)
- Halve the strawberries and place in individual serving dishes.
- Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 tbsp of Grand Marnier.
- Leave to stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
- Meantime, make your herb sugar.
- Place your mint and your sugar in the bowl a mortar and grind with your pestle until them mint is finely ground and well combined with the sugar, which will be a lovely green.
- Alternatively, place both in your food processor and whiz until you achieve the same effect
- You could use basil instead of mint. Or a mix of basil and black pepper.
- Any Orange flavoured liqueur could be used instead of Grand Marnier.
- Any left over herb sugar can be used to rim a cocktail glass, or used in place of regular sugar in anything else you are making - I'm thinking lemonade would be amazing.
Coming up we have G is for Good Health. I have actually already made the Cheese & Date Bread from this section so we may skip it altogether as there is not much else to get excited about. So, possibly our next venture into the A-Z will be The Gourmet’s Touch. Ooh la la. Exciting times ahead! Possibly.
Have a wonderful week lovely people and this week, what ever you do, I hope you finish it with flair!