Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lemon Almond Cantuccini (Biscotti)

In North America, we call them biscotti, in Italy and the rest of Europe they're called cantuccini (or cantucci). There was recently a recipe for them in one of the local papers which inspired me to try my hand at them.

This version uses no butter, which means the cookies become very hard and are best eaten dunked is some sweet wine, coffee or tea. They also keep well (if they last so long!).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bakewell Tarts

It's a stupid reason to make tarts, but I was looking for a recipe that uses jam in it. I had some mediocre jam that I wanted to find a use for, without having to put it on my toast. So I thought of a Bakewell Tart, which has a layer of jam under a frangipane filling. But there's a reason for that old adage of using the best ingredients you can. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to ruin a lovely pastry with jam that lacked any kind of decent flavour. Unless I'm struck with a brilliant idea soon, I'm going to throw the stuff out. (Mea culpa, mea culpa!)

I was surprised by the variety of recipes out there for Bakewell tart, especially the number of eggs required. Some of them have so many eggs, it must be more of a custard. I ended up using a recipe from one of my most reliable sources—Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fish Pie

Fish pie is a classic English dish of the comfort food variety—a mashed potato topping over fish in a creamy sauce. As with any classic dish, there are innumerable variations, ranging from the type of fish and type of sauce, the choice of vegetables (if any) and herbs, to the technique (to pre-cook the fish or not).

Most recipes also call for part of the fish to be smoked white fish of some sort, something that is difficult to come by here. You can easily get smoked mackerel, smoked herring, and smoked salmon, but these are oily fish and have such a distinctive flavour (especially smoked salmon) that I don't think they work properly for fish pie.

Fish pie is prone to a number of problems, such as overcooked fish, bland flavour, and colourless appearance, so I've been on a quest for a fish pie that tastes great, uses sustainable and obtainable fish, and retains its character as down-home comfort food.