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Showing posts from November, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

The setting is Edgecombe St. Mary, a sleepy little village in the English countryside. The unlikely hero is Major Pettigrew - old retired Major who sticks to tradition and honor above all else. When he decides to turn tradition on its head and falls in love with a Pakistani widow running the only store in the village, chaos ensues. Helen Simonson's first book - our book club's pick for the month - is thoroughly enjoyable for its quirky characters and funny, almost absurd situations. I ended up being charmed by the Major.

To celebrate one of the best books I've read in a while, I thought up a rather elaborate dessert. It had to be British, and what's more English than a trifle.



The bottom layer is an apple jelly. I knew my other layers will be super sweet so I kept this one fresh and simple. I soaked one gelatin sheet in cold water. Next, I heated 50 ml apple juice. Squeezed out water from the gelatin and added it to the now warm juice. Stirred it around until the gelati…

Balsamic Stuffed Mushrooms

This is one of those perfect appetizers for lazy afternoons or weekend evenings. Start with a packet of button mushrooms. Mine had 15-16 mushrooms. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly, then take off the stems to leave some space in the caps for you to stuff. You can use the stems in a stock if you like (don't be like me and throw them away - they make a great stock).

In a bowl big enough to fit all mushrooms, mix 2 tbsp olive oil, a tbsp of balsamic vinegar and plenty of salt and fresh ground pepper. Whisk until you have an emulsion. Add mushrooms and toss to coat well. Leave these in the fridge until you are ready to cook them, but at least for half an hour.

In the meantime, make the stuffing. Start with 50 grams of paneer (or ricotta if that's what you have). Mash well. Add 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese and 8-10 basil leaves that you have chopped finely. I find that cutting the herbs with scissors is usually much quicker and neater than using any knives. Also add salt to taste bu…