On Sunday this blog turned one and, if I'm honest, I didn't start it with much thought of what it would be like to write a blog, or to have people read it, but it's been fun so far and I've encountered some lovely people out there in food blog land so thanks to you all. This monumental (well, to me) day coincided nicely with a meal I had been planning where pudding, or more precisely a galette des roix, was to be the star of the show. I know this is a dish to celebrate epiphany and 13th January is not exactly epiphany but then I am not exactly religious so no need to get hung up on dates.
With a pudding planned involving a huge quantity of eggs, butter, sugar, and puff pastry I decided that light(ish) savoury courses were necessary so Nigella's pea and roast garlic soup with a dollop of creme fraiche to start.
PEA AND ROAST GARLIC SOUP
from 'Real Food' by Nigel Slater
serves 2 (I doubled it for 4)
a head of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
200g frozen peas
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
200ml vegetable or chicken stock, heated
150ml double cream, or to taste (I never use the cream but this time I added a dollop of creme fraiche to each bowl)
Lop the top off the head of garlic; you want to see the tops of the cloves just revealed in cross section. Cut out a square of foil, large enough to make a baggy parcel around the garlic. Sit the garlic in the middle of it and drizzle with the olive oil. Make a loose parcel around the garlic, sealing the edges of the foil. Put in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas 6 for about an hour, until soft.
Cook the peas in boiling salted water as usual. Drain and tip into a food processor, squeeze in the soft cooked cloves of garlic, add the butter and Parmesan and half of the stock. Process to a creamy puree. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the remaining stock. Check the flavour and add cream to taste. Heat gently, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Pleasantly warmed through by the soup I followed this with fondue filled butternut squash served with green salad. On a Saturday afternoon bookshop browse I picked up Annie Bell's 'In My Kitchen' and was immediately drawn to this squash recipe and so, obviously, had to buy the book. I tend to fall back on favourites when I am feeding vegetarians so any appealing new recipe is great. This is delicious, easy, and can be prepared in advance. I'm a big fan of not having much left to do when people arrive so this ticks all my boxes.
Then the main event. This came courtesy of the very well connected Dorie Greenspan. I had a much easier looking Nigella recipe in 'Feast' but decided that if I was making a galette des rois I might as well make it properly so I made the almond cream, worked my non-existent arm muscles making the pastry cream, rolled out the pastry and filled it with the mix, constructed the galette, scored a pattern on the top, cut out a steam hole, and then I realised that I had completely forgotten to insert the feve so it had to be delicately pushed through the steam hole, not ideal.
I was nervous about making this. I am used to baking but this felt like more than a small step towards patisserie, very scary, but Dorie's recipe was simple to follow and has given me a boost of confidence to try some of the more complicated looking recipes from her lovely books. The galette was well risen, buttery and the inside delicious. Four of us polished it off with no difficulty and I was crowned Queen.