I thought that one of the best ways to start off the postings would be to do one about the experiments that have already taken place. I am leaving some things out as I will come back and post longer things about them including recipes and anecdotes. Also, I don't have pictures of everything cooked or baked so far, and some of the pictures I do have are rather bad quality as they were taken spur of the moment on my phone. However, here is a collection of some of the things tried and tested in Our Lovely Flat (tm).
Vegetarian sausage rolls! We had some ready-rolled puff pastry kicking about in the fridge and a freezer full of veggie sausages. "Hmm," I pondered, "I wonder if I could make vegetarian sausage rolls?" Oh yes I could! They have now become a regular and very much appreciated packed-lunch treat.
Stollen. When Christmas rolled around I was already becoming determined to be more self-sufficient in the kitchen, and so began the arduous process of making stollen. It was rather more intricate and time consuming than I had anticipated (that'll teach me to dive in with the mixing bowl before reading the recipe through!), however the results were in fact lovely, and very rewarding. It was especially so as I managed to adapt the recipe (something I have an almost obsessive tendency to do, as you will discover the more you read) so that the second loaf didn't include marzipan and was thus N-friendly! (he hates marzipan)
Christmas inevitably means over stocking up the kitchen, and when I discovered that I had bought rather more mincemeat than we needed, and just couldn't face weeks and weeks of mince pies I wasn't sure what to do. Fortunately Abel and Cole had provided us with a glut of lovely apples. The result were the above; spiced apple wholemeal oat-topped breakfast muffins (rather bland and disappointing as it turned out) and the apple and mincemeat tartlets topped with pecans (very tasty indeed). Ah, what lovely leftover solutions.
Chili chocolate merengues. Perhaps one of the things I have tried that I've been most pleased with. I was a bit nervous about them, having never made merengues before, and having whisked them by hand (and nearly losing my arm in the process as it was such hard work!). However, they couldn't have worked out better, even if I say so myself. Perfectly crisp on the outside so providing a satisfying crack as you bit into them, only to reveal a delicious chewy centre with just a hint of melted chili chocolate (another left over from tree decorations!). They were served with mango that was chopped with ginger and cranberries. Mmmm.
Roasted vegetable tarts. Another recipe of pretty much my own invention, the aim of which was to use up more puff pastry that was hanging around in the fridge. I was stuck for an idea for dinner and decided to take advantage of the peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes and left over goats cheese and the nice tart/quiche dishes Mum had donated to the North London Kitchen cause. The result: one large roasted vegetable and cheese tart (which we ate for dinner with salad) and four mini-tarts with sweet potato and red onion that was a nice change for packed lunches.
It was soon after the above experiments that one day, whilst pottering about in town, N and I finally came up with our new years resolutions and so began (a little late) what should be a year of exciting food exploration.