Thursday, 25 February 2010

A short season of Delia Smith

Recently on BBC iplayer we've been watching Delia Through The Decades - a retrospective of Delia Smith's career in TV cookery. It inspired me to dig out my Delia Smith cookbooks and see how the recipes have stood the test of time. It's been cold and wet, with slushy snow and sleet for the last couple of weeks, so I gravitated to the Winter Collection and particularly the chapter on casseroles! I bought a Casserole Box from the Well Hung Meat Company and set about converting the meat into delicious meals - so my recipe selection was partly dictated by the cuts in the box.

First up was the pork stroganoff with three kinds of mustard, using the diced pork. Instead of grainy mustard I used some fancyschmance sun-dried tomato mustard that I got in a Christmas hamper. I also subbed buttermilk for the creme fraiche because it is a third of the price, and added some dried porcini mushrooms because they are delicious. Sadly, this is a very beige plate, because when I cut into the red cabbage that I intended to braise, I discovered that it was in fact a green cabbage with red outer leaves. So I stirfried the shredded cababge with onions and apples and seasoned it with nutmeg. So aesthetically speaking this is a fail, but for flavour a definite win.

Then came Braised Steak au Poivre - a slow-cooked variation on a French pepper steak. My only real variation in this one was to use a mixture of black and fresh green peppercorns. Again, it won't win any beauty contests - although serving it with gratin dauphinoise made things worse - but the flavour was excellent. The braising steak became tender and even though there is only a small amount of cream in it, it tasted very rich and decadent.

With the diced beef from the casserole box, I made Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa. This was the only one of the recipes I'd made before, so I knew it was good. Unfortunately the supermarket substituted a small can of red kidney beans for my 500g bag of dried black turtle beans, so the chilli wasn't as beany as I like and didn't have the luscious purple colour that the black beans give. But the flavour was excellent and the fresh, cool salsa is such a nice contrast in temperature and texture.

Lastly, the lamb neck fillet was crying out to become Irish Stew with Crusted Dumplings. I only used neck fillets, rather than a mixture of fillets and cutlets, and I cheated and bought suet dumplings - I can get suet dumplings from supermarket for less than the ingredients to make them. So because my dumplings didn't have parsley in them, I added some dried thyme to the seasoned flour. I made this on Tuesday night, while my spaghetti sauce was simmering for that night's dinner, then added the dumplings and finished it off in the oven last night, so even though it has a long cooking time, it wasn't at all arduous. This one will definitely be made again - somehow I hadn't realised that lamb and barley and dumplings are three of Paul's favourite foods, and together they had him in raptures.

I'm now inspired to go through more of my cookbooks, to see what treasures I have missed, or forgotten!



21 comments:

kat said...

I can see why he liked that lamb stew so much, it sounds woderful

Johanna said...

I love Delia Smith. She is such a great cookbook writer and her recipes always work. I find that old -fashioned recipes are fantastic comfort food for cold weather, although they don't always photograph well :-)

Foodycat said...

Kat - it was! The lamb neck is such sweet, succulent meat.

Jo - this TV series really showed that. It showed her getting a letter saying that a dish didn't work and her re-testing it in about 3 different ovens to check! Very reliable.

A Year on the Grill said...

wow... what a great effort from you packaged foods!

You are right, all tough to photograph, but really tasty looking... comfort foods all. This is a terrific post, with lots of extra details to make an average dish special

well done

George Gaston said...

Delia has a great style in her cooking and all of these recipes sound marvelous.

What a great way to go back through some of your favorite cookbooks!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

That braised steak is calling to me. Delicious!
I have heard of Delia Smith, but haven't seen her.

HH said...

They all sound great FC! Ashamedly, I have never cooked anything from Delia.

Foodycat said...

Dave - probably heartier fare than you are needing in the Virgin Islands right now!

George - I'd reached a point where I hardly ever cooked out of a book any more!

Natashya - see if you can find some of her clips on youtube. She's very Mary Poppins and sensible.

HH - I'll send you the chocolate truffle torte recipe. I think it's a good place for you to start!

Debinhawaii said...

Mmm...all four dishes look amazing. I have tried a couple of Delia Smith's recipes and really liked them.

HH said...

Oh thanks FC! That does sound like an excellent place for me to start!

Foodycat said...

Deb - they are reliable!

HH - you will love it. I guarantee!

Sook said...

Oh I don't know who Delia Smith is but am going to look her up on internet. :) Everything looks great!

Joie de vivre said...

Foodycat, oh how I have missed your blog!

Catherine said...

Ooooh, this looks so delicious!

Chef Aimee said...

The pork stroganoff with three mustards looks phenomenal!

mscrankypants said...

I remember first seeing Delia on TV snipping her salad greens with scissors and measuring the height of her scones with rulers before placing them in the oven. I was scared of her but equally impressed by her confidence and conversational style.

Her vegetarian cookery book is a staple of my bookshelf (not often because most recipes are laden with really excellent cheese) and her how-to-cook books will stand the test of time, I think -- they're great references.

Heather said...

The pork stroganoff looks amazing. I always forget about stroganoff! I should go through my freezer, see what I uncover.

Foodycat said...

Sook - she's a British national treasure!

Amanda - hello! Thanks for dropping by!

Catherine - thank you!

Aimee - it was a really delicious dish, I definitely recommend it.

Cranky - oh yes, I remember the scone measuring! Not my sort of thing. But the recipes are very good.

Heather - I keep forgetting about stroganoff too, and I don't know why because I love all the elements.

The Cat's Mother said...

not many casseroles are colourful. That is one of the things that makes Delia's black bean chilli so wonderful.

What cut of meat did you use for the pepper steak?

grace said...

i think the black and red bean chili would be a winner with me, although the mustardy pork sounds great too. i could care less about aesthetics! now, where can i procure some sun-dried tomato mustard?

Foodycat said...

Mother - it was just labelled "braising steak"

Grace - Australia! It was in an Australian food hamper.

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