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It took me years to figure out that you don’t fall into a tub of butter, you jump for it.
~ Claudette Colbert

All good things start with butter it seems… so, this evening’s recipe was:

#6 Kourapiedes – Page 135

Butter, sugar, egg, etc… brandy substituted with rum + kahlua… sticky, gooey, sticky.

Browned in the oven, they then played in the icing sugar like frolicking dolphins…

Tessa Kiros said they melt in your mouth… well, she’s right. They do. :-)

Best eaten with hands

Drunken crispy salt & pepper baby chicken with Chinese mushrooms, lotus seed & sticky rice; dipping sauces on the side. Restaurant 88… mmm.

Restaurant 88 – 88 Tory Street, Wellington – Phone 04 385 9088

In which my family came to dine

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

This post won’t be a long one, since I am very sleepy!

My family drove down today to stay for the weekend :-) Naturally, I thought a good dinner was necessary. It was also the perfect opportunity, I thought, to try 4 recipes from “Falling Cloudberries” tonight! Remind me never to be so ambitious again… I started at 4pm and was still rushing along at 7! (Luckily it was mostly fun! Plus we got to shop at MOORE WILSON’S :-)

On the menu tonight were:

#2 Tzatziki (Yoghurt, Cucumber, Garlic & Mint Dip) – Page 76
#3 Stuffed Eggplants – Page 117
#4 Spanakopita – Page 153
#5 Baklava with Nuts & Dried Apricots – Page 129

… along with 5-grain sourdough with dukkah, olive oil + balsamic vinegar, barbequed lamb, mini stuffed red peppers, and vanilla ice-cream as extras.
And: Dad’s red wine
And: Matt’s coffee with Kahlua

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, but you are dooooomed if you try cooking all by yourself (if you are me). I owe tonight’s successful dinner to good help. For instance, Ben shelled pistachios and Matt manned the barbeque + washed dishes along the way. The afternoon rolled along in a whirl of squeezing cucumbers, de-fleshing eggplants, breathing in the scent of tomatoes + garlic, making filo triangles, drizzling syrup over the nut & apricot baklavas…

What I love so far about Tessa Kiros’s book is the way love + family just seem to consume every page of her beautiful book… and how her recipes involve simple things like cucumber, Greek yoghurt, tomatoes – so average people like me can follow them. I also like how her recipes require time and effort, but in perfect amounts so you don’t look at them and despair before you even begin. And she sure makes good food!

So we didn’t have a big enough dining table, so my family, Matt and Tim had to sit on chairs/couches and balance plates on our laps and put glasses on the floor – but it was fun nevertheless…

And now, one warm shower later, I’m sleepy, and my hands still smell faintly of garlic and almonds (kind of eeky and gross, but cool too).

Wow, this post sure got long. Bonne nuit x

Lemon & Oregano Chicken

Today I went in to Borders at lunch time and emerged $82.50 poorer, but with “Falling Cloudberries” by Tessa Kiros clutched triumphantly under my right arm.

So… here we go, I guess? This is the book I am going to be cooking through*:

falling cloudberries

#1 Lemon & Oregano Chicken – Page 106

One sunny walk home later, I made a spur of the moment decision to commence my cook-through project this evening.

Lemon and oregano chicken, and sauteed potatoes. OK. But oops! The potatoes did not look too healthy, and we didn’t have a whole chicken! So I decided to cook a modified version of the bird (with tenderloin strips) and penne with grilled vegetables (not in the book) instead.

High heat + grilled vegetables. Penne in a generous pot of gently salted water. A quick sauce of chopped garlic, basil + parsley. Chicken drizzled with fresh lemon, butter, salt, pepper. There is something therapeutic about cooking… I’m not sure what it is. Suffice to say it was a very satisfying process cutting, peeling, smelling.

The chicken turned out just a little crispy on the outside, and teasing on the tongue in lemony, salty, cheeky winks. Verdict? Delicious without being too complex. Will attempt again, maybe with a whole chicken next time. :-)

* Cook-through? What?