Well, we’ve successfully popped the cherry on my cooking experiment! (Although no cherries were actually involved with this meal.) Friends wisely stayed away from the offer of a mysterious dinner, so I had both husband and child partake. (Child was home from college for the weekend; will probably now not see her until like June, judging by her reaction last night to the meal.)
I decided to start with Turlough’s Rolls, since I made them once before. That once before was 30 years ago, easily, when the book first came out and I thought I would make stuff from it for the other people in the fan co-op I was in. Two problems: I didn’t know really much about cooking then, and I didn’t have a working oven! I used a countertop roaster to stand in for the oven. Perhaps not the best idea. Fortunately, though, most people were put off by the amount of garlic involved. The recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic; I thought that big clump of garlic one buys in the store was a clove. So, these puppies had 4 heads of garlic in them. No wonder they weren’t exactly successful. (Fortunately the meal back then was salvaged by a lot of Jack Daniels and a boozy sponge cake dessert.)
Let me lay the recipe on you.
(from The Doctor Who Cookbook by Gary Downie; recipe provided to the book by Mark Strickson.)
8 thin slices of sirloin beef
8 think slices of ham
4 cloves of garlic
8 think slices of salami
4 oz/113g raisins
2 oz56g parmesan cheese
6 tbs/7 1/2 tbs/120g chopped parsley
1 bottle red wine
If not bought prepared, place each slice of beef between sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten with a rolling pin. (I bought sandwich cut beef, so I didn’t have to do this step.) Cover the beef slices with a slice of ham and spread with crushed garlic.
Finally chop the skinned salami into fine pieces….
…and blend with the cheese, parsley, nutmeg, and oregano. Add the salt and pepper to taste. (You will note the instructions don’t mention anything about what to do with the raisins; considering where the raisins fall in the ingredient list, I decided to chop them up and mix them in with the salami etc.)
Divide this equally over the beef and ham slices.
Fold over the long sides and roll up the slices. Tie the parcels with string. (I used two strings per roll, at the ends.)
Place the rolls in a buttered ovenproof dish, and pour over the wine to cover them. Now leave them for at least two hours, preferably longer. (I oiled the dish instead of buttering it, and only ’cause I was out of Pam.)
Pre-heat the over to about 375°F, 190°C (Gas Mark 5) and cook for 45 minutes, or longer depending on how you like your beef cooked. Serve with a green salad, cols French green beans, with lemon juice and pepper over them, and plenty of garlic bread to mop up the delicious juices.
My personal menu notes:
I opted to go with cooked green beans because, hello, January. Also, the child doesn’t like lemon-flavored anything (except lemonade). I used my now-go-to recipe for dealing with butch vegetables in a short amount of time. Said recipe is: put a scant tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and heat at a medium temperature. Add some chopped garlic and the vegetable, sautee for, oh, 4-5 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water and put the lid on, turning the heat to medium-low. At the five minute mark, check for doneness– if not quite done let it go another minute or two (lid back on). As a group we decided to opt out of the salad, because we already had a lot of food between the rolls, the green beans, the bread, and the forthcoming dessert.
And now… back to cooking!
Once the rolls hit the oven, I worked on dessert.
Winter Fruit Salad
(from The Doctor Who Cookbook by Gary Downie; recipe provided to the book by Sarah Hellings.)
2 tins white peaches (from a good delicatessen) (I substituted 2 15 1/2 oz cans yellow peaches in heavy syrup)
4 large bananas, not too ripe
6 tbs/7 1/2 tbs/114ml dark rum
3 tbs/ 3 3/4 tbs/90g light soft brown sugar
1 oz/28g butter
Chop the fruit into large bite-sized pieces. Put into an ovenproof casserole with half the juice, the rum, and the sugar.
Dot the top with flakes of butter.
Place in the top of a very hot oven (450-500°F, extrapolate from there for your own country) and eat your main course. Serve very hot with very cold thick double cream. (Whipped, if you’re American.)
Gary Downie’s Notes:
In this dish, pears can be substituted for peaches, and a tin of apricots can be added to make it go even further. This is a very simple and economic dessert and is truly mouth-watering. And who cares about the calories? Eat and enjoy!
And Now… the Taste-Testing
Both The Husband and I liked Turlough’s Rolls, although the sauce (being 99% wine and 1% what leaked out from the rolls in the marinating/cooking process) was somewhat boozy in taste. (Too boozy for The Child). Also, the meat turned out a bit dry (probably because the tops of the rolls weren’t covered by the wine). The Child also commented that she found it a little too sweet.
The rum made this dessert taste really boozy, too. The Husband and I agreed that it was ok on its own, but could benefit with being a topper for vanilla ice cream.
My Takeaways From This Round:
I suspect I will be looking up a lot of terms, both in terms of translating from the British and from some of the loosey-goosey specifications given. For example, I had to google what “a very hot oven” means. I know people used to cook like that, generalities over precise measurements, but I’m used to precise. I will also be making a lot of guesses as to what to actually use in the recipes. For example, the Turlough’s Rolls recipe calls for “ham.” Ok, I’ll bite– what kind of ham? And is ham different in the UK than in the US? After some deliberation at the deli counter, I went with a honey smoked ham. (The deli counter was a lot of honey ham, brown sugar ham, black forest ham, and Polish ham.). For the Winter Fruit Salad, I wasn’t going to hit up all the local European markets to find tins (cans) of white peaches in juice instead of syrup. I could have gone with a light syrup, but a lot of them had artifical sweeteners in them, which I’m not going to touch. In general, I suspect the Salad tastes much different in the UK, just because bananas taste so much different in the UK than in the USA.
Next attempt: March 6th, probably, since February will involve a lot of traveling and plays.