January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve

New Years Eve always means dinner for 8 at our place. Everyone brings a course so I just have to cook the main. I decided to do lamb in the outdoor electric kettle barbecue, using Karen Martini's recipe for roasted boned leg of lamb with basil, lemon, almond, oregano and garlic from her Where the heart is. I hadn't made it before but everything from the book has turned out really well so I was confident it would be ok.

I marinated the lamb legs overnight in zip-lock bags and let them come to room temperature before roasting. They took about 1 1/2 hours to cook, and the result was delicious and meltingly tender.

I've been wanting to try roast potatoes in duck fat a la Nigella for ages, but couldn't find duck fat anywhere. I finally found some at the local poultry shop and made little roast potato cubes. Maybe not so healthy but they were crispier than done in oil and had a lovely flavour. (Note: I later remembered Nigella uses goose fat. It's Nigel Slater who uses duck fat. I'll keep a lookout for goose fat to try.)

I've just reread Julian Barnes' The pedant in the kitchen. This hilarious book is perfect for anyone who loves to cook, and particularly for those who, like me, collect and read cookbooks with a passion. One of the funniest chapters "No, I won't do that" is about the River Cafe Cook Book's (extravagant - 10 eggs!) Chocolate Nemesis, and the disasters that ensued when it was made by amateur cooks. This, says Julian Barnes, lead to the "paranoid explanation ...that some key element of the recipe had deliberately been omitted, thereby driving customers back to the (River Cafe) restaurant for the authentic item."

I made a version of Chocolate Nemesis for a NYE dinner a few years ago from a recipe in a delicious magazine. From what I can remember it was pretty straight forward and turned out fine, so perhaps it was not exactly the same as the original recipe. In the book Julian Barnes goes on to say that when River Cafe Easy was published, the Chocolate Nemesis recipe was halved and the cooking time altered considerably. I wanted to try out this "easy" version, but as our dessert was being brought by someone else, Georgie and I thought we'd make it for her own NYE dinner party. Here's the recipe .

I didn't get to try it but Georgie's guests apparently loved it. No-one took a photo of it once it was cut...hopefully it looked something like this picture of the delicious version!

New Year's Eve was a double celebration as it was the Beautiful Bridesmaid's 60th birthday on Christmas day. So of course, a good excuse for cupcakes! Happy birthday Jen.

And a very, very Happy New Year to all!


Pinky said...

glad you liked my xmas feast! It was a bit crazy but worth it. Re your crispy potatoes: you can get nigella's goose fat in jars at good delis. It's a bit expensive but at least you can get it. Are you in Brisbane?

cakestorm said...

No - Melbourne. Didn't realise it was marketed under her name. Have yet to try the Essential Ingredient so must check there for it - thanks!

cin said...

yep, essential ingredient definitely has it and so will simon johnson. love the cupcakes!

Pinky said...

sorry, just to clarify... Not under Nigella's name: I can't remember its brand but its in a big pale yellow jar. I'm sure you will find it... and let us know how it goes!

Jude said...

Thanks Cin - will check it out next week. Don't see how it could taste better than the duck fat - am totally addicted to it!! Love your blog which i've been reading for ages but not got around to adding - have just done so.