Sunday, January 2, 2011

Refrigeration celebration

My new fridge was delivered on New Year's Day: unexpectedly early, since I'd been told there would be a wait of about ten days. I wasn't complaining though - I'd had quite enough of constantly replenishing the ice that was keeping my ham and yoghurt cold! To celebrate, I picked out a dinner menu entirely comprised of dishes that require refrigeration.

The first dish to make was marinated raw fish (p115). That may sound a bit exotic for the humble old Edmonds book, but I assure you it's in there. I chopped a tarakihi fillet into bite-sized pieces, then left it in the fridge to marinate in lemon juice and salt.

I also wanted a salad to go with my fish. I chose mushroom salad (p177), not because I thought it would go with the fish particularly, but because it required a fair bit of chilling, in accordance with my theme for the day. The salad consisted of thinly sliced mushroom, spring onion and parsley, left to marinate for a couple of hours in a French dressing.

Finally, I chose myself a dessert. The 'cold desserts' chapter abounds with gelatine-based puddings, most of which I have not yet attempted. I chose Spanish cream (p205), pretty much at random from among these. It's a pudding made from milk, egg, sugar and gelatine, so it's fairly similar to a custard.

You begin by beating the egg yolk with sugar, adding milk, and heating the mixture over a double-boiler. You're supposed to do this until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. I'm not a big fan of this kind of instruction - I'd much rather just be given a length of time to keep stirring for. I'm always unsure of just what the coated spoon should look like. After all, it sort of coats it right from the beginning, and doesn't thicken up very much no matter how long you heat it for.

In any case, I finally decided that the spoon was coated enough, and took the custard mixture off the heat. At this point, you add vanilla essence and melted gelatine, then put it in thre fridge to chill. Once it had set to an egg white-like consistency, I folded the custard through beaten egg white, then poured it into a mould (in my case, a bowl) and put it back in the shiny new fridge to set.

When the fish had been marinating for a few hours, I brought it out of the fridge, drained off the lemon juice and added finely chopped onion and some coconut milk. Then it was just a matter of serving it up with chopped tomato and cucumber on top, and of course, some of my mushroom salad on the side.

I wasn't sure if I would like the fish, but actually I found it quite pleasant to eat. The marinating had made it lovely and soft in texture, and it didn't taste at all fishy, the main flavours being coconut milk and the vegetables served with it. It was a bit optimistic of me to think I could eat all of it in one serving - I've had to put the rest back in the fridge where I hope it'll keep till tomorrow.

The mushroom salad was quite nice, though very heavy on the parsley, which was in both the salad and the dressing. If I made it again, I'd use less. I couldn't really taste the mushrooms themselves, since they'd taken on the flavour of the dressing. But it was nice to have a salad that's a bit different.

When I'd finished my main, I took out the Spanish cream and removed it from the mould. It didn't come out perfectly, but not too bad. I had some leftover cherries from the cheesecake so I turned some of them into a sauce to go with the pudding.

Unlike previous forays into gelatine-based desserts, this one was a success. I might be getting the hang of this at last! In flavour, the Spanish cream tasted pretty much like an egg custard - which, really, is exactly what it is. The diffrence is in the texture: because of the egg white it's light and fluffy, which is more appealing for a Summer dessert than a stodgy custard! This one is definitely worth trying.

So there you have it: my celebration of once again having reliable refrigeration. And long may it last - I've still got plenty more salads and cold desserts to do!


  1. Isn't it amazing how much we take things like a fridge for granted and then have trouble coping without.Here's hoping it keeps things cold for you for many meals to come.Don't know about the egg custard tho not my choice.c

  2. Love the raw fish salad and have made it a couple of times this past holiday all with fish caught by my hubbie and stepson. I used gurnard and snapper. Yummy. I did find the second version more tangy as I found there wasn't enough lemon juice in my first batch, and I used more coconut milk in the second batch. Yummy. Cool blog.

  3. Thanks, I'm having some fun with it. You might be right about the lemon juice - a little more tanginess would work really well.


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