Kavi has discovered that she loves devilled eggs. She got a couple during the party, but they went fast, and after the party was over, she and I were lying on the couch watching Gilmore Girls together, and she said, pathetically, that she really wanted devilled eggs, and we didn’t have any. Tragedy!
I said, well, it would only take about 5 minutes to make some, since we had some hard-boiled eggs left in the Easter bread, and Kavi looked at me with big pleading eyes, so I laughed and got off the couch and made her some devilled eggs.
(The ham was super-easy — it’s pre-cooked and sliced, so it’s just heat in the oven, then cut off slices and serve. I like this little trio of glass jars; I decanted three ham accompaniments into them, so easy.)
Lamb with homemade mint sauce (the vinegar kind, that cuts so nicely through the richness of the lamb). This is a dish I really love, and I only have maybe twice a year? So it’s very satisfying when I do.
Kind of funny how me and my Irish friend were super-enthusiastic about this dish, and all the Americans were fine with it, but didn’t understand why we liked it so much.
Easter crown bread was both easy and surprisingly impressive — Kavi was impressed, and one of the little kids asked me how I made it, and I got to say “Magic.” Very tasty slathered with Irish butter. The eggs were dyed raw, and they cook through while the bread is baking.
If you haven’t made yeasted bread before, it’s really not hard — my main note is that just to be aware that it takes 4-6 hours, so start it early enough. There’s very little actual hands-on cooking in there, and if you have a mixer with a dough hook, the mixing / kneading part is very easy.
As you can see in the last photo, my eggs tipped over a little while baking, but it was easy enough to lift and reset them. Do it right out of the oven if you need to; after the bread cools, the eggshells do adhere to them a bit.
Yes, having learned that not cooling your custard sauce and pouring it over jello will melt the jello, I said what the heck, I’ll do it AGAIN with the orange jello layer. So everything is very swirly, and even though the whipped cream + berries on the top makes it look not TOO awful, it’s definitely not what I intended.
It’ll taste delicious, I’m pretty sure, but still. Sigh. Oh well. The sauce had set more after chilling overnight, and while it’s not setting to solid, I think that’s fine; you want to be able to pour it over the trifle. I just shouldn’t have poured it warm over the jello.
I still think the concept is good, but if I’m going to experiment with three different new elements:
• adding jello to my trifle, which I don’t normally do
• adding passionfruit to my custard sauce
• making the sauce from scratch, without cornstarch, instead of using Bird’s custard powder
….I should maybe not try it when I’m tired and likely to take short-cuts. Sigh.
I tried it last time with passionfruit curd, and that was too rich and thick for trifle, in my opinion. (A thin layer of curd might’ve been all right, but I had much too much.) Instead, I went back to my usual plan, to make custard, but I was out of the Bird’s custard powder I usually use. So I tried making a traditional English custard sauce, and I poked around until I found one without cornstarch, because I didn’t think it should need it.
And it’s a great sauce, but I think I messed up. I was very tired when I was making it, finishing up around 11 p.m. last night, which is always a mistake for me, because I get impatient and then I make mistakes. I should’ve made the trifle first thing in the morning yesterday, so I could take my time, and it’d have a day to set. But no.
So I’m not sure I quite got it up to temp — it was thinly coating the back of a spatula, but just barely, I probably should’ve let it go another 5-10 minutes. Especially since I then added 1/2 c. of passionfruit puree to it, which made a delicious custard, but also maybe retarded it setting? Either because it was too liquidy or because the acid affected it? Or maybe I was just too impatient…
…because I barely let it cool at all (I really should’ve stuck it in the fridge and waited ’til morning to finish assembling) before I tried to pour it over the trifle ingredients, and as you can see, it immediately started melting the jello. Gah. I wanted clear, distinct layers, and instead, I got a swirly, goopy result.
It got worse when I immediately added the next layer, because apparently, when I am making bad decisions, I like to COMMIT to them…
It turns out that if I impulse-buy an entire frozen lamb at Costco ($5.29 / lb), I AM capable of cutting it into small enough pieces that I can fit it in the chest freezer + fridge. Even if I only have a garden saw on hand to use to get through the bone.
Not the most elegant butchery in the world, and I got very tired and was glad that I could tap in Kevin to do a few passes with the saw near the end, but basically, I can do this. Maybe better to start earlier in the day, though. And buy a bone saw first.
I will spare you the photos.
(I might show them to my friends at Carnivore Oak Park, though, just so they can be amused by my amateur efforts. I think I’ll leave the bone-cutting to them for the most part, going forward…this is hard work!)
Also, if you need an emergency amputation by the side of the road (which I am about to watch on my current medical TV show, by pure coincidence), I think I might be able to manage it. I’ll definitely need a saw, though.
Made a passion fruit curd trifle last night. It was very pretty, but I want to tweak the recipe some — it came out a little too sweet overall for my tastes. Less sugar in the curd, I think, and maybe make the orange jello with some lime juice instead of some of the water — you can do that with jello, right?
Might try this again for our Easter party. . If I get the recipe down, I can include it in the Serendib Teatime mini cookbook we’re planning to do later in the year…
It was such a rush finishing up the winter Patreon boxes before I left for ICFA, I didn’t get to posting the final photos. I love how this theme came out, “Narnia in Love”.
They boxes went pretty well, but I made one mistake — I should have double-bagged the soap and bath salts in the higher-tier packages, because the scent was strong enough that it affected some of the treats, even though they were wrapped in plastic. I should have thought — sigh. Next time!
We’ve really gotten better at all this; ice packs in plastic in every box, wrapping and freezing baked goods as soon as they’re made to maintain freshness. But there’s a lot to learn too! Complicated. Appreciate patrons who are patient with me; I try to make sure that there’s so much in the treat boxes that it makes up for any small issues. I want people to feel like they’re getting great value for money.
Started baking yesterday for the next batch, theme Fairies and Starlight. Lime & rosewater shortbread, decorated with white chocolate and edible cornflower petals. Photos soon.
Watching Bridgerton this morning — caught up on episode one of the second season, about to watch episode two. Am quite enjoying the Sharma women — they’re both delightful so far. I want to be friends with Kate!
Few pics from the last coule of days — progress on a fingerless mitt, although I’ve now reached the point where I have to stop and watch a YouTube video to remind me how to do the thumb gusset, as the instructions are confusing me. I’ve done this once before, but it was many years ago, and I have absolutely no recollection of how it goes.
Made two different chicken curry dishes recently. The first was sort of an improvised combination of my ginger-garlic chicken & a sothi — I used the seasonings for ginger-garlic chicken, which my kids love, added potatoes, and simmered it all in a can of coconut milk, adding some frozen peas at the end. Anand can’t handle spicy heat, so this one was designed to be no spice yet still yummy — it worked well, though Kavi and I were both happy to have some spicy pol (coconut) sambol to eat with it.
Sri Lankan food adapts pretty easily to being vegan or gluten-free, but I have to say, if you’re allergic to coconut, you’re going to have to modify a lot of our recipes. It can be done, certainly — you can use cow milk or soy milk, etc. I had a roommate (hi, Cliff) who was allergic to coconut, and I made curries for him. But coconuts really are central to our cuisine…
Last night, I made a classic chicken curry — this is one of the first Sri Lankan dishes I learned to make and is eaten across the island — you can find it in most restaurants, I think. One change I habitually make to accommodate my family is that I use chicken thighs on the bone, but take a few minutes to cut most of the meat off the bone before cooking.
That means Kevin and Kavi, who eat their rice and curry with a fork, can easily manage, but the curry sauce still has all the richness and flavor you get from simmering the bones. And since I eat rice and curry with my hand, I don’t work hard to get all the meat off — I leave a good bit on, and I’m happy to eat those bones with a bit of meat for my meal. Yum yum. My mom likes to crack the bones with her teeth and suck out any remaining marrow; I don’t usually do that myself, but every once in a while…
The last pic is just some sketches Kavi did. Her hands are amazing to me.