3 Cooking Mamas — Menu 2

George and I went to the butcher section at Harrods to buy the veal shins for the Osso Bucco I cooked for the “3 Cooking Mamas” first project.  While there, he spotted behind the glass display some Poulet de Bresse and promptly ordered one to be dressed.  Typically of course, we asked the price after its head with its well-formed red comb, slightly blue feet, white feathers (colours of the French flag) and insides were removed.  It came to a whopping 69.10 British sterling.  Consequently, I was under a bit of pressure to find the “perfect” recipe to do justice to its price.

Et voila!!  Stuffed Bresse Chicken with Asparagus.  http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Stuffed-Bresse-Chicken-with-Asparagus

Reducing the madeira sauce mixture.

As I did not find turnips and globe artichokes at the supermarket, I instead substituted parsnips for the former and bottled baby artichoke hearts for the latter.  The recipe also mentioned fava in its steps but not in its list of ingredients which confused me a bit.  But like with everything that confuses me,  I just ignored it.  Towards the end, I blanched the asparagus for approximately a minute before adding it to the other vegetables in the cream mixture.

After arranging the cooked main dish on their serving platters, I was taking so long in photographing it while my “ruthless critics” were hungrily waiting in the wings (no pun intended).  George finally commented that “this was the most photographed chicken he has ever seen.”  Well, both the husband and the daughter loved it.  Amazingly so as Ileana is not really into chicken.

Stuffed Chicken with vegetables in a cream sauce and madeira gravy.

The dessert “Chocolate Pots with Cherries” was obtained from the book “Meals in Heels” by Jennifer Joyce.  I could not resist buying the book mainly because its title appealed to me.  Also after browsing through the recipes, I found them appetising and therefore would motivate me to try and cook or bake them in the near future.

Ingredients for the dessert.

The recipe was very easy to make and more importantly very delicious.  What’s not to like — it is chocolate after all.  Unfortunately, the supermarket did not have any stock of fresh cherries so I ended up with strawberries instead.  It was the only fruit I could find that had a stalk on it.  It was either that or the only other fruit I could find that had a stalk on it was an apple which would not have worked at all.

Chocolate Pots with Strawberries.....in all its glory

This is definitely a recipe I would like to prepare again as one can make it even a day before serving it.

I am glad the food in this project turned out well.  I am now excitedly anticipating the next meal which will be chosen by Eva.  Something Asian perhaps ……………..

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3 Cooking Mamas

My fingers are poised on the keyboard but words seem to fail me at present.  I do not know what to write on my first-ever blog.  My friend Carmela Borgers (who lives in Paris) asked me to join her and her friend Eva Wong-Nava (who also lives in Paris) in writing a blog about the experience of cooking a meal.  Since I live in London, a lot of emails (filled with some excitement and anxiety) were flying around amongst the “3 cooking mamas” before our culinary journey began.

For our first project, Carmela chose to make “Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese” and for dessert “Creamy Mascarpone and Strawberry Trifle”.   I posted to her a copy of a recipe for “Osso Bucco” as she mentioned that her husband likes this dish very much.  However, I realised only after the choice was made that the recipe I gave her is slightly different from the one I always made.  Tomato sauce.  That is the ingredient my recipe had and which I wanted to keep as I use the leftover sauce to serve with pasta for another meal.  Moreover, my most “ruthless” critics — my husband George and my 18-year old daughter Ileana — would never have let me live down the fact that I did not put any tomato sauce in it.

Hence, the recipe I followed was taken from Marcella Hazan’s book entitled “The Classic Italian Cookbook”.

Pan on the hob before it goes into the oven.

The recipe I used for the risotto was taken from the River Cafe cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.  The River Cafe (in Hammersmith, London) is one of our top restaurants to eat lunch in on the weekends.  Their risotto is spiked with a bit of vermouth which is added towards the end of the cooking.  In this instance though, I forgot to put salt and pepper to it.  One would think that I have made this dish so many times and the one time I was highlighting this recipe in my blog, I forget to season it.  Anyway, it was remedied at the table.

Osso Bucco and Risotto Milanese on a plate.

I never would have used strawberries and balsamic vinegar in the same sentence, much less in the same recipe.  I have encountered recipes in the past using these 2 ingredients together but, I always disregarded it.  However, I was quite pleasantly surprised that they did work well in unison.  Instead of doing two layers of strawberries, I placed some raspberries on top.  After having eaten the veal shin and risotto (and not just one serving as in the photo), the dessert was quite substantial on the stomach.  Having said that, I nevertheless cleaned out the whole glass.

Mascarpone and Strawberry Trifle.

So composing my first blog was not as painful as I thought it would be.  I have this bad habit of being anxious and timid about starting something new.  But once I have done it, it turns out to be more complex in my mind than in reality.  With that in mind, I would like to be able to try out in the future recipes which I have always found daunting–of which there are many.  Cannot wait…………

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