Antonia Landi

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Sunday Roast – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on July 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Picture: Useful Times

When it comes to food, Britain has never really had much of a reputation. But if there’s one thing the British can do well, then it’s serve up an immaculate Sunday roast.

The first time I decided to make a roast I was incredibly nervous. Before I came to Scotland, I had never encountered such a big cultural tradition around one particular dish. There are right ways and wrong ways to make a Sunday roast, and be sure that if you fail along the path you will be haunted by the endless tuts of perfect British housewives that serve their families a slow-cooked work of art every weekend. That’s what I thought, anyway! Like most things that take a while to make people automatically assume that it’s difficult – now, let me prove you wrong!

The basic gist of this recipe is this: Season meat, put it in the oven, peel, cut and season potatoes, put them in the oven, take meat out, put Yorkshire puddings in the oven, serve. It’s that easy! The only thing that could stand in between you and a perfect roast dinner is if you overcook the meat. Granted, that’s quite a big part of the dish, but there are methods to calculate the roasting time that are pretty much failsafe. The formula goes as follows: Allow about 30 minutes per 500g, plus an added 15-30 minutes depending on whether you would like your roast rare, medium, or well done. You can usually find these instructions on the packet, and if you’re ever unsure, insert a skewer into the biggest part of the roast and the colour of the juices should give you an idea of what the centre looks like.

If you are not a big fan of potatoes or if you simply want to add some more colour into the dish, feel free to jazz up the sides! Go as simple or different as you like – from carrots to a warm lentil salad – this is where you can let your imagination run free!

Here’s a little tip: If you’re cooking for a small household, don’t worry, you can still buy bigger roasts when they’re on offer. Once you’re home cut them into portions and freeze the rest – there is nothing more satisfying than cooking up a great meal while knowing you’ve saved some pennies!

Feeds 3 or 2 with some leftovers for sandwiches:

1 small beef roasting joint (about 500g)

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut

3 yorkshire puddings per person

onion, quartered (optional)

2 cloves garlic, halved (optional)

1 knob of butter (optional)

salt, pepper, and herbs to taste

gravy to serve

Calculate the roasting time for your joint and roast at 200°/Gas mark 6. Leave meat to rest for 10-20 minutes (depending on size) before carving

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Chicken Curry – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on July 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Picture: Useful Times

Being from Switzerland I sometimes forget how curry-mad Britain is. Hence why it’s taken me three months to make a video about it! This dish is almost ridiculously simple and always a winner – there is really nothing you could do wrong!

There are so many varieties of curries I almost don’t know where to begin… Creamy curries, red curries, Thai curries, curries that will reduce you to tears because they’re so hot… and then the ingredients! Chicken, lamb, vegetables, spices, herbs, cream… the list is virtually endless. On one hand that’s a good thing, because no matter what your taste buds prefer, there is always a curry to match. But if you’re as indecisive as I am it will take you a good half hour until you’ve come up with the final list of ingredients! After a long and painful elimination process I have decided to start small and keep it simple, yet leave enough room for varieties. If you are following this recipe I would suggest sticking to the chicken – if you would like to use lamb instead, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and only a dollop of yoghurt. If you’re not a big fan of natural yoghurt you can substitute it with coconut milk. The choice of vegetable is entirely up to you – I chose broccoli for convenience, but you can try anything from aubergines to sweet potatoes to lentils. Cauliflower lends itself wonderfully to curries – its flavour is delicate enough not to disturb the overall taste and the heads turn bright yellow! Feel free to use a different curry paste – go for a tikka paste if you love your chicken tikka, or try a balti paste for lamb-based curries.

I have opted for a good quality curry paste for my recipe, but making your curry from scratch isn’t very difficult. If you don’t mind buying an elaborate list of spices you’ll likely not use otherwise and mashing them all up in a mortar and pestle, you’ll soon be a curry master. The only problem is that this takes a bit of time and money. With a paste you save both!

A quick note: As you can see in my video I add the yoghurt a few minutes before the chicken is done, to ensure that all the flavours mingle. This may lead to the yoghurt curdling, especially if it’s not a high fat yoghurt. To ensure that you get best results, only add the yoghurt at the very end, after the curry has had some time to cool down.

Feeds 2:

250g chicken

100g vegetables (I have used broccoli)

200g natural yoghurt

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/4 jar mild curry paste

fresh ginger, grated (the piece should be about half a thumb long)

A handful of coriander, chopped

(finely chop the stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Keep some to garnish)

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

The Complete Cake Baking Strategy Guide – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Picture: Useful Times

Making a double-layered cake is like starting an epic quest – it’s a big feat, and there are so many things that could go wrong. But hopefully, this guide will help you along your way and make sure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.

First of all you need to check your equipment and make sure everything is ready to go. You will need two cake tins and an electric or manual mixer to whip up the cream – a cooking rack is ideal, but optional.

Skills:

These skills are essential for cake baking. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of some of these moves before – most of them are easy to pick up.

-Sifting: Used for flour and cocoa. This ensures that you end up with a thoroughly smooth dough. Requires sieve.

-Greasing: Makes sure your cake doesn’t stick to the tin. Requires butter and some handwork.

-Testing: To test if your cake is ready, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Can also be done with a small knife.

-Separating: After the cake has been baked, run a knife along the side of the tin. Makes it easier to take the cake out and gives you extra appearance points.

-Levelling: Used for bottom layer. Get down to eye level with your cake and carefully slice the top off to ensure an even base. Best done with a bread knife.

-Spreading: You will need to do this three times throughout your journey.

1.    Spread the dough evenly across both tins. Best done with the back of a spoon.

2.    Spread the whipped cream over the raspberries. Make sure you get to the rim. Best done with a flat wooden spoon or a knife.

3.    Spread the glaze across the cake. Best done with a knife.

Attention: This recipe will require a lot of time and love. If you are a cake-baking novice, I advise you select the ‘simple cake’ option at the start of the quest. This will give you practice and confidence in your cake baking abilities.

Don’t panic if anything goes wrong – when in doubt, check the log for further assistance and don’t forget that even if your cake doesn’t live up to your expectations, it will still taste delicious.

Serves 8-12 (depending on your portions)

For the cake:

225g butter

225g caster sugar

225g self-raising flour

4 eggs

50-75g cocoa (a high amount will result in a dark chocolate cake)

1tsp vanilla extract

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes on a medium heat.

For the filling:

1 small pot whipping cream

raspberries

For the glaze:

100g dark cooking chocolate

25g butter (or more, which will result in a soft glaze)

If you’re stuck for time, or want to start small, try this:

175g butter

175g caster sugar

175g self-raising flour

3 eggs

25-50g cocoa

1tsp vanilla extract

Mix the ingredients together and bake as above. Proceed with the glaze or alternatively decorate to your heart’s content!

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

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