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"Making a meal of it"

As previously mentioned, one of my targets for 2011 is to cook something I’ve never cooked before. Actually the scope of this challenge is growing a little as I’ve come across a few dishes I like the look of.

I fairly quickly settled on a pud. I love cooking and eating puds (cakes, buns, etc), and find them far more satisfying then mains. My first thought was a crème brûlée, from scratch. This is not least because it’s my other half’s fave pud, but also because one of the restaurants in town do a funky crème brûlée dish that involves lots of little ones with interesting flavours, like a raspberry one, a mint one, and even a thyme one, which I fancy trying myself.

However a bit more flicking through Leiths Cookery Bible (which is indeed my bible when it comes to cooking – awesome book) very quickly brought me to the soufflé section. We have a winner.

Soufflé is one of these dishes that’s meant to be very hard and very impressive – which is exactly the sort of challenge I’m looking for. That’s not to say that crème brûlée won’t feature at some point in the year, mind you – but soufflé is the one. Chocolate soufflé to be exact. I will let you know how I get on.

On the subject of cooking, I really do like Prue Leith’s book. It’s a little bit “first principles” at times – for example the recipe for lasagne starts with making the pasta. But I find her instructions very clear, and I very seldom have disasters with her dishes. That said, I use Delia for my annual Christmas Cake, and get annoyed every year that the recipe starts like this (my emphasis, and not verbatim):

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1.

An 8 in cake tin, greased and lined.

The night before you make the cake…

What is the point of putting the pre-heating instructions and tin preparation instructions before the stuff you have to 24 hours in advance?!?!?!

Contrast with Prue’s crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is best started a day in advance.

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