Life lately has been centred around the home, no foreign vacations planned for this month unlike previous years when we've escaped the February glooms and headed off to enjoy winter sunshine in Greece.
There's been plenty of rain but, fingers crossed, we have so far escaped the snow that has blanketed Paris this week. The sun has been out occasionally and whilst taking Fleur out for a " tiddle time" early one morning the Senior Partner captured these scenes in the lane.
A low lying sun created beautiful shadows on the staircase and turned the spotlight onto one lonely daffodil, a victim of inclement weather earlier in the week, brightening
the kitchen windowsill.
Life's culinary influences have lately come from some unusual places.
1. A FB post from our nephew, who is coming with his girlfriend to visit us next week, prompted the SP to make a big pot of Delia Smith's French Onion Soup for our lunch and to freeze ready for company.
Just look at those mouthwateringly crunchy garlic croutons smothered in melting Gruyere cheese floating on top of the soup! See how he
spoils me, I'll never regain my sylph like figure at this rate.
Click here for the recipe @ Delia online.
2. After a busy day I was looking for something fast and easy to make for supper.
Pinterest came to my aid and in no time at all penne pasta with steamed salmon fillets in a creamy broccoli cheese sauce was on the table.
3. I know I'm not alone in owning too many cook books (about 50 at the last count). I enjoy reading a cook book almost as much as I enjoy reading a novel, even if I have no plans to make anything.
Mrs Charles Darwin's Recipe book (revived and illustrated) isn't just a collection of some of her wonderful original recipes (written in her own hand) it is also a great read giving detailed insights into the lives that Emma and Charles led.
It so happened that I was looking through the Recipe book recently practically drooling over the beautiful photography and illustrations when I came across this recipe for Burnt Rice and decided to give it a try.
pudding or medium grain rice (50g/2oz)
cream and milk (1 cup or 250 ml each)
2 eggs, separated.
Simmer the rice in the milk and cream until it is completely soft, takes between 20 and 30 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent the rice catching on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from the heat, add the butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the egg yolks.
Whip the egg whites into soft peaks, gently fold into the rice mixture.
Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar evenly over the top, place under a hot broiler/grill for a few minutes.
Note from me: watch it carefully or it might become too burnt, like mine did.
I also used golden caster sugar which perhaps was a mistake, it was delicious nevertheless.
Mrs D's book has not been returned to the main bookshelf to gather dust but has now taken up pride of place amongst the kitchen cookbooks that I refer to most often, it's my new favourite and still available on Amazon if you'd like to try Emma's recipes for yourself.