Here’s another apology for a long hiatus. Work has completely consumed me lately and with spring around the corner, Andy and I had been out biking by the river quite a bit. So here’s a long post to make up for the absence :P
I had enthusiastically waited for our group to meet again since we got together in February. After a long chain of e-mail to decide on a date, we met last Monday on March 31. Everyone made really good dishes and I enjoyed them thoroughly. As usual, the host gets to pick the theme, and Lisa told us to pick anything out of LCBO’s website/magazine. Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is a big (think – monopoly) liquor and wine store in Ontario, Canada and they have a food website and magazine that encourages people to pair wine/liquor with their food.
This time, I was assigned to make dessert. I found something on the Internet that I thought would definitely be a challenge for me but perhaps I should have tested the recipe beforehand. I picked Lemon Grass Panna Cotta with Orange Chilli Caramel because it was a “fusion” type of dessert, and it had called for gelatine. This meant that I had to look for gelatine substitute and I have a stash of konnyaku powder left that is used to make vegetarian jello. I have to say that I was very disappointed with my result because the konyakku powder solidified too fast and does not behave like gelatine, which was described in the recipe. Also, the recipe had called for making the cream mixture and melting the gelatine separately. I think it would have been better for me to cook the konnyaku right in the cream itself in my case. I will definitely try to make this again because apart from the tough texture, it actually tasted pretty good. I would probably use agar-agar powder instead. Also, the orange chilli caramel sauce did not turn out as described in the recipe. It did not thicken like caramel, and the chili did not turn out looking like the picture posted on the website. I had to cut slices of chili to garnish mine instead.
Danielle made lamb for everyone, but she was very thoughtful to have made Suzanne and I a vegetarian version of her dish using wild mushrooms. Jillian also used wild mushrooms in her dish and it was delish! It’s amazing to see that both dishes turned out so differently and yet so yummy using the same main ingredient. Jillian, who is a self-proclaimed health nut (I think the whole group is … oh, despite the fact that she doesn’t like vegetables –> CORRECTION: JILL LOVES HER VEGES! LOL), used fresh wholewheat lasagna sheets to wrap the cannellonis.
While Lisa played host (who also has to supply drinks), I helped her with her ricotta fritters. I had fun making them and the recipe actually worked. I used 2 metal spoons to shape the batter into egg-shaped balls and wet the fork to flatten them a tiny bit prior to frying. I really do think that I’m more of a savoury food type of cook than a dessert maker…
Another highlight of that night was Ted Whipp. He had graced us with his presence so that he could write about our cooking club. We’re really looking forward to the article in the local papers in the near future :)
Here’s who made what:
- Jordana (appetizer) – Garlic Herbed Cheese Spread
- Lisa (salad) – Spinach Salad With Marinated Mushrooms and Ricotta Fritters
- Danielle (main dish) – Lamb Fillet with Candied Onions, Fennel and Whisky
- Jillian (main dish) – Wild Mushroom Cannelloni
- Suzanne (side dish) – Cheese and Chilli Muffins
- Christine (dessert) – Lemon Grass Panna Cotta with Orange Chili Caramel