Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Guest Blogger :: Lorina from My Year with Jamie Oliver!

Good Morning!

I'm excited to have my niece, Lorina, blogging for us today. When you're done reading this delicious post, please pop on over to her blog, My Year with Jamie Oliver, to show her some love! Thanks for blogging here, Lorina!
I am very excited to be featured as a guest blogger today on Cindy’s blog. Cindy is my aunt, and it’s great to have a fellow blogger in the family to share ideas with and get advice from. I am relatively new to the world of blogging, which was spurred on by a Christmas present last year. Christmas morning I opened up, what was to become, one of my favourite gifts yet… Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, Jamie at Home. It was given to me because I absolutely love Jamie Oliver’s cooking style and because I was getting into gardening. The book features recipes appropriate for different seasons along with how to grow and gardening tips for all the vegetables. It was a great full-circle guide to everything I wanted to learn. I decided right then and there that I was going to use this book to its fullest potential and cook every single recipe in it and then blog about it. So here I am, with two months to go, plugging away with some great Fall recipes.

This particular post is even more special because I was able to cook the recipes with Melina, my cousin’s fiancé, on my visit to Victoria this weekend. Food is always best when shared!

On the menu for this festive weekend was Wild Mushroom Bruschetta, Mushroom and Beef Stroganoff and Orchard Eve’s pudding.

I had only ever made tomato bruschetta before so I was keen to expand my appetizer repertoire. This recipe was quite easy and simple to put together. I chopped up a variety of different types of mushrooms: portabella, shitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms. I sautéed them up in olive oil and chopped garlic and once they were nicely grilled tossed in some lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley.

Once the mushrooms looked browned and smelled fantastic, I spooned them onto some toasted sour-dough bread. The key with the toasted sour-dough is to rub a fresh clove of garlic on both sides. This gives it a great garlic kick without overwhelming too much.

As easy as that, we took our glasses of wine and sat down to enjoy our appetizer. It was a great way to start off the evening, and my guest, Melina, really enjoyed it too! Definitely a bonus!

Without intention, this was turning out to be a mushroom themed weekend. I suppose it is the season and I truly believe in the importance of eating seasonal appropriate foods. Plus, mushrooms are so fantastic!! The mushroom stroganoff was a little bit more involved in preparation, but Melina helped me out so much and we had many laughs and chats that it really seemed to fly by so quickly. I chopped the onions up, because apparently I have some inhuman incapability to cry when chopping onions, and Melina tore up the mushrooms.

I then sautéed the chopped onions and some garlic for 10 minutes until they were golden, soft and sweet. Meanwhile I made sure I had all the fresh herbs and other ingredients ready to go for the recipe.

I added the torn-up mushrooms to the mixture after about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I got started prepping the beef. The recipe did call for venison, but being in Victoria, I had no idea where I was going to be able to find venison. There are a couple other venison recipes for fall and I will definitely do my best to order it from my local butcher when I give them a go, so I promise I will get my practice with it.

After I chopped up the beef filet, I seasoned with salt, pepper and tons of paprika. I really pressed and rolled it well into the beef in order to give lots of flavour. Once the mushrooms and onions were done I removed them from the pan and threw in the beef to quickly sauté.

After about a minute I tossed the onions back in and added the mushrooms and a knob of butter. Once all the ingredients had cooked together nicely I added in the lemon zest and ¾ cup of crème fraiche. I simmered for a few minutes on low heat until the crème fraiche made a nice sauce coating for the meat, onions and mushrooms.

I served the stroganoff over rice and topped with some leftover craime fraiche and finely chopped parsley.

It was very much a comfort food style meal and we both liked it very much. After Mushroom Bruschetta and the Beef/Mushroom Stroganoff we were quite full!

We were so full that we made an executive decision to leave the pudding dessert until the next day. It would have been way too much to take on another recipe that same night AND eat it!

The next evening we went out for a lovely dinner at the Tapas Bar and finished off the night cooking our Orchard Eve’s pudding and watching the Canucks dominate the Capitals. The night really couldn’t have gotten much better than that!

We started off by peeling and chopping 3 apples and 2 pears which would be the main fruit components to our pudding. Once the apples and pears were chopped we cooked them in a pot on the stove mixed with half a cup of brown sugar, vanilla and 3 bay leaves. I covered with a lid an let simmer for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, I got started with making the batter. I creamed ¾ cup of softened butter with ¾ cup of brown sugar until it was fluffy and smooth. It was brilliant…I didn't even use the mixer. I really felt quite authentic in my baking.

Then I added 4 eggs one at a time, beating in each one individually. Once the eggs were mixed in, I folded in 1 ¾ cup of self-rising flour and mixed until I had a great pudding batter. Once the fruit was “stewed” sufficiently, I lined the bottom of an 8 inch pie pan with it minus the juices. Then I spooned the pudding batter  on top of the fruit layer until fully coated. (Excuse my fingers…I promise they are washed!).

Then I spooned the remaining fruit overtop of the batter and popped in the oven. Worth noting is that I took out the bay leaves before filling the pie pan with the fruit.

I baked for 40 minutes in the oven, until the pudding was nice and golden and had nearly doubled in size!

We let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool down once we took it out of the oven.

During the cool-down we mixed up some whipping cream which was flavoured with some icing sugar. We spooned out servings of the Orchard Pudding and topped with whipping cream topping. It was a really tasty, seasonal dessert! Usually dessert is chocolate or nothing for me, and this fruity one was certainly a nice change. I was definitely a fan. - Lorina

To see more of Lorina's culinary adventures, please visit her at My Year with Jamie Oliver! Thanks again for posting here today, Lorina!


PS. I joined the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop! It starts today at La Shawnda Wrice; Creations from the Heart. My day of the hop will be Friday, November 4 and I'll be featuring a wonderful Christmas ornament tutorial complete with a giveaway sponsored by Scor-Pal! Don't miss it - this tool is a real time saver with so many great uses.

If you missed my previous post, I also have a giveaway going on right now for the adorable Henrietta Hippo pattern! If you're into sewing, this is a great prize. I've made a few of these hippos and they were so much fun!
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