Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on February 16th, 2010
by Clarabella

Return of the muse

Ater a long week without my muse I was back in the kitchen this weekend cooking up a storm. I made  huge batch of last weeks butternut soup to fed me at lunch times in the working week. I also made Nigella’s Lamb Tagine from her Christmas cookbook. I know its hardly Christmas any more but I have always wanted to try it an the beautiful, new, shiny cast-iron casserole dish that Jel brought back from America for me seemed like a good an excuse as any to give it a go. It is a very different recipe from the Anthony Worrall-Thompson one that I had tried previously, but it was no less impressive. It was amazingly simple to construct, and once the basic prep was done and it was tucked away safely in the oven to cook slowly for 2 hours, that was it. And it was certainly tasty, a good balance between the onion, garlic, lamb and spices, which were complimented by the sweetness of the dates and pomegranate juice. Served with some plain cous-cous and whichever veg tickles your fancy, you couldn’t ask for an easier but still oh-so-impressive Sunday dinner. I’m contemplating making my own Worrall-Thompson/Nigella hybrid Lamb Tagine next time. I love the meaty-richness and pomegranate undertones of the Nigella recipe, but I also like the more genuine moroccan feel of almonds, sultanas, tomatos and apricots in the Worrall-Thompson version, so a hybrid experiment is definitely on the cards. Fingers crossed I wont’ turn 2 good dishes into 1 disaster!   
I also did a big cupcake run on Sunday. One of my colleagues who is based in another office was due to come in yesterday and as she is never here when I bring in cake, I promised that I’d bring something in for her. So after trawling through my Cookies, Cupcakes & Other Tempting treats book, I settled on the Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with white and milk chocolate icing. The recipe stated that it should make 24 so I thought that this was more than sufficient, even for the hungry mouths at work. You can imagine my amazement then when after making up the mixture, it filled 9, yes, 9, paper cases. I was left rather baffled at this phenomenon, and concluded that the writer of this book must be using very, very small cupcake paper cases. But not to be disheartened I started again on a recipe for Super Mocha cupcakes, and I managed to stretch the mixture over 12 cases, so not a bad result overall. I has been hoping to use my new, shiny piping bag (another present my darling man brought me from the US) but by the time the Tagine, Butternut Soup and 2 lots of cupcakes were done, my energy was waning. I had made 2 lots of icing, a white chocolate one, which turned out rather runny and did not even try to hold its shape when piped, and the milk chocolate one ended up stiff enough to stand up by itself and therefore was a challenge to squeeze out of the piping bag. But it was a good learning curve on icing consistency, so better luck next time 🙂