Doing Delia – take 2


About 18 months ago I decided to work my way through Delia Smiths’s How to Cook. To begin with I did quite well but I hit 3 problems and ground to a sudden definite stop…pretty much a stop to cooking not just a stop to the project.

Why ?

1.  The first 3 chapters are about eggs… I got bored

2. Fat…Delia uses oodles of cream and butter. The book is swimming in the stuff, I stuck it out for page after page but then after making the Banana and Butterscotch trifle I couldn’t take anymore and went on a diet (and lost interest in cooking anything).

3.  The Egg and Lentil Curry recipe – this is one of the first recipes in the book. I have bought green lentils on at least 3 occasions but never yet made the curry… I told myself it was because we had no lime pickle but this time for the “Doing Delia” project I finally bought a jar…but still didn’t make the curry. Why ?

Me: “Do you want Egg and green lentil curry for tea ?”

Husband: “Sounds piggin’ horrible”

and he’s right of course, the sound of it just doesn’t lend itself to thoughts of a tasty meal…(I won’t go into what your thoughts will turn to because I bet you are already thinking that aren’t you !). But Delia obviously thinks a lot of the recipe as it’s not the only book to include the recipe…and must think it so good that she doesn’t care that it might put people off from trying the rest of the book (guess that’s the power of TV for you).

And How to Cook Book 1 is not the only book, there are 3 books in the How to Cook series so the solution it would seem is to do the other 2 books first  because there seems to be slightly less cream (marginally), no repeating a key ingredient for 3 chapters and, more importantly, no lentil and egg curry !

As I don’t own Book 3 I shall start in the middle of the series with Book 2… I will be back…but for now there is Heston on Channel 4…

Egg-spert in the kitchen

I know, that is an appallingly bad pun but its “difficult to get excited about a hard boiled egg” (digression – when I was 18 I travelled round europe. In Amsterdam I met some americans, and for want of anything else to talk about I asked them what they thought about their new president (George Bush sr) to which one of them replied “he’s a hard boiled egg” and then explained “its hard to get excited about a boiled egg”).

Anyway, for want of any other plan for the year I decided I may was well cook my way through Delia, especially as we appeared to have all the ingredients for her Egg and Lentil Curry with coconut and pickled lime (except the pickled lime and half the spices are with FG) and the Chorizo Hash with peppers (chorizo is one of my kitchen stand bys).

I was all set to do the Chorizio this evening (Husband doesn’t really do curry) and asked Husband to pick up some potatoes to which he replied by volunteering to do baked potatoes with an idea he’d had involving pate (which needs using).

Anyway, since the potatoes would take 1.5-2 hours (how to cook volume 1 page 174) in the oven I volunteered to do a rice pudding also (page 212)…the potatoes I have done as per the recipe and the rice pudding I have amended a little. With the rice pudding I have upped the temperature a bit (and lowered the potatoes) and shortened the time. I didn’t have any evaporated milk so I watered down some condensed milk…I also halved the quantities as there would only be 2 of us eating it.

Anyway, that’s all doing its stuff with no interference from me and I have just stated hard boiling some eggs (page 17)…only with a slight difference. I can get excited about hard boiled eggs, a good egg sandwich for me is a little bit of heaven. Spider can’t stand them ( a texture thing possibly) but lunch club starts again this week and I need something to perk up his lunch box…so when they have boiled I will be sticking them in ice cream biscuit moulds and plunging them in cold water – for moulded hard boiled eggs please check out Lunch in a Box.


Picture when they are done…at the moment I’m waiting for the eggs to warm up…Delia doesn’t approve of keeping eggs in the fridge…well tough, I may be following your recipes but I refuse to toe the line !