Pantry Challenge day 19, with Eurovision Desserts on a scale that make yesterday’s efforts look petty

Also, cross-dressing Ken has returned!  I’ll be posting his recipe very soon, as well as today’s market post, and goodness only knows what else, but I’ve been too busy cooking like a mad thing for the last two days to write about it.

Today was a very bad day for nutrition in the house of Cate.  And it was also a very bad day for photographing anything that didn’t have sugar in it, because lunch got eaten in the midst of stewing tomatoes, putting away vegetables and making margarita mousse shots, and photography was forgotten as it was too late.  Dinner was just as bad, only this time the excuse was wanting to get back into the living room to watch more Eurovision.  But you’ll be glad to know that all the desserts were lovingly photographed from multiple angles.  Because that’s where my priorities lie…

Breakfast, then, was a reprise of yesterday’s delicious rhubarb pizza, and I’ve just realised that there is nothing in the house for breakfast tomorrow except apples and cake and leftovers.  Oh dear.  Maybe I should make some pancake batter or something?  Anyway, it was just as good cold as it had been hot, and a very pleasant start to the day before we zipped off to the Farmers’ Market to buy an awful lot of vegetables.  But that’s a story for another day.

5 foccaccia

I had choir this morning, and eight people coming for tonight’s Eurovision finale, not to mention a Dessert Challenge to win, so by lunchtime things were getting pretty busy in my kitchen.  I realised I had a pizza base with a nearby expiry date, so we followed our rhubarb foccacia for breakfast with tomato and oregano pizza for lunch.  And, as I said, there is no photographic evidence of this due to the aforementioned baking.

The baking took up all afternoon, largely because it had gotten a bit out of hand.  A Cross-Dressing Ken Cake is pretty much a necessity for Eurovision, and I’d actually made the cake base yesterday, using self-raising flour, almond meal, white sugar, icing sugar (I’m out of caster sugar!), and of course eggs, almond milk, and a lot of things like lemon and lime zest and various colours which I promise I will tell you all about in the recipe.

I’d decided that a true Eurovision Ken cake should also be covered with alcoholic agar jellies, and it just so happened that my pantry contained white sugar, agar agar, glucose syrupcitric acid and a range of dreadful food colourings and flavourings as well as liqueurs like blue curaçao, cherry brandy, rum and tequila.  I feel secretly rather chuffed that three weeks into a pantry challenge my pantry still just happens to contain all the ingredients to make a large batch of confectionery.

Except – it didn’t!  I made the whole batch and then realised that I actually needed caster sugar to roll the jellies – icing sugar is too fine and white sugar and brown sugar just don’t work.  So I had to borrow half a cup of sugar from Elise to finish the jellies off…  and then I had to cut them out in fancy shapes, because I am totally INSANE.

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In between doing all of this, I decided that really, one lurid dessert wasn’t enough, so I also made raw linzertorte, with hazelnuts, almond meal, cashews, dates and a jam made of raspberries with honey and chia seeds.

5 tart

That also wasn’t sufficient, so I made raw margarita mousses in little shot glasses, too – another raw recipe, involving avocado, lime, the last of my agave nectar, the last of my coconut butter and more tequila.  And a little salt.  Incidentally, these were truly amazing.  And then, on a whim, I made more sparkly balls with the last of my cocoa butter, more almond butter (which I seem to have been stockpiling in the fridge), and some maple syrup.

5 shots

And then Hailey texted me that she was bringing sparkly moose biscuits (made from a genuine Swedish recipe) and it occurred to me that I’d better get started on the savouries.

5 biscuits

I figured we needed something sober and sensible and wholesome to soak up all that sugar, so I made baked potatoes and my vegetarian chilli, except that by now I don’t have any dried red or white beans, just lentils and a few tinned red beans.  I also don’t have burghul, but I did have wholemeal spelt couscous, so I used that instead.  I didn’t have any tinned tomatoes or tomato juice, but I had three kilos of tomatoes from the farmers’ market, so I made my own.  And I’m running out of chipotle chilli and cumin – I used the last up on this meal.

This was accompanied by guacamole and I then wanted to make that lovely corn, mango and black bean salsa from Green Kitchen, but of course I had no black beans.  Or shredded coconut.  And mangoes weren’t available anywhere.  Oh, and onions were forbidden for this particular dinner.  But it turned out that I did have a tin of diced mangoes stashed away in my pantry, along with three little tins of mixed beans.  And fennel works rather well instead of onion in this context.  And as for the coconut – well, yes, I really did go and buy a whole coconut and take a hammer and screwdriver and the back of a heavy knife to it until I could get it open and chop up some flesh.  It wasn’t a very good coconut, but it sufficed.  And the salad really was good.

Of course, Gillian then turned up with spanakopita (which was probably a good thing, in the circumstances), and Elise upped the ante on desserts with this rather spectacular effort.

5 rainbowcake

It’s so white and tasteful on the outside, and then you cut it.  Oh dear…

5 rainbow2

Next year, we are going to collaborate.  Or perhaps the proper term is collude…

Of course, next year, we may draw the line somewhere before seven different kinds of dessert for eight people.  But at least my little scientists look like having a pleasingly sugary start to their week…

And as for Eurovision – well, I did like Denmark, but I’m still a bit sad that Greece didn’t do better (though I imagine they really didn’t want to win).   But my true favourite was and always will be Romania.  That dress!  Those… alarmingly naked dancers!  And that voice – especially the part where he goes up an octave, and just when you think he’s going to stop, he goes up *another* octave, just because he can.  Fabulous.

Ken thinks so, too.

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Apparently, Ken managed to get on TV, too, though I sadly missed it. Still, he has had his five minutes of fame, and that’s something!

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One year ago:    Recipe: Linzer Torte (heh, I love it that I made the raw version on the anniversary of this recipe!)
Two years ago: Food on TV: Heston Blumenthal’s Victorian Feast
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