One of my favourite things to do is to talk on the topic of food with my granny. Learning to cook armed only with cookbooks and a passion for art, with eight hungry mouths to feed and very little money, my granny developed some of the most resourceful cooking skills I know. I love that with barely anything in the house she can produce something incredibly elegant, such as soufflés, without thinking twice. This is a light and rather sophisticated cake that relies heavily on store-cupboard ingredients and is a perfect example of her skill in being able to produce something incredibly impressive out of everyday items.
From: Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked
When my dad was growing up, my granddad took him and his brothers and sisters to Dublin Zoo on a cold winter's day. They had brought bags of bananas and monkey nuts to feed the monkeys and were throwing the food over the iced enclosure. One stray banana landed on the ice and suddenly the monkeys realised they could walk across the ice, leading them to charge my granddad and his kids, attacking them for the food. Hence the inspiration for this nutty baked Alaska...
In Sweden these are eaten with most meals of the day. Making them at home is incredibly easy and, best of all, crisp bread can be stored for months in an airtight container. The Swedes use a kruskavel (a rolling pin with large studs) to roll out their crisp bread, resulting in small dimples all across the surface. A similar effect can be achieved by dotting the surface with a fork.
These little parcels certainly know how to make an entrance. When you serve them, make sure you get your guests to open the parcels themselves, to reveal the steaming mackerel inside. You can use this method with any fish; it’s nice served with a little rice.