So long summer, hello fall! While we're not quite ready to accept that chilly weather is around the corner, we'll gladly welcome more opportunities to stay indoors and share meals with friends and loved ones. And lucky us—the stylish and savvy women behind the international bestselling Monday Morning Cooking Club (which our March cover girl Nicole Kidman called her favorite cookbook) are back with another collection of comfort meals and delectable treats, and they shared some of their tested culinary tips exclusively with InStyle.com.
So much food to try, so little time. How can we create a delicious (and, of course, Instagram-worthy!) meal without spending days in the kitchen?
We love creating menus for our own friends and families at home that are completely do-ahead, not over-complicated but still impressive. A menu that works well is the Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup, the Maple Soy Ocean Trout, Raisin Slaw on the side and the Chocolate Date Torte to finish off. A perfect dessert would be the Frozen Lemon Meringue [featured above, recipe is below]. Each of the courses can be prepared ahead.
What are your favorite recipes fromThe Feast Goes On that are also quick and simple to make?
The Chicken with Olives and Capers is a favorite for a quick, easy, not-too-many-ingredients dish. You need chicken pieces, a small handful each of kalamata olives and capers, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a splash of the white wine that you are going to drink with dinner. It takes about 2 minutes to prepare, 45 minutes to roast and it’s done.
A new favorite is the Claypot Snapper, which was one of the recipes we recently filmed for an upcoming recipe video series. And we fell in love with it!
What must-have items do you recommend for the kitchen?
1. A cook’s kitchen needs an electric (stand) mixer—we all have the KitchenAid—for perfect egg whites, light cake batters and kneading dough easily.
2. A combination small food processor and stick blender (we really like the Breville All-in-One which also has a fabulous slicer for super fine shaved vegetables for salads).
3. A set of durable non-stick hard anodized (and heavy based) saucepans.
4. Le Creuset silicon spatulas.
5. A few of the small serrated Victorinox (steak) knives, which are great for everyday slicing and chopping.
Read on for some exclusive recipes from The Feast Goes On below, or grab a copy now.
Frozen Lemon Meringue
(featured at top)
Meringue Discs Ingredients:
4 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
8 oz caster (superfine) sugar
Lemon Custard Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
4½ oz caster (superfine) sugar
½ cup lemon juice finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1⅓ cups thickened whipping cream
1. Start this recipe the day before serving. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line two baking trays with baking paper marked with three 8-inch diameter circles or 11 x 4¾ inch rectangles.
2. To make the meringue discs, sprinkle the egg whites with the cream of tartar and whisk until stiff. Mix the cornﬂour with the sugar, then add to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk for a few more minutes until thick and glossy. Using a spatula, spread the meringue inside the marked outlines, smoothing out to the edges. Place in the oven, reduce the temperature to 275°F and bake for 1 hour, or until the meringue discs are crisp to touch and will lift oﬀ the paper easily. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Start making the lemon custard as soon as the meringues go in the oven, as it must be quite cold before the cream is folded in. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan. Over a low heat, mix until smooth and well combined, then add the lemon juice and zest. Continue to stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10–15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir for another minute. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cold, or place over a bowl of ice to cool faster. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until ﬁrm, then gently fold it into the cooled lemon custard one spoon at a time, until combined. Refrigerate until needed.
4. Set aside the best meringue disc to be the top. To assemble, place one meringue disc on a piece of baking paper and top it with half of the lemon custard. Do not spread the custard all the way to the edge; when you place the next disc on top, it will spread. Repeat with another layer of meringue and the remaining ﬁlling, then top with the ﬁnal meringue layer. Wrap gently in foil then freeze for several hours or overnight. This can be done several days ahead. Remove the lemon meringue from the freezer 30 minutes before serving.
Chocolate Orange Cake
3 small thin-skinned oranges
2 cups whole almonds, toasted
2¼ tsp baking powder
14 oz/1¾ cups raw sugar
3½ oz/1 cup cocoa powder
12¾ oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup pure cream (35% fat)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 11-inch springform cake tin.
2. Place oranges in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, then turn down to a simmer for 2 hours, turning occasionally. Remove from the cooking liquid and cool. In the meantime, grind the almonds in a food processor until fine. Set aside.
3. When the oranges are cool, cut into quarters, remove any pips and weigh out 1 lb 4¼ oz. (The rest can be discarded.) Pulp the cooked orange in the food processor until just smooth. Add the ground almonds and all the other ingredients and process until just combined, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula every now and then.
4. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean, bearing in mind it is a moist cake. Allow to cool in the tin.
5. Make the ganache once the cake is cool. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream to almost boiling point, then pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave to cool slightly and then whisk for a few minutes until thick but still able to be spread. Spread over the cake and allow to set.
2¼ cups plain flour
2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup pure cream (35% fat)
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup toasted or sugared almonds, for garnish
Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
10¼ oz/1⅓ cups sugar
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp baking soda
4½ oz butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
1. This recipe is best made the day before serving. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line three or four large baking trays.
2. Put the ﬂour and sugar into a large bowl. Using ﬁngertips, rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until slightly thickened and stir in the egg. Add this to the ﬂour mixture and combine until it comes together as a dough.
3. Divide the dough into 9 pieces. On a lightly ﬂoured surface roll out, one piece at a time, to a thickness of 1/32–1⁄16 inch. Using a 9½ inch circle as a guide, cut a circle from the dough. Lift carefully and place on a prepared tray. Continue until 9 circles have been rolled, cut out and placed on the trays. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20–30 minutes. Check regularly as different shelves of the oven may cook at different temperatures.
4. To make the caramel sauce, melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until all the grains are dissolved and it is a golden brown caramel. Do not stir or move it around, and watch it carefully. Warm the milk a little, stir in the bicarbonate of soda, then slowly pour the milk into the caramel a little at a time, stirring constantly. Don’t worry if the mixture seizes, it will melt again. Bring to the boil over low heat until slightly thickened. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until combined and thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly until thick enough to spoon onto the pastry layers.
5. To assemble, place a drop of the sauce on a cake plate and cover with the ﬁrst disc of pastry.
6. Spoon 2 dessertspoons of caramel over the disc and spread thinly from edge to edge. Top with the next disc and a layer of caramel and continue until all the discs and caramel are used, making sure you keep enough caramel for the top. Spread the remaining caramel over the top disc and garnish with the nuts.
7. Leave the torte to sit, covered, at least overnight before serving.