“Stop playing with your food,” my mother would tell her small, fussy-eater daughter as I pushed it around the plate finding yet another things that I’d decided I didn’t like. I’m still a fussy eater but nowadays I can enjoy ‘playing around’ with food as much as I want to …always assuming I can get hold of the ingredients. For the time being I’m conserving eggs, at least until I see whether Monday brings me the ones I’ve ordered in my shopping delivery. I’ve been looking at recipes for eggless cakes and biscuits and remembered that in the past I’d made a vegan lemon cake but found it rather stodgy and heavy. A chocolate cake was recommended the other day, so that’s on my list to try, but first Husband fancied biscuits.
I came across Zaletti, (pronounced with a soft z, more like an s) which are small, crumbly Venetian biscuits made with polenta (cornmeal) and raisins. Traditionally the raisins are soaked in Grappa, a high-volume alcohol which is made from the leftover skins, seeds and pulp of grapes that have been pressed for winemaking. In fact the zaletti recipe did contain egg, but only one and it promised around 40 biscuits which seemed good value so a single egg was sacrificed to the mixing bowl. I didn’t have Grappa (does anyone?) and debated over the various other bottles of alcohol in the cupboard finally settling on Amaretto.
Although some other zaletti recipes (I’ve since looked them up) show pictures of round biscuits, the one I was using, torn from the Sunday supplement several months ago but never before used, said that they should be walnut sized and shaped. The mixture is devilishly crumbly to handle but I ended up with 38 ‘walnuts’ so I reckon I got them about right. Whilst they don’t look pretty, they taste okay and I like the crumbly texture which probably comes from the polenta. How come Husband gets three to my single one? Oh I know – Slimming World! When I removed them from the baking tray there were lots of crumbly bits left so I gathered them up and put them in a dish ready to use later.
We don’t eat dessert very often but I needed to use up some apples. I’d usually make an apple cake but the egg dilemma reared its head again so the apples were cored, filled with sultanas, drenched in the leftover Amaretto (from draining the soaked sultanas used in the zaletti), baked and served with ice cream and the zaletti crumbs and if that’s not making use of leftovers, I don’t know what is!
A while ago I’d accidentally picked up a pack of frozen Mediterranean vegetables (I can’t remember what I’d thought I was buying). We’d eaten some but, although we love such a mixture, found the frozen version a bit too mushy. The rest had languished in the freezer for a couple of months so I mixed it with grated cheese and one of those precious eggs , defrosted a piece of shortcrust pastry (I always cut it into quarters before freezing it) and made three individual quiches. I’d expected to make two so the extra one was a bonus. The pastry trimmings were used for a few cheese straws, and very nice they were.