UPDATE ON 9 SEPT: The winner of the book giveaway is @enigmeg! Thanks to all who entered.
Some people are way better than others at simply going with the flow. These are the people who refuse to lie awake at night worrying what the global financial crisis is doing to their pension funds and simply assume that something will sort itself out when the day comes. These are the people who decide they have always wanted to live in Paris and then one day pack their bags and arrive there, suitcase in hand, with no job and no house but a lot of optimism. These are the people who do a 6 week road trip across America and do not book a single hotel in advance, preferring to sleep wherever they happen to end up at the end of each day.
I am not one of those people.
The very idea of all that uncertainty makes me break out in hives. I plan pretty much everything down to the last letter because… ummm… I am a mild control freak? Probably. And when a friend asked me to be her official photographer at her wedding last weekend, I set about the project as thoroughly as I would any other planning exercise. I looked at hundreds of wedding photos on the internet to get inspiration and ideas. I researched and bought the right flash and the right tripod for the job. I had my second camera serviced so that it was ready as a backup. I asked my husband to be my second shooter, taking pics of the groom and groomsmen getting ready, and the church before arrived with the bride. I travelled to Lincolnshire in June for a test shoot, trying out all sorts of locations in the gardens around the venue, making sure the light was good, and trying out angles for the creative shoot. I was ready.
But as Robert Burns wrote, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. You’d think that if you planned a wedding for the Summer Bank Holiday weekend in August, you could be reasonably certain of good weather, wouldn’t you? Hah. The day of the wedding dawned not only grey but also wet. Very wet. My husband was commandeered early on in the day to fetch and carry things, so was never around to hold an umbrella over me and my increasingly wet camera. The registrar told me approximately 5 minutes before the wedding that no flash photography was allowed during the ceremony (in a very dark venue). It was too wet to go outside so we could not use a single shot we had planned in the creative shoot. All the group shots which were due to have been taken in lovely dappled light outside had to be relocated to a dark room in the castle – the same room in fact where the other 115 noisy guests were having their drinks reception, wandering into my shots, and stealing the chair that I was standing on. It was like a trailer for a movie “When Planning Goes Bad”! But will it curb my addiction to planning? Never
(In case you are wondering, depite the odds I did manage to get some great shots of the day – a few of them will appear in Saturday Snapshots this week if you are curious!)
Vanessa Kimbell is another inveterate planner. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of her recently published book Prepped, billed as a new, time-saving, inspirational and delicious way of cooking. Vanessa starts with a selection of flavours (lemon, cardamom, lavender, elderflower, chocolate etc.) and then creates basic recipes around them. The clever part is that each recipe is the foundation of two finished dishes: a chocolate ganache becomes truffles or gelato; or double up on a fruit cobbler topping and make scones. The idea is that by linking your recipes and planning ahead you can produce delicious food in less time; and that by layering a selection of signature flavours you can transform your everyday cooking into something special.
The asparagus, anchovy, lemon and caper quiche recipe I am posting today is one of three of hers using similar ingredients (the other two are a lemony asparagus couscous salad; and a grilled asparagus pannini). It’s not for the faint-hearted as the flavours are deliciously bold and fresh. I love sweet, green asparagus and in this recipe they really shine, paired with the contrasting salty anchovies and capers. And don’t stint on the lemon zest as it adds a wonderful lift to the other flavours.
ASPARAGUS, ANCHOVY, LEMON & CAPER QUICHE (serves 4 as a starter)
1 pack ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
1 large bunch of asparagus (young, thin spears are best)
50g tin of anchovies in olive oil
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
40g fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
3 large eggs
140ml milk or cream
Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Roll out the pastry and press into a greased/non-stick ovenproof quiche dish or springform pan about 25cm in diameter. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 7 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C (350F).
Allow the crust to cool for a moment, then scatter the chopped asparagus, anchovies, capers, Parmesan and lemon zest over the pastry crust, reserving a little of the cheese and zest for the top. Whisk together the milk/cream and eggs in a bowl and pour into the crust. Top with the reserved cheese and lemon zest and bake for 25– 30 minutes until the filling is puffy and golden. Serve with salad and a dry rosé wine.
I have a copy of Vanessa Kimbell’s Prepped to give away. If you would like a chance to win it, there are a number of ways that you can enter yourself into the draw – and you can enter in all four way described below to increase your chances!
- Subscribe to the CookSister e-mail Newsletter using this link and leave me a comment here saying you’ve done so.
- Tweet the following text - and then leave a second comment here saying you’ve done so and including your Twitter ID:
Want to win a copy of @VanessaKimbell’s book Prepped? @cooksisterblog http://bit.ly/oMpb8U Please RT!
- Follow CookSister on Networked Blogs on Facebook and leave a comment here saying you have done so.
- Follow @cooksisterblog on Twitter and leave me a comment here to say you have done so (or just leave a comment telling me you are already following @cooksisterblog on Twitter!), and include your Twitter ID.
- A separate comment must be left for each method of entry in order for them to be counted as multiple entries into the prize draw.
- The prize can only be shipped to an address in the UK, Europe, US or South Africa
- The deadline for entries is MIDNIGHT YOUR TIME ON THURSDAY 8 SEPTEMBER
And while you are here… please don’t forget to send me your favourite braai or BBQ recipes by 23 September for Braai the Beloved Country, my annual event celebrating summery outdoor cooking. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the post for the rules!