Maximum Effect with Minimum Effort…

Pesto Chicken with Cheesy Dumplings The aim to achieve the maximum effect with the minimum of effort has always been a useful mantra for me, at least in the kitchen department. One has to assume, naturally, that it’s a wholly positive, good effect that one is striving for.

In my experience a perfect cheese or a fish soufflĂ© is easy (honestly!) but whenever I produce one everybody falls off their chairs with amazed admiration – I assume it’s not surprise. It’s the same funnily enough with meringues which, again, I find could hardly be easier…

So do you not agree with my line of thinking: if you can easily achieve something tasting absolutely delicious why on earth sweat for hours over something that in the end probably tastes no more pleasing? I have a store of ‘maximum effect for minimum effort’ favourite recipes which slowly, slowly, will emerge in the marionfsblog. All are trusted favourites so in a way I will be giving away all my secrets but I am more than happy to do so. Good food is about sharing, after all.

All are trusted favourites, and trust me, not one is difficult, although a chicken and pesto casserole with cheese and pine nut dumplings, see above, adapted from a BBC Good Foods recipe, that I made last night looks as if it might be, simply because there are rather a lot of ingredients. The actual process is deceptively easy; the result more than pleasing!

Less instantly pleasing last night was my baked lemon cheesecake, also adapted from a BBC Good Foods recipe. It looked delicious, was very easy to make… The appropriate maximum effect-induced ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ ensued, but were abruptly silenced by a loud clang as my cake slicer slipped through the feathery texture. I had no idea what this obstacle was and was actually quite relieved when eventually was revealed a shining stainless steel fitting that must have fallen into the mixture from my nearly brand new Kitchen Aid mixer!

I love that kind of laughter when you can’t stop, and end up almost crying with the fun of it all… And while we were completely distracted by our mirth nobody noticed John silently sneaking to a kitchen drawer, so just as we were recovering ourselves the laugher erupted anew when he professed horror to have found an icing nozzle in his slice.

When we got over all this hysteria, I must assure you that actually the cheesecake was very lemony and delicious and apart from the odd unwelcome obstacle mostly wonderfully light. As a very-easy-make-the-night-before recipe all being well it too will be revealed eventually but do check nothing has fallen off your mixer before putting it in the oven. (That’s another useful tip.)

It’s been a funny few days. You’ll have to wait a couple more days whilst I recollect myself, before I confide in you about John’s recent wedding, as announced to the world on Facebook.

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Marion Fuller-Sessions

Retired and downsized, and sadly now widowed, but keeping in touch with family and friends and friends far and wide via my blog