Holy Canelloni Batman

  • Recipe(s):Honeycomb Cannelloni (page 76) & My Nan’s Lemon Drizzle Cake (page 383)
  • Prep: Intensive & Moderate
  • Taste: Good & Ok

Back in early May we had some friends and their 1 year old over for a Saturday lunch. This gave us another opportunity to check off a couple of recipes from the challenge. Being that one of our guests was a whopping 6′ 7″ tall, we had to go big or he would go home, so we decided on making the honeycomb cannelloni (not to be confused with canolli) and a lemon cake. Both recipes presented their challenges but in the end both turned out pretty good.

The one problem, which we have come up with time and again, is that there are so many different pots and pans required when taking on a challenge of this sort. For example, both of these recipes required a pot or pan that we did not have, so we had to improvise. For the cannelloni I took the plastic handles off of the largest pot we owned (so that it could go in the oven) and for the cake, rather than using a spring-form pan, we just used a regular one. We had already gone out and bought other cake pans and felt no need to increase our supply further. If we didn’t live in 600sq feet it may have been different.

Anyway, back to the recipes. The prep for the cannelloni takes quite a long time. There are multiple ingredients that need to be chopped into a fine dice. Thankfully, I was able to cut down on the chopping time by chucking all of the ingredients into the Kitchen Ninja and using the pulse function to get everything to the required dice. It actually worked surprisingly well. After you get through this step the sauce just ticks away on the oven-top for an hour or so. I actually added too much liquid to the sauce so I had to skim a bit off near the end so that it was the proper consistency. The cheese sauce that is used as the base, along with the spinach, which is an added layer, are very easy to put together. I actually used the Kitchen Ninja again to whip the cheeses together and get a proper consistency. It worked very well again. After this I came to the dreaded part of the recipe, filling the cannelloni noodles. Anyone who has done this before can attest to the fact that this normally sucks. It takes forever! Not so in this recipe though. Because the noodles are placed vertically in the large pot you actually fill half of them by pushing them down into the sauce and then pouring the remaining sauce over the top. I had to move some sauce around to get them fully filled but it took half the time of the traditional approach.

I didn’t do too much of the prep for the cake, aside from tipping a bowl of lemon drizzle over it just prior to serving. As with most cakes though, if you follow the recipe, it will turn out. We used self raising flour, which the recipe calls for but for some reason the cake was still very dense. We have found that the two times we have used this particular flour it has not turned out too well. I think we need to go to an actual bake shop to find out where to buy proper self raising flour, or not be lazy and make our own!

Onto the taste…..

The cannelloni was very interesting. It looked and had the consistency of a meat sauce, but did not contain one ounce of meat. It was made entirely of vegetables! I think it is the only recipe in the book that does not contain meat, aside from most of the salads. The addition of porcini mushrooms really took it to the next level. The base ingredients would have been fine on their own but the porcini added a real earthiness to the whole dish. It was amazing how little you needed to use. The combination of cheese that was used added the perfect amount of saltiness to the rest of the dish. All in all, it was a good dish. It made a massive amount, so we had left overs for the next few days, which doesn’t bother me one bit.

I would rank this middle of the way on the flavour to effort scale, while it was very tasty, it required a lot of time to prepare.

The cake……was not quite as good. As I mentioned earlier, it was very, very dense. It was actually more like the consistency of a bagel, rather than a cake. That being said, the lemon flavour in the cake was brilliant. It wasn’t overly mouth puckering and had a nice sweetness from the sugar. If the cake had been a little bit fluffier more of the drizzle would have been absorbed, which would have made this a very good cake. However, I’m not sure we’d make it again because it was somewhat time consuming to prep. As it was, I would rate is as OK and put it on the lower end of the flavour to effort scale.

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