Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tasting Menu Chez Moi

Mini quiches with gorgonzola and red onion confit.

Parsnip and honey soup shots with spicy crisps.

Celeriac Remoulade*

Tuna ceviche in corn cups.

Baked mini-potatoes with horseradish creme fraiche and smoked salmon.

Mini-corncakes with avocado and lime salsa.

We also at some point had "Cannellini bean bruschette with capers and slow roasted tomatoes" but they were all snaffled up before I could take any pictures.

Blancmange with Basil Coulis*

Mojito Cheesecakes

Both the Remoulde and the Blancmange came from the Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier (author of the food blog of the same name). It's a great book with very original recipes and flavour combinations - including chocolate and zucchini cake.

Celeriac Remoulade
serves 6 as a starter

700g celeriac
200g plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp string Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
  • grate the celeriac - easiest way is in a food processor
  • mix immediately with the yogurt, mustard, lemon juice and garlic in a large bowl
  • season, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour min but ideally for a day
  • I used old beans cans as my mould - simply use a can opener to remove the bottom and you have a cylindrical mould
  • Spoon the remoulade into the moulds and serve immediately

Blancmange with Basil Coulis
serves 4 - or 8-10 of my small servings

Basil Coulis
20g basil leaves
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth
  • keeps for 1 day in the fridge
125g whole blanched almonds, chopped to small chunks
125g whole hazelnuts, chopped to small chunks
375ml milk
250ml cream
70g sugar
1 1/2 sheets gealtine (I used 3 as the sheets I bought were 1/2 the size of my normal ones, it gave a just barely wobbling set).
  • soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for about 10 minutes
  • add the nuts (minus 2 tbsp for decoration) to the milk in a saucepan
  • bring to a simmer, remove from the heat leave to cool (covered) for 10 minutes
  • whisk together the cream and the sugar in a mixing bowl
  • set a sieve over the mixing bowl and strain the milk mixture into the bowl
  • press on the nut to extract as much of the liquid as possible
  • rinse the saucepan and return the milk/cream mixture to it
  • squeeze dry the gelatine leaves and add to the saucepan
  • cook until the mix just starts to simmer
  • strain through the sieve into a mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5 mins
  • transfer to ramekins/glasses and chill until set in the fridge
  • remove from the fridge 5 mins before serving and top with basil coulis

Monday, February 16, 2009

Be My Valentine

I love Tastespotting but over the weekend there were a selection of rather dubious 'Valentine's' offerings, beet sorbet anyone??. The perfect Valentine's dessert should be just that little bit decadent and special, but not necessarily lurid pink. I found the perfect recipe in my Ice Cream Ireland book. I used a pink champagne which added just a hint of subtle colour.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meatless Feast

The word feast usually conjures up images of the traditional 'fatted calf' slaughtered to welcome home the prodigal son. However I think the picture above sums it up better - simply family and friends sharing food, wine and conversation.

On a recent visit home we wanted a 'feast' but having consumed rather too many heavy dinners of late I decided to forgo the meat element of the feast. Of assistance here was my new favourite book from 'Ottolenghi'. I have a rule that a cookbook, however nice, must bring something new to my kitchen before I can justify its purchase and this has certainly earned its place on my shelves of late.

We ate:

Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine

1 large butternut squash
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
10g sliced almonds
salt and pepper

for the sauce
1 medium aubergine
150g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
(1 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses - I left this out I couldn't get any in Wexford but I imagine it would complement the smokiness of the sauce)
  • cut squash into wedges, coat with 2 tbsp olive oil and roast in a 220 deg C oven for 30 mins
  • reduce oven temp to 180 deg C, toast seeds and almonds for 8-10 minutes - Watch carefully these burn easily
  • place the aubergine under a very hot grill for about an hour, turning occasionally, until the skin dries and craks (alternatively this can be done in 15 mins directly on the flame of a gas hob)
  • scoop the flesh out and place in a colander to drain for 10 mins
  • stir together all the sauce ingrediants and place in a bowl in the centre of a serving platter
  • surround the bowl with the squash, scatter over the nuts and seeds and drizzle the remaining olive oil
Courgette Cakes

Marinated Sweet Peppers with Mozzarella

6 sweet peppers
120 ml olive oil
3 tbsp corainder, chopped
3 tbsp parsly, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp cider vinegar
large ball mozarella
salt and pepper
  • preheat the oven to 200 deg C
  • drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil on peppers
  • roast for 15 mins
  • mix together herbs, garlic, vinegar, 80ml oil
  • put warm peppers in a bowl and pour over marinade
  • leave a room temperature for a minimum of 2 hours
  • lay peppers on a serving plate, tear up the mozzarella and scatter over

We also had a tomato and advocao salad, some olives to nibble on and this bread, which was good - but I think I could do a little better so you'll have to wait for the recipe.