Eldorado Senior's Birthday Dinner 2009
Working up a nice dinner for Rachel's Dad and his partner Joyce.
This is a tricky exercise,
Dad can't handle too much food at one go as he's not in the best of health,
so we are going for a series of appetizers followed by the
Indoor Barbecue Mixed Kebabs
as a main course,
which Rachel thought her Dad would quite like.
Joyce has refined taste and impressive culinary qualifications herself, though,
so we're looking for at least one
course that's pretty damn awesome.
I'm hoping the Bombers
Smoked Salmon With Horseradish Mousse
500g thinly sliced smoked salmon
150ml double cream, chilled
2 Tbsp freshly grated horseradish, or 3 Tbsps ready-made hot horseradish sauce.
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
pumpernickel or rye bread
lemon wedges (optional)
Put a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill thoroughly.
Whisk the cream in the chilled bowl until it just starts to thicken,
then add the horseradish and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Whisk a little more until thick, but not stiff.
Add a pinch of salt and several twists of pepper,
then set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
Finish by whipping the cream until it is just stiff.
Put into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and refrigerate for about 20 minutes until well chilled.
Cut the smoked salmon into rectangles, 8-10cm wide and 15-20cm long.
Tear off a sheet of cling film, slightly longer than the salmon rectangles.
Lay a smoked salmon rectangle on the cling film with a long side towards you,
leaving at least 3cm cling film free at the front.
Pipe a line of horseradish mousse along the salmon,
2cm from the edge closest to you.
Lift the cling film overhang and roll the salmon around the horseradish mousse to enclose it and form a roll.
Twist the ends of the cling film tightly and tie to form a sausage shape,
then place in the freezer.
Repeat with the rest of the salmon and horseradish mousse.
Unwrap the frozen salmon rolls and cut into 1cm slices.
Allow to defrost at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Serve on squares of pumpernickel or rye bread, with lemon wedges if you like.
Chilled Pumpkin & Ginger Soup
100g unsalted butter
900g peeled, deseeded pumpkin, roughly chopped
generous 20g piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
salt & pepper
50ml dry white wine
1 litre light chicken stock
75ml double cream
40g piece fresh root ginger, peeled
2 Tbsps icing sugar, plus a little extra to dust
oil, to deep-fry
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan.
Add the chopped pumpkin, ginger, sugar and 1 tsp salt.
Stir, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and sweat over a low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and continue cooking to reduce the liquid until the pumpkin is almost dry.
Add the white wine and reduce by two-thirds. Add the chicken stock.
You can cool and hold the soup at this stage for a day or so if you like.
Skim off the fat and reheat gently to continue the recipe.
Add the cream and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Cool slightly, then whizz in a blender until smooth.
Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Reheat to serve hot or leave to cool, cover and chill.
Cut the ginger into julienne (or fine matchstick strips) and place in a bowl.
Add the icing sugar, toss to coat and allow to stand for 45 minutes, turning from time to time.
Tip the ginger into a strainer, rinse under cold running water to remove the sugar and dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
Heat 4-5cm depth of oil in a small, deep, heavy pan to 150°C.
Add the ginger julienne and deep-fry for 10 seconds, then remove immediately and drain on kitchen paper.
Dust lightly with icing sugar.
Check the seasoning, then ladle the soup hot, or into chilled bowls, and garnish with the crystallized ginger.
Pan-Fried Gnocchi With Tomato Fondue & Parmesan
3 large baking potatoes, such as Desirée or King Edward,
about 800g in total
125g plain flour, sifted
125g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 whole egg, plus 2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp finely chopped chives
5 large plum tomatoes
1 small bunch of thyme sprigs
1 small bunch of rosemary sprigs
4 Tbsps olive oil
½ onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cracked
salt & pepper
30g plain flour, to dust
60g unsalted butter
50g Parmesan cheese, shaved
Preheat the oven to 200°C (190°C fan oven) (Gas 6).
Prick the potato skins, then put the potatoes on a baking tray
and bake for about 1½ hour until tender.
Leave to cool, then halve and scoop out the flesh.
Pass this through a potato ricer or a medium sieve into a bowl.
Add the flour, Parmesan, egg, egg yolks and chives.
Mix thoroughly, using an electric mixer
, and season with salt to taste.
Lay a large sheet of all-purpose cling film on a work surface.
Spoon a 15-20cm length of gnocchi mixture along the front edge, leaving a good length of cling film free at both ends.
Roll the mixutre tightly in the cling film, then twist and tie the ends to secure.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the gnocchi rolls in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in iced water.
Make a small cross incision on the base of each tomato,
immerse in boiling water for 5 seconds, then remove and refresh in iced water.
Peel away the skins and roughly chop the tomatoes.
Tie the herb sprigs together in muslin or with string.
Put a medium saucepan over a low heat and pour in the olive oil.
Add the onion, garlic, herbs and a pinch of salt.
Cover and sweat for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft,
then add the chopped tomatoes.
Gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally,
until the tomato fondue is well reduced, thick and pulpy.
Check the seasoning remove the garlic and set aside.
Unwrap the cooked gnocchi,
cut into 2-3cm lengths and dust with flour.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the butter and heat until melted and light brown,
then add the gnocchi and cook,
turning occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
In the meantime, warm the tomato fondue in the microwave, or a small pan over low heat.
Drain the gnocchi on kitchen paper and arrange on a serving tray,
and top each one with a little tomato fondue and sliver of shaved Parmesan.
Serve warm, as an elegant canapé.
Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Bread
Makes 2 Loaves
400g/14 oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
200ml/7 fl oz lukewarm water
4 Tbsps olive oil, plus extra for dusting
55g/2 oz black olives, stoned and sliced
55g/2 oz green olives, stoned and sliced
100g/3½ oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
1 egg yolk, beaten
Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the yeast, sugar and thyme.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the lukewarm water and olive oil.
Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together,
then knead with your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead in the olives and sun-dried tomatoes,
then knead for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Brush a bowl with oil.
Shape the dough into a ball, put it in the bowl and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp tea towel.
Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Dust a baking sheet with flour.
Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knock back with your fist.
Cut it in half and with lightly floured hands, shape each half into a round or oval.
Put them on the prepared baking sheet and put the baking sheet into a plastic bag or cover with a damp tea towel.
Leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Mark 3 shallow diagonal slashes on top of each loaf and brush with the beaten egg yolk.
Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base with your knuckles.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Leek & Red Onion Tartlets
200g shortcrust pastry
flour, to dust
30g unsalted butter
2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large leek, split lengthways, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 tsp chopped sage
salt and pepper
12 thin slices of chorizo sausage
Preheat the oven to 200°C (190°C fan oven) Gas 6.
Dust the surface lightly with flour and roll out the pastry to a 3-4mm thickness.
Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes.
Cut out discs and use to line a tray of tartlet moulds, 6-8cm in diameter.
Prick the bases with a fork, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans,
cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the cling film and bake the tartlet cases blind for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat.
Add the red onions, leek, garlic and sage, and season generously with salt and pepper.
Stir, then cover and sweat for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Drain on kitchen paper.
Spoon the warm leek and onion mixture into the tartlet cases.
Roll each chorizo slice into a cornet and place on top.
vine tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered
ascorbic or citric acid powder
cherry tomatoes, peeled, deseeded
thinly sliced lemon peel (optional)
Peel and deseed the lovely, fat, juicy, burgundy vine tomatoes and cut into quarters.
Place on parchment on a baking sheet in the lowest possible oven and
leave overnight or for 24 hours until they are completely dried out.
Grind the dried tomato to powder in a mortar.
Mix around one teaspoon of ascorbic or citric acid and half a teaspoon of bicarb with two teaspoons of ground tomato powder.
You can add a little icing sugar if this is too sour.
Peel and hollow out the cherry tomatoes, fill with mashed-up Roquefort.
Sit the tomatoes up in a grill-proof dish, and grill until the Roquefort begins to melt and crisp up on top.
You can scatter with lemon peel either before or after grilling if you like
Serve each tomato bomb on an individual dessert spoon.
A white one if you could get some.
Dust a layer of sherbet at the end of the spoon, and place the cherry tomato in the bowl.
Eat in one motion, allowing the sherbet to fizz on the tongue briefly before the cherry tomato bomb arrives.
Cannellini Beans and White Truffle Oil Soup
I know, I know. Truffle oil is shit and doesn't really contain any truffle.
The soup still tastes delicious.
Go ahead and infuse your own oil if it makes you feel better.
100g haricot or cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight
1 whole garlic bulb
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 sprig each of rosemary, thyme and parsley
200g piece smoked bacon
2 litres light chicken stock
100g unsalted butter
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 lemon thyme sprig
150ml double cream
1 Tbsp truffle oil, plus extra to drizzle
finely sliced chives
Drain the pre-soaked beans, put them into a large saucepan and cover with fresh cold water.
Bring to the boil, then drain and return the beans to the pan.
Cut the garlic bulb in half crossways (through the cloves)
and add one half to the pan with the onion, carrot, rosemary, thyme and parsley.
Roughly chop half of the bacon and add to the pan.
Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender,
about 1½-2 hours.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquor.
Discard the herb sprigs, vegetables and garlic.
Peel and finely chop the other half of the garlic.
Dice the remaining garlic.
Melt 80g of the butter in a large pan, then add the chopped garlic,
diced bacon, shallots and lemon thyme.
Stir, then cover and sweat over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the shallots are soft but not coloured.
Now add the reserved bean cooking liquor to the soup base,
together with half of the beans
and the cream.
Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Cool slightly, then tip into a blender and whiz until smooth.
Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan or bowl.
Adjust the seasoning, then stir in the truffle oil.
(The soup can be prepared ahead to this stage and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days;
refrigerate the whole beans separately).
Whiz the soup, using a hand-held blender to froth just before pouring into small serving cups.
Top with a sprinkling of chopped chives.
Ma Hor on Pineapple
starter meat fish
makes about 20
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped coriander root
½ teaspoon green peppercorns (pickled)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 spring onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
5½ oz (150g) minced (ground) pork
2½ oz (75g) minced prawn meat
½ teaspoon finely chopped kaffir lime (makrut) leaves
1½ Tablespoons palm sugar (jaggery)
1½ Tablespoons fish sauce
1 pineapple, quartered, core removed
2 red chillies, seeded and finely sliced to garnish
Shell then finely chopped your fresh prawns.
Place the garlic, coriander, peppercorns, ginger,
spring onions and oil in a food processor and pulse until a smooth paste is formed.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the pork and prawn meat, stirring occasionally, until the meat has coloured.
Add the kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar and fish sauce,
reduce the heat and cook until slightly sticky.
Allow to cool slightly.
Slice the quartered pineapple in ½" (1cm) thick triangles,
top with the cooled mixture and garnish with chilli.
White Chocolate Crème Brûlée
Makes 4 Servings
4 oz White Chocolate Baking Bar
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
⅓ cup plus 4 teaspoons granulated white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
½ real vanilla pod, split
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until smooth.
In 2-quart saucepan, bring whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat with the vanilla pod.
Remove the pod once the cream is infused.
Add the white chocolate (chopped in small pieces) to simmering whipping cream.
Turn off heat and whisk until white chocolate is melted.
Add 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture,
whisking continually to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Add the remaining white chocolate whisking continuously.
Whisk until smooth.
Pour into four 6" ramekins or custard cups.
Place the cups in a 9"x13" baking pan.
Add enough hot water so the cups sit in 1 to 1½ inches of water.
Bake for about 45 minutes until set.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight.
For a delicious crunchy surface:
Sprinkle the tops of the crème brûlée with 1 teaspoon of sugar and place under broiler until caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes.