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January 20, 2014

Delicious Dinner: A menu


This blog isn’t even a blog anymore, a pity. It’s a rusty old archive of things I cooked and words I wrote in orders and ways that sometimes make me cringe when I read them.

It is useful, though. I love how it takes me on a food-memory excavation, the click-through I can do of things I made and loved.

In this spirit, I might posthumously write up some menus and recipes I’ve done this summer. The favourites, a kind of note or memory-boost to my future self. So that next year, when I sit at this old Hermanus kitchen table, I can click through and take courage.

Notes on Last Night


Canap├ęs:

Biltong cheese straws (Home-made rough puff pasty with egg-wash, and on the other side – blue cheese melted with butter and soy sauce, with fine biltong sprinkled over). Delicate and moreish. I'm not in blog-mode currently so I forgot to take a picture. 

Parmesan crisps with Jane Coxwell’s guacamole and pomegranate seeds. They look like little frogs on parmesan toadstools, and they taste incredible. I mourn every guac I made without fresh ginger in it, thanks to Jane. (Whose cookbook, Fresh Happy Tasty (see here is one of the very best books you can spend money on).


Starter

Crayfish salad with vanilla linguini, tomato, basil, thyme.
Steam crayfish in wine, bay, fennel. Cool, remove tails. Clarify butter, whisk in lemon juice and thyme leaves, coat the crayfish in this. Make vanilla linguini and cook until just done. Fork into centre of plate. Take some beautifully ripe tomatoes, and peel (blanch for only 10 seconds, refresh). Cut into petals. Deep fry skins for garnish. Plate: linguini. Torn fresh basil. Crayfish tail, tomato petals, drizzle some left over lemon butter sauce over. Sprinkle with picked thyme leaves and pop tomato skins on top.

Main course

Miso-marinated beef fillet
I crusted it in sesame seeds – a bad idea. Seeds burn and you can’t sear the meat properly. Still delicious, but leave the seeds off. Fry in sesame oil. Serve with jus that has miso, soy and drippings from pan.
Shoestring sweet  potatoes – a bit labour intensive without a deep fryer. I got over shifting pots of oil around to avoid burns and did half the sweet potato in the oven, so that there were some roasted bits and the crunchy thin chips on top.
Roasted pumpkin with lime, pistachio and cinnamon butter. This was the best idea I’ve had in ages. Pumpkin is so good. It’s so so good. I roasted it until soft, and the butter was comforting but fun at the same time.
Rocket broccoli
From another must-have cookery book The Kitchen by Karen Dudley (see here). I had to go to Banks in Woodstock this week, so I went it to buy a famous Love sandwich (gammon! yes!)  and I met her, Karen.  I just held her hand like some groupie and told her thanks for the recipes, which are a private chef’s godsend. She smiled and laughed and asked for my details so she could pass on work.
The recipe involves boiling (or blanching) broccoli and dousing it in a sauce made of rocket blitzed with olive oil. It’s so simple but it works.

Dessert



I made a recipe from Taste Magazine (the Jan/ Feb issue had loads of delicious things in).
Ginger mousse (which is airy, and actually more like a panna cotta cut into cubes – Italian meringue and cream folded into a gelatine mixture)
With almond biscuits (the recipe calls it’s crumble, but it’s more shortbread. I added fine ginger and cinnamon and cut them into triangles)
And geranium syrup (sugar syrup with geranium simmered in it, which also means you can now garnish with beautiful purple flowers)
And strawberry coulis and fresh strawberries.
The recipe calls for vanilla ice cream too, but I thought there was already enough going on.

With coffee




Blackberry macaroons

I’ve been trying for aeons to get perfect macaroons, with varying degrees of success. This time I used the basic Ottolenghi recipe, added some blackberry essence and purple colouring. For the icing, Philly cream cheese with soft butter and vanilla, with fresh blackberries. It was perfect because they weren’t too sweet but the fresh berries made them a little jammy. I’m about as proud of them as a momma-bear of her cubs.

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