It’s been a while since I did a #FoodyFriday, due to extenuating circumstances. However, normal service has now resumed in Rubbish Manor – skiing is long gone; AlphaMale has returned from the good old US of A; and our bodily temperatures have returned to normal, following a rather chilly weekend in the Gower last week.
So, what was on the menu this week, I hear you ask? Well, a bit of repetition in some areas, something fairly new in the middle and an outstandingly good invention for dessert. Here goes…
On the menu tonight:
Smoked Salmon Tartlets with watercress and fennel salad; Pan-fried trout with Asparagus and Tarragon sauce; Ginger and Lime cheesecake.
Smoked Salmon Tartlets with watercress and fennel salad.
These little beauties have been hanging around in the freezer since I first made them, so the recipe is on #FoodyFriday January 18th. I have to say, they freeze incredibly well, but the pastry is extremely delicate, so a box is advisable if you want the crust to remain intact. Once defrosted, they were simply popped into a warm oven for 10 minutes or so until warmed through. The salad was as follows:
finely sliced fennel – i used a mandolin
1tbsp white Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 tsp runny honey
1 garlic clove, slightly squashed with a knife blade, but still intact.
Simply whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard and honey. Drop in the crushed garlic and allow to infuse for 15 minutes, before removing, season and use to dress the vegetables.
Pile on a plate and top with a warm tartlet. Drizzle any left over dressing around the plate.
Pan-fried Trout with Asparagus and Tarragon Sauce.
I have to say that looking at the photo, the sauce does look rather messy. But hey, I’m a chef, not a photographer. If I were on MasterChef, Greg and John would be served with the sauce in one of those dinky little sauce boats, but as the only similar thing we possess is a family-sized gravy jug, it seemed a bit like overkill. In hindsight, I would omit the mustard from the crushed new potatoes, as it was slightly too strong for the asparagus sauce, but otherwise, this was a delicious and simple dinner. The potato recipe is a tried and tested one and can be found on #FoodyFriday February 24th.
1 bunch of asparagus spears, roughly chopped
1/2 a small red onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp single cream (optional)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter in a small frying pan and add the chopped asparagus and onion. Cook gently – do not allow the onion to brown – stirring occasionally until the asparagus is starting to soften. Add approximately 1/4 litre of stock and the tarragon, season, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly then scrape the contents of the pan into a blender and whizz until pureed. Push the puree through a sieve into a clean saucepan. If the puree is really thick, add a little more stock until it makes a pourable sauce. Stir in about 1 tbsp of cream if using. Heat gently when ready to serve – do not allow it to boil, as it makes it taste slightly bitter.
Fish Ingredients (serves 2):
a large knob of butter
Season the fish on each side. Melt the butter in a large frying pan until foaming, and carefully add the fish, flesh side down. Cook for 1 minute. Gently turn over, press down gently with a fish slice and cook for 2-3 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove from the pan and keep warm whilst you serve the vegetables.
I have invested in some chef’s rings in a vain attempt to improve the presentation of my cooking, but a large cookie cutter will do exactly the same job.
Lightly grease the rings with oil, and place onto hot dinner plates. Spoon the crushed potato into each ring and press down gently. Remove the rings, place the fish fillets onto the plates and add steamed vegetables of your choice. Drizzle – or glug, in my case – the sauce over and serve.
Ginger and Lime Cheesecake
Technically this is not a cheesecake. In fact, it is the most cheeseless cheesecake that ever existed. However, it does resemble a cheesecake, and one of these days I shall get round to inventing one that does contain cheese. In the meantime, it is spectacularly easy to make and looks amazing, especially when made in individual sizes.
1 oz butter, melted
2oz ginger nut biscuits, crushed
3 fl oz whipping cream
2 tblsp condensed milk
juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
extra zest for decoration
4 squares of dark chocolate
1 tblsp cream.
1 tblsp boiling water
Melt 3 squares of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, stir in the cream and boiling water until a smooth sauce is obtained. Allow to cool slightly.
Gently remove the desserts from the tins/ rings, drizzle over the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining square of chocolate grated, and the extra lime zest.