ON THE MENU TONIGHT: Individual Tomato & Mozarella Tartlets; Oven Baked Hake with Winter Vegetable Ratatouille & Beurre Blanc; Hot Chocolate Fondants
The tartlets can be made ahead and refrigerated until cooking is required; the ratatouille can also be prepared the day before and stored in cold water in the fridge. The fondants can either be used fresh; refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen and cooked straight from the freezer – just add an extra 2 minutes to the cooking time if you choose this method.
Tomato and Mozzarella Tartlets
These really are incredibly simple to make, but stunningly beautiful on the plate. I usually make a full size one for lunch, but this is the recipe cut down to serve 2 as a starter. The actual recipe is on Take Two – A Taste of summer, but if you’re having any trouble finding it from the menu bar, let me know. The tartlets were served with a few arty leaves and a good squirt of balsamic glaze, which works really well with the flavour of the tart.
Oven Baked Hake with Winter Vegetable Ratatouille & Beurre Blanc
Once again, this is a tried and tested favourite. I know, I’m getting lazy, but once you’ve found a good thing, it’s hard not to cook it again. The recipe is on Dinner a Deux 2, but I didn’t include a potato fondant this time, as it makes quite a large meal, so instead I added some cubed potato to the Winter Ratatouille.
Hot Chocolate Fondants
This time I tried a new recipe, which I found on the BBC Good Food website. It seemed to work really well; here’s a link if you want to see it
50g melted butter, for brushing
cocoa powder, for dusting
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
200g butter, in small pieces
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 yolks
200g plain flour
Eight metal pudding moulds or ramekins – moulds work better.
Carefully prepare the moulds to prevent sticking: brush the melted butter over inside and place in the fridge for 5 minutes. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa out.
Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture a third at a time, beating well, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
Tip the batter into a jug, and evenly divide between the moulds.
Freeze at this stage.
Place the fondants on a baking tray at 200c, then cook for 10 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven and turn out onto serving plates. Dust with icing sugar and add a spoonful of creme fraiche or ice cream on the side.