[RIDICULOUSLY LATE, THIS IS FOR MY FAVORITE GIRLS BACK IN BELGIUM 😉 ]
The third meeting of our little IGS Project took place this Thursday @N’s crib. SMcG was originally scheduled to host, but last minute complications made that impossible so N. graciously stepped in to save the day.
By 18.30 we were all in place -ingredients lined up and ready to go. Myself and SMcG were to prepare the salad and main course, S. & N. would make the dessert and K. was in charge of keeping us all well liquored and snack-happy until dinner time…Apart from an ill-fated first attempt to prepare the salad (blame it on me never having cooked using gas before in my life…) everything went smoothly and our little feast was served amongst laughter and general merriment a couple of hours later.
So, as promised, here go the recipes (complete with pics) for the hidden chef in all of you. Enjoy…
Salad & Main Course
Spinach Salad with Warm Lemon Mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1tsp white wine vinegar
2tbsp golden caster sugar
250g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
200g baby spinach
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
75g walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped
60g parmesan, roughly grated (alternatively use parmesan shavings)
Heat 5tbsp olive oil with the garlic for 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, simmer for about 1 minute and then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are softened -about 4 minutes. Put the spinach in a big bowl. Scatter the red onion, walnuts and cheese over. Pour the warm mushrooms on top and mix just before serving.
Accompany the salad with a bowl of extra Parmesan shavings.
Mini Veggie Pasties
1 small (about 150g) orange sweet potato (kumara), peeled & coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled & finely chopped
1 desiree potato, peeled & finely chopped
80g frozen peas
125g can corn, rinsed & drained
40g cheddar, coarsely grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
3 sheets (25cm) ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry, just thawed
2tsp sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 240C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Cook sweet potato in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, transfer to a heatproof bowl and use a fork to mash until smooth. Set aside to cool. Cook carrot & potato in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Add carrot mixture, peas, corn, cheese and 1 egg to sweet potato and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Use a 12cm-diameter pastry cutter to cut 12 disks from pastry sheets. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly among pastry disks. Brush edges of pastry lightly with remaining egg. Fold pastries in half to enclose filling. Use fingertips (or a fork) to gently press together in order to seal. Place on the lined tray & lightly brush with remaining egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven & set aside to cool.
You can also choose to freeze the pasties (to enjoy on a later date). Place in airtight container in the freezer. To defrost, place individual pasties in the fridge for 4 hours. Remove and cook according to instructions.
Cranberry Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream & Warm, Melted Chocolate Sauce
6 pears, peeled, halved & without the core
250 grams of cranberries (fresh or de-frosted)
1-1.5 litres of cranberry juice (you need enough to cover the fruit)
Sugar -as much as desired
1 to 2 tubes of rich, vanilla ice-cream (ie. Haagen-Dazs Vanilla)
Milk or dark chocolate drops for the sauce
Pre-heat the oven to 150-180C. Lay each peeled, halved pear flat in an oven dish. Cover with the cranberry juice & the cranberries, then sprinkle with sugar to taste. Cook for 2 hours. About 20 minutes before you take them out of the oven, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bain marie. Then, once the pears are ready and very slightly chilled, serve with scopps of vanilla ice-cream (you can place one in each pear) and cover with melted, chocolate sauce. Eat immediately.
You want the pears and chocolate to be less than hot, or the ice-cream will immediately melt & you will end up with the result seen in the above picture. Trust us. We, literally, learnt by “trial and error” 😉