16 September 2010

Supper Club #3

Supper Club #3 seems an age ago!  Pre Raro, pre retreat and obviously pre Supper Club #4.  It was another night of great food, good vino and of course the fabulous company of the Supper Club Girls.

Keep Calm and Carry On.  Just love this print - love the sentiment.  Kind of a works as a mantra for the kitchen too especially if you feel impending culinary disasters are imminent.  Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British Government in 1939 during the beginning of World War 2, to raise the morale of the British public in the case of invasion.  It was meant as a "last case scenario" to be used only should the Nazis succeed in invading Britain, in order to stiffen resolve-all very stiff upper lip. It was little known and never used.  In 2000, a copy of the poster was rediscovered in a second hand bookshop in Northumberland and since Crown Copyright expires on artistic works created by the UK government after 50 years, the store's owners, Stuart and Mary Manley, were able to reprint copies at customers' requests.  Apparently there are even copies in Buckingham Palace and Downing Street. According to Wikipedia they have sold have sold some 41,000 Keep Calm and Carry on posters and if you want one you can get it here along with all sorts of paraphernalia.

Back to the beautiful dinner. To kick things off Grilled Mushroom and Prosciutto Stack.  An elegant and light starter, so a great way to whet the appetite. The salty feta and prosciutto a perfect foil for the meaty field mushrooms and then to finish it off a little spicy kick from the peppery rocket and the final touch a little truffle oil.  For a good truffle infused olive oil try the Village Press, great value and a great substitute for the full Monty which can be just a little pricey!

Love mushrooms, but they do dry out quickly so they are best stored in a paper (rather than plastic) bag and they will keep for a few days in the fridge.  Avoid washing mushrooms as they will become absorb the water and become more than a tad soggy, not very pleasant. Just gently wipe off any dirt or if very grubby peel the skin off.  Generally the flatter a mushroom is, the older it is.  Tight little button mushrooms are the youngest.  Older mushrooms have a stronger more pungent and definitely tastier cooked rather than raw.

So pretty...and tasty too.
Grilled Mushroom and Prosciutto Stack


Field Mushrooms                                    
Olive Oil (garlic infused or EVOO)
Goat Feta                                           
Truffle Oil                                              
Salt and Pepper


Pre heat oven to 180°C.  Remove skins from field mushrooms and brush with garlic olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender. Dress rocket lightly with truffle oil and season with salt and pepper. A little dressing goes a long way. It should just gently coat all the delicate little rocket leaves rather than drown them.
Lay prosciutto onto the middle of each plate. Place roasted mushroom on top. Crumble the goat feta on top of the mushroom and place rocket on top of that.  Voila! Simple, tasty elegance!
For main course we moved on to Pistachio Salmon - this was divine and one I will doing again, and again and again - it could well make the favourites list.  Such a great way to do salmon.  The pistachio butter is wicked - taste and calorie ways!  But well worth it and hey you are being good having fish and cauliflower and horseradish puree in place of potatoes!!  The butter is decadent but with the texture of the pistachios and the acid of the lime to cut through it and the salmon...seriously good.  Easy to make and could easily be the star at any dinner party.

Pistachio Salmon


Pistachio Butter
1 cup shelled pistachios                          
300gms softened butter, cubed
Rind & juice of 2 limes                            
1 cup basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped               
Salt & pepper

Salmon - 8 fillets                                   
White wine 

Process all of the ingredients for the butter in a food processor until a paste is formed. The butter can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Just bring back to room temperature before spreading on the salmon.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Lay the salmon fillets in a roasting dish and fill the pan with white wine until a third of the way up the side of the salmon. Bake for 10-12 minutes until top of salmon is opaque. 
Remove the salmon from the oven. Turn oven onto grill and smear a generous crust (don’t be shy) of the butter paste all over the salmon. Grill for a further 5-8 minutes till a crust is formed. Keep an eye on it, as it will burn easily. The salmon should be medium rare. As per seafood school always just under cook fish and seafood as it will continue to cook out of the oven / grill.  However, if the salmon isn’t cooked to your liking, cover with tin foil and pop back in oven on  back for a couple more minutes.
Serve with steamed green beans or asparagus and cauliflower and horseradish puree - recipe below.
Cauliflower and Horseradish Puree


1 Head Cauliflower                                 
½ cup  Cream
Salt and White Pepper
Chicken Stock (oxo cubes or powder is fine) 


Break up the cauliflower and cook in chicken stock until tender. Drain really well and place back on cook top to steam off as much moisture as possible, as we want silky, creamy puree and not a runny, watery one.  Meanwhile warm the cream in a saucepan.
Puree the cauliflower with a stick blender (or place in blender).  Slowly add the cream and add the horseradish - 2-3 tablespoons is about right but feel free to add more or less depending on your taste.  It all depends if you want the horseradish to be the dominant flavour - personally I love the sharp bite of horseradish. Season with loads of salt and white pepper. Don't be shy with the seasoning.

For dessert one of my all time favourites - Creme Brulee and this one with rhubarb...a delightful little surprise under the creamy vanilla brulee.  It is one of my favourites yet I have never made it.  So thinking I must make it a personal challenge to overcome my fear of trying to.  For me it has always just seemed one of those difficult desserts that I have put in the scary basket along with souffle and pavlova or meringues.  So many delicious fears to overcome, but I am more than up for the challenge.

Loved this one.

Creme Brulee with Rhubarb


Bunch of rhubarb                                                 
2 tbsp sugar
10 egg yolks                                          
1 litre cream
150g sugar                                            
2 vanilla bean pods
Caster sugar for garnish 

Slice up the rhubarb and place in a saucepan with 2 tbsp sugar and stew until cooked down.  Place 2 tbsp of the rhubarb mixture in the base of each of the ramekins or enough to cover the base. Preheat oven to 100°C.
Split vanilla beans and place in saucepan with the cream.  Bring to boil and remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large clean bowl until pale and creamy.
Pour the cooled boiled cream over the egg yolk mixture. Whisk well.  Pass through a sieve and rest for 10 minutes.
Skim the surface bubbles off the mixture and discard.  
Pour the mixture into the ramekins and place in a baking tray, carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until they are still slightly wobbly in centre.
Cool and refrigerate for up to 5 hours.
Sprinkle each ramekin with caster sugar until well covered and using a blowtorch, caramelise the sugar on top or if no blow torch place under the grill for a few moments. Leave for a moment or 2 to allow the caramel to harden..it ain't no creme brulee without the crack of caramel. 

More foodie delights from Supper Club, thanks Pip.


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