13 September 2010

Supper Club #4

Continuing the feast that was last week I bring you Supper Club #4  (#3 to follow - recipes imminent and not to be missed!).  Supper Club #4 was a truly wonderful feast - thanks Jo.  So good that it is only fair to share these scrumptious morsels!

To start Creamy Courgette and Parmesan Soup.  A bowlful of tasty, creamy, cheesy goodness!

Creamy Courgette and Parmesan Soup


1/4 cup EVOO
1 sliced leek
4 chopped courgettes (zucchini!)
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cream
Salt and pepper
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
Bunch Parsley, chopped


Heat the EVOO in a large heavy based pan on high and then add the courgettes, potatoes and leek. Saute for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and saute another minute.  Stir in the chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Season.  Add cheese, cream, basil and parsley.  Process until smooth with a blender.  Warm and serve.

A super tasty soup and a great start to Supper Club. And we did taste pre cheese and cream...it was delicious then but the addition of the cheese and cream really does make it.  It could be made pre cheese and cream and frozen if making a big batch, then just defrosted and the cheese and cream added before serving.

And then on to the main event...Prosciutto Pork Fillets with a Plum and Ginger Sauce and on the side Parsnip and Pear Puree and Broccoli with Almonds.  Delish!!  The best pork fillet I have had since....well maybe just the best pork fillet!  

I think what really made the difference was the herb and olive oil mixture brushed over the meat.  It kept the pork fillet really moist and added some lovely delicate flavours.  The Plum and Ginger sauce was such a beautiful vibrant colour and tasted just as good as it looked - not much of that left over!  The Parsnip and Pear Puree had a sweetness that just matched so well with the pork fillets, the salty prosciutto and the tartness of the Plum and Ginger Sauce.  Plus a nice change to apples with pork.  This recipe could most definitely become a regular feature as not only as tasty as it sounds but it cooks in 20 minutes!!

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork 


Serves 6-8, depending on size of fillets

2 pork fillets, trimmed
8 slices prosciutto
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cooking apples, optional

Preheat oven to 220 °C.  Combine olive oil, herbs and garlic and brush over the pork fillets.  Season with pepper.  Wrap the pork in the prosciutto.  Place on a lined baking tray. If desired toss a couple of cored and halved apple in the remaining oil mix and scatter around the pork.  Bake for 20 minutes and then let it rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice and serve.


Plum and Ginger Sauce


1 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 grated tart apple
425g tin of Doris Plums in juice.
1 tbsp Cream
Basil, finely chopped.


Saute onion and add garlic, ginger and apple.  Reserve the plum juice.  Remove the stones from the plums and puree.  Add plums to the pan and stir for 2 minutes.  Season and add the reserved juice.  Simmer and reduce by 1 third.  Remove from the heat and add the cream, basil and season well.  Process until smooth and spoon over the sliced pork fillet.

Parsnip and Pear Puree


750g parsnips
1 ripe pear
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
knob of butter
1//3 cup hot cream
1/2 cup hot milk
Salt and pepper

Peel and slice the parsnips and pear.  Cooking boiling salted water until the parsnips are tender.  Drain well and place over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to remove excess moisture...important to get rid of a much as possible or will just turn in to a runny mess!  Mix in the all the other ingredients and stir until smooth.

Broccoli and Almond - Cook broccoli until tender.  Fry off flaked almonds in a little butter and lemon juice and then sprinkle over the broccoli.

But still so much to come!  I did say it was a feast!
Dessert was sublime!  A Sticky Ginger Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce inspired by the fabulous Annabel Langbein.  (New TV Show on TV1 is great and new cook book out too...more fantastic seasonal Kiwi cooking...she just does fantastic books and recipes - if you haven't already you should check it all out here!)
This dessert is a whole new level from Delia Smith's Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Pecan Caramel Sauce...which I really wouldn't have thought possible. These are delicious but I have to say these Sticky Ginger Date Puddings with Caramel Sauce are positively ambrosial!  For super cute little individual puddings just use a lightly greased muffin tin.

Sticky Ginger Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce


200g dates, chopped
1 1/4 cups boiling water
60g butter
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder 
50g crystallised ginger, finely chopped

1 cup cream
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence


Pre heat oven to 180°C. Pour water over the dates and butter and stir to melt. Add baking soda and cool.  Stir in the brown sugar and golden syrup.  Add eggs and vanilla essence and stir well.  Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and finely chopped ginger.  Don't over mix.  Pour in to greased muffin tins for cute individual puddings or a 24cm square tin.  Bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer has come out clean.  
minutes when making one large one.  Just keep an eye on it - you don't want to replicate my first effort at Delia's.  I had what I thought looked like the perfect pudding so I didn't bother with the skewer test.  Big mistake as it was raw in the middle and I don't mean just a little I mean when I was tipping it out the beautiful top just fell off to reveal a gooey uncooked mess in the middle!  On second attempt and a few minutes longer, and the skewer test it was delicious.

For the caramel sauce place all the ingredients in a pan and stir over heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes until reduced.  Serve over the puddings and top with creme fraiche or whipped cream would work too.  The sauce will keep in the fridge for a week, so you could make a little extra if caramel sauce is your thing as I reckon it would be pretty good just warmed up a little and served over some good vanilla ice cream.

But that wasn't all there was more!

Rosemary and Walnut Biscuits with cheese...recipe to come as I am thinking of trying these out this week for Book Club as my turn to host.
Along with the cheese and biscuits we had a Grape and Pinot Jam.  All you need is 2 cups of good Pinot, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 strips orange zest, 500g seedless black grapes, halved and 1 ripe, peeled and diced pear.  Heat the wine, sugar, cinnamon and zest until the sugar dissolves.  Add the grapes and pear and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes until it is thick and syrupy.  Stir occasionally scooping off any surface residue.  Cool and put in to sterilised jars if keeping or just let it cool and serve it up with the cheese.  So simple but such a great addition to a cheese board.  Don't be afraid of jam making!

And to finish things off Homemade After Dinner Mints...so moreish!  And so much better than anything you can by.  A little bit fiddly but well worth the effort and they would make a great little gift at Christmas time.

Homemade After Dinner Mints


50g cream cheese
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp peppermint essence
100g dark chocolate - my favourite is Whittaker's Dark Ghana - see recipe for the Best Ever Chocolate Cake.  But if you like your chocolate a little less bitter just pick one you like.


Mix cream cheese, icing sugar and peppermint essence together well.  Shape in to small coins - roll in to small balls and flatten.  Put on a lined tray and place in the fridge to chill.  Melt the chocolate and keep it warm.  Take peppermint coins out the fridge a few at a time and dip in to the melted chocolate using 2 forks.  Place back on a baking tray and back in the fridge and do in batches until all done.  Just take out the fridge a little while before serving.

The perfect end to a perfect meal...thanks Jo.


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