Dinner No 12 hosted by Jo: February 2013
“OMG it’s my turn” was the thought that hit having enjoyed another gorgeous dinner at Ellie’s! Having put 8ate to the back of my mind, suddenly the date had been set, the guests invited & my chef’s hat dusted off to come up with a menu for a wintery February night. Recipe books researched, old recipe files found & flicked through, friends consulted & finally the menu began to take shape. Being a foodie & having had a brief time as a chef on a yacht where I loved searching out the local produce ashore, ‘Going Local & Seasonal ‘was a natural theme. We’re lucky enough to live in a plethora of delicious produce it seemed silly to not make the most of it. Local Adsdean & Funtington Farm Shops were visited; friends’ allotments, neighbours garden’s rummaged & hen’s eggs pinched! Alongside this two of my oldest & best friends provided the pheasants & award winning Milton cider for the main dish – making it a brother & sister Perryman act: Beater Jane chatting up the game keeper for a few braces on Elsted’s last shoot of the season & brother Ian bottling up his award winning cider brew!
See: Red Online.
Goats Cheese & Sundried Tomatoes Profiteroles
Served with Winter Champagne Cocktail (Cointreau, sugar cube topped with bubbly)
I’ve wanted an excuse to make these lollipops since I saw Lorraine Pascal do them! They were great fun to make & sooooo simple & quick to do. They also only take a couple of minutes in a high oven making it a wholly satisfying delight to make for an impatient blonde!
Having not made profiteroles before, this was slightly more challenging (Lorraine said they were easy, hmm), however following her top tips made it easier & was pleased with the outcome. They also keep for a while too – I just popped them in the oven quickly before filling them on the night so that they were nice & fresh. I don’t normally eat savoury profiteroles & prefer sweet ones slightly less crisp, but they seemed to work well with the filling. The filling was just a Jo T concoction – forking soft goats cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes & some of their oil & a sprinkling of basil to bring some more colour to it & bobs your uncle. I did this a couple of nights before putting it into a sealed piping bag in the fridge ready for the night, making it really quick & easy to assemble. Great!
Ham Hock Terrine, Beetroot Relish with Ham Hock Veloute
(Asdean local pigs, beetroot relish made last autumn with beetroot from friend’s Southsea allotment)
See: Delicious Magazine (from experience I have yet to have a duff recipe from Delicious Magazine).
Served with a delicious crisp white wine kindly supplied by Ellie.
I’ve never made a terrine before, but thought this sounded tasty & could look good on a plate. Regularly walking Pemba – my lab – at Kingley Vale means that I see the pigs & Bruce who looks after them so it was on such a walk that I thought it would be daft not to include the pigs in the menu selection (best meat selection ever – www.adsdeanfarm.co.uk)! I would definitely do this again, it was a pleasure to make & delicious. It also keeps for a week in the fridge or you can freeze it, so you can make it way in advance if you need to – brilliant! Added to which ham hocks aren’t something that I’ve used before & I was amazed how cheap they were yet a super piece of meat. The actual recipe means you can start if off with the hocks on the hob for four hours until it literally falls off the bone (the bone being a treat for a very happy black lab who hadn’t left the kitchen whilst this was cooking!). The stock was really tasty & not overly salty – though I didn’t add any salt at any point to this recipe. Putting it all in a loaf tin wrapping it up with satisfaction knowing it was done well ahead of the night was great. The veloute sounded posh but was a doddle. A simple roux with the strained stock (thru’ a muslin) being added to the right consistency made a nice warm dipping espresso cup for the toasted ciabatta bread & salad. Plating it up on the night meant slicing the ham hock, salad garnish with drizzle of homemade mustard dressing, spoonful of beetroot relish that I’d made last autumn, veloute in espresso cup & two slices of toasted ciabatta looked good on the plate & luckily was good to eat too. Leftovers for lunch the next day were an added bonus!
Apple & Sage Sorbet
(Funtington Farm Shop apples)
(Recipe amended from old friend & private chef – I went to his chef graduation ceremony years ago! – Luke Hackman’s tomato & basil sorbet recipe.
See: Square Meal
Sorbet – don’t know why I’d thought these were a phaff! I gently softened the cooking apples with lemon juice, whole sage leaves & water on the hob. Then removed the sage leaves, pushed it through a sieve to give it a smooth consistency, then did the normal water & sugar mix the night before, added the apple & put it all in an ice cream machine. Done! Served piped into shot glasses, with deep fried sage leaf – though needed a good 5 mins out of the freezer before a spoon could go through it, for a not overly sweet, cleansing sorbet. Happy with that.
Perryman Pheasant with Cider & Shallots, served with purple & curly kale, mash & streaky bacon
Served with a robust, smooth red wine kindly supplied by Lucinda.
This was a real education. I’ve never skinned & removed the breasts from pheasants before, but with careful instruction & a giggle we did the birds on Saturday afternoon, so that they had only been hung for one night, making them less gamey. Added to which the hens are tenderer than the cocks (no comment!), so chose hen breasts for the night. They were then checked for shot, washed & ready for prepping when I needed to.
The night before I sliced the breast to put a good slither of butter inside, wrapped them in two slices of bacon each & then into tin foil so that they were a good tube shape, poaching them in hot water for 5 mins before popping them in the fridge ready for finishing off on the day. The kale was also cooked then plunged into cold water ready to be fried on the night to heat up, same with the mash for easier evening. (Veg from www.grangefarmshop.com)
The sauce was an easy one to do & prepare the night before too, making it less hassle on the night to do. A quick fry – keeping them moving to ensure the bacon doesn’t stick – to give them some colour, placed in oven proof dish, covered in cider & shallot sauce & put in oven for 45 mins to cook, then turned out tender, not dry & very tasty much to my relief.
My only disappointment was that plating up – cutting each end of the pheasant off so that it has a flat bottom & then slicing it diagonally so that it stands on the plate giving it some height, then adding kale, mash & sauce – so that it wasn’t as hot as it should have been by the time it got to the table. Bother.
Rhubarb parfait with meringues & ginger, served with ginger biscuits & crushed honeycomb
(Rhubarb from neighbours, eggs from next door’s hens: Queenie, Molly & Gwendoline!)
(Rhubarb parfait from good old Hugh, Ginger biscuits from the ever reliable Delia’s bible ‘Complete Cookery Course’ & Honeycomb recipe from Luke)
Served with a really yummy dessert wine kindly supplied by Tanyah.
A lover of rhubarb, this sounded like a good option, plus again could be done in advance. In fact it was a bit of a phaff to do but worth the little bit of effort & makes loads so still can serve some up in the future too – all good! There were four main components to this recipe – meringues, egg yolks mixed with sugar syrup, whipped vanilla cream, roasted rhubarb puree all finally mixed in together. I was really pleased with the end result though; it was light, not overtly creamy & looked pretty on the plate.
The ginger biscuits were so easy & a success that I’ve no idea why I ever buy them! Having also never made honeycomb before, but always wanted to, I thought this was my chance to give it a go. It’s brilliant, I felt like a GCSE chemistry student again adding the bicarb of soda & watching it bubble away, food fun! The honey was really noticeable which gave it a pleasurable homemade taste & as it keeps for ages I’ve still got quite a jar of it to rot my teeth daily on!
Bailey’s Chocolates & Little Lemon Tarts
(Bailey’s chocolate recipe from Luke Hackman, Lemon Curd recipe from best mate Jacqui Orange)
I was slightly disappointed with the chocolates as they turned out rather large & as they were so rich – it was like making lard cakes for the filing, seriously when do you normally have the excuse to add equal amounts of butter, chocolate & cream to Bailey’s to mix up heart attack heaven?! – I felt they needed to be smaller. Luke said to pop the filling in the freezer quickly to ensure they were firm before dipping them in the chocolate, which was really useful as I think they might have found their way to the bin without that. Drizzling the white chocolate over the top made them look really professional & more delicate though.
The lemon tarts were fine, again done in advance, then piped into the pastry on the night with the adding of sliced syrup kumquat were my favourite petit fours. I polished off a few more doing the washing up!
All in all I was really pleased with how the dinner went, the menu selection & the fact that I’d learnt some new tricks, recipes & cooking skills, plus had a lovely time immersing myself in food again. Bliss! All the fun finishing touches of pheasant leaves in vases, around tea lights & on napkins were a joy to create & distraction from the mundane everyday life. It was also really cool to dress up, spruce up the cottage, get the fire roaring & have a good girlie banter mid week. Lovely guests & was spoilt rotten with gifts (THANK YOU). It was a real honour to be asked to be the fourth ‘chef’ for the 8ate Club 2012/13 and I’ve enjoyed the meals, the new recipes, the chats, the nights out & the food feasts. If you’re lucky enough to be asked as a guest or ‘host’ for then don’t panic just jump in & get immersed in foodie heaven.