Once in a while, when we want to enjoy ourselves, yet not go out, we decide to have a slow Friday evening, with a bit more fancy food. We open a bottle of wine and start to prepare a three course dinner, that usually lasts for several hours. Mr No Onion Please is responsible for the main course, as for him the proper main dish consists of a good quality steak 😉 I focus on appetizer and dessert. This is a starter from one of such evenings. I found the recipe in a fantastic book of Gary Rhodes – 365/One year. One book. One simple recipe for every day. It takes a while to prepare, but is really worth it. It was the first time I’ve used passion fruit in combination with seafood and I must say it’s absolutely fabulous, particularly now, in the summer time!
PASSION FRUIT HOLLANDAISE
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 small lemon
pinch of pepper
3 passion fruits
Melt the butter. Place the egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender and while at maximum speed slowly add the melted butter, continuing to blend until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Halve the passion fruits, scooping the seeds into a sieve over a bowl. with the back of the spoon press and scrape all of the juices and pulp from the seeds. Add the juice to the hollandaise along with spoonful of the seeds. Put the sauce to one side and keep warm.
I have a little confession to make. I actually do have a favourite space in my fridge. Yup, you read it right, FAVOURITE SPACE in the FRIDGE. How weird that sounds? Anyway, it’s a drawer where I store all kinds of sauces and pastes that are used in South-East Asian cooking. You see, I have this great dream that one day I’ll go for a long cooking course, where I will finally learn true, ingenius way of oriental cooking and whenever I look in that drawer I smile to myself imaginig the dream comes true. Since I adore that versatile cuisine, I read a about it and cook quite some dishes. I slowly start to understand the complex taste combinations and begin to figure out my own recipes. The more I learn though, the more I want to learn from someone who has the skills of that cuisine “in their blood” 😉 Anyone interesting in borrowing me their grandmum 😉 ?
This recipe makes for a lunch for 2 or a starter for 4.
2 mild chilli peppers, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, grated
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
300ml coconut milk
1 lemon grass – smashed and cut into 3-4 pieces
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tbsp demerara sugar
handful of chopped coriander
1. Clean the mussels. Discard the ones that do not close when you knock on them.
2. Saute chilli, garlic and ginger. Add half of the volume of coconut milk.
3. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice, sugar, fish sauce and red curry paste. Simmer for 3-4 min till the milk become very fragrant. Add the rest of the coconut milk and season to taste.
4. Add the mussels, mix well and cover. Steam for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add coriander, stir and steam for additional half a minute.
I’ve just realised that for a long time I wasn’t blogging about any vegetarian dish. Time to make it up 😉 This weekend we had utilised over 5 kg of peppers – most of them were roasted and pureed to be used later on in an amazing pepper and garlic soup (I’ll post it some other time) and several of them finished in a delicious red bell pepper tart tatin. I served it together with a cream containing goat cheese, what wonderfully lifted up peppers’ sweetness. The tart is perfect for an appetizer or simply as a vegetarian main dish. Definitely, it is not a guilt-free dish as puff pastry is quite greasy and there’s still some carmel there, but if it makes you feel better about it, imagine that each pepper contains double the amount of vitamin C of what is there in one orange 😉 So in a way that’s a great healthy snack for the rainy and gloomy autumn 😉
3 red bell peppers
pinch of salt
3 tbsp sugar
puff pastry sheet
fresh goat cheese
basil, salt, pepper
1. Cut the peppers into pieces. Melt the butter in the pan and throw in the pepper pieces. Add pinch of salt. Fry till they begin to soften.
2. Push the peppers onto the sides of the pan and add to the middle 3 tbsp of sugar, wait for a while till the sugar starts to carmelise and mix it well with the peppers. Fry still for a while till peppers are getting brownish carmel coating.
3. Transfer pepper pieces and remaining carmel onto 25cm greased tart pan. Arrange them with the skin facing the bottom. Let them cool down a bit.
4. Roll the puff pastry sheet 2-3mm thick. Lay it on the top of peppers, push it down and tuck in the edges all round the inside of the pan.
5. Bake in 225C till the pastry will get a nice golden brown colour.
6. Take it away from the oven. Let it cool for 3-4min and flip it onto the plate.
7. Serve with a dip made from soft fresh goat cheese and creme frache (1:1 ratio) seasoned with salt, pepper and finely chopped basil leaves.