Sunday, 29 June 2014

Notes on a dinner party

A lovely dinner party last night, with good friends and good wine.  These days we find it's often easier for friends to come to us, so The Boy can sleep in his own bed and keep to his "routine" (such as there is one!).  The husband outdid himself with a delicious main course of thick-cut pork chops, marinated in a soy, citrus and maple syrup sauce.   I was in charge of nibbles and pudding.

Roasted stuffed peppers
Tescos had a large bag of small peppers on offer, so I had to incorporate them into our menu somehow.  I love the stuffed vegetables we buy in Italy, so I tried to recreate something similar using ingredients I had in the back of the fridge/store cupboard.  Here is the "recipe":
In a mixing bowl, combine:
- 1 small tub of cream cheese
- 1 small bag of Panko breadcrumbs
- a handful of finely chopped chives
- one onion, finely minced
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- a handful of chopped green olives
- the pulp of 2 blackened baby aubergines 

To cook the aubergines, you could simply roast them in a hot oven.  However I find it much quicker (and more fun!) to use the gas hob.  Turn the flame up high and hold the aubergines directly in the flame, until the skin is all blackened and the pulp is soft.  It should only take a few minutes, turning them regularly:

Give the mixture a good stir: the consistency should be quite thick and dry.  Season well.  Then de-seed the peppers (they should be just a few inches long, so you may need to use a teaspoon).  I find rolling them on the chopping board loosens the seeds too).  Stuff each pepper with the mixture, then put them all in a roasting tray (well oiled and seasoned - make sure all the peppers are well coated in the olive oil).  Roast in a hot oven until slightly blackened (about 35 minutes):

"Spiked" peach, lime & mint Granita 
We came back from our recent short trip to Calais with a huge box of fresh peaches (€2.50 for 20!).  So I made a peach and brown sugar cake, and this granita (somewhere between a sorbet and a frozen daiquiri!).
In a heavy saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes:
4 cups of water
1.5 cups of sugar
A sprig of mint leaves
Chopped peaches (I used about 10!)

Discard the mint, allow to cool, and then  blend the whole lot along with a cup of white rum and a cup of fresh lime juice.

Put in a large Tupperware, and find space in the freezer.  Allow to freeze overnight.  Then simply "fluff up" with a fork before serving.  Refreshing and delicious!

Vintage wine
Finally, a note on one if the wines we were fortunate to drink.  With these friends we always drink our respective wines "blind".  We all guessed this one was quite old - perhaps 1960s or 1970s - but we liked the taste and were all completely stunned when Chris announced that yes it was the 70s... 1870! Amazing that something which was bottled in the same year that France declared war on Prussia, the era of Gladstone and Bismarck, is still perfectly drinkable.  It still tasted of fruit, fruit that was picked over 140 years ago... Mind blowing.  Needless to say, this old bottle (dust and all) will be taking pride of place on our shelf.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lovely night Kat! The stuffed peppers sound super yummy, I could substitute a few ingredients when I'm on full GAPS and nick this one :-)