Posts Tagged With: DinnerParty

Pigging out! Fillet of Pork Wrapped in Parma Ham with Spinach, Prune and Pine Nut Stuffing

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I really love a bit of pig. It’s so versatile. Each part of the meat tastes different and you can do so much with it. I know some people are not hot on pork because the little brat can get stuck in between your teeth and it can be rather chewy. But there is a piggy option that won’t cause these little quandaries…

I present you with pork fillet. Ta-dah!

So this recipe is not actually mine. The gravy I added to it is mine but not the stuffed pork recipe. My friend gave me this free supplement cookbook that came with The Irish Times one Sunday and it had this recipe in it. It’s by a lady called Domini Kemp and she created it specifically for dinner parties when the host desires as little leftovers as possible. Now when I made this, it was just for me and my mother (who eats sparrow sized portions. No joke) so we of course had leftovers. However, I know how yummy this dish is and the plates would have been licked clean if we had more mouths to feed that night.

If you are not completely sold on pork yet, give this a go. It’s good and tender and the stuffing is lovely as it has so much flavour with just the right amount of prunes to add a bit of sweetness.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes if doing it all in one go and not prepping it the day before you want to serve it.

Price:  €21

Music I listened to: 

I actually cooked this meal while watching re-runs of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’… never gets old!

Wine I drank: Pinot Noir

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:Project_Page000

  • 1 pork fillet
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 smoked streaky bacon rashers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 130g stoned and chopped prunes
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 slices Parma ham
  • Pork stock (optional if you want gravy)
  • Glass red wine (
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • Big knob butter
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

For the gravy (optional):

  • 150ml red wine (approx)
  • 200ml pork stock (approx)
  • 1-2 tsp cornflour

Method

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/360°F.

Slice the pork in half, lengthways but not all the way through. Put it between two sheets of clingfilm and bash the life out if it with a rolling pin so you turn it into one large rectangle of flattened fillet.

Now make the stuffing; gently sweat the onions in the olive oil until soft. Turn up the heat and add the rashers. Fry until brown and crispy.

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Add the garlic, spinach, chopped prunes and pine nuts and sauté until the spinach wilts. Keep the heat turned up so that any water from the spinach evaporates. See ya H2O… Project2_Page000Season and set aside to cool.

Once the stuffing is completely cold, you can stuff the pork and leave overnight, ready to cook. If you’re cooking it straightaway, then it’s ok to stuff the pork while the stuffing is still warm. It won’t poison you.

Spoon the stuffing in a straight line down the middle of the pork, then roll the pork and wrap it up with the Parma ham, all nice and snuggy like. Tie at intervals with a string down the length of the pork fillet.Project3_Page000If you want to make a gravy, put some water with pork stock and a little red wine into the roasting tin and place the pork fillet on top of it. It will make a yummy gravy.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up the butter in a saucepan and gently seat the shallots until golden brown.Project4_Page000

Take the pork out of the oven and add the buttery shallots to the roasting tray and some more stock and wine if necessary and smear the fillet with the redcurrant jelly. Baste with the juices, season with black pepper and roast for another 20 minutes.

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So basically, the pork is roasting for 40 minutes in total.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving. At this point, I thicken the gravy with a little cornflour in the roasting tin over the hob on a low heat. You just want it simmering. Stir gently and once thickened to your liking, take off the stove. Serve it with the delicious pan juices or gravy and whatever accompaniments you desire. My personal preference is roasted parsnips, carrots and potatoes.

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Mmmmmmmm, stuffed pig…

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Categories: Main Course Dishes, Pork | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Pan Fried Scallops with Black Pudding, Pea Purée, Pancetta & White Truffle Oil

Some people are so afraid of cooking scallops and I just don’t understand why! They are not going to jump out of the pan and gnaw at your face; trust me, I know. They only take 2 minutes in a frying pan and really make a starter so full of class but simple at the same time.

This dish is so colourful! And I am now a huge pea purée devotee. I had never made it before and when I was whipping up my version I decided to throw in some parmesan cheese and wow… how awesome. I am so making this for my 5 month old Goddaughter when she is old enough to manage it. I literally could not stop eating it and it actually stood out more than the scallops on the dish.

You go little peas! Take on those scallops.

The black pudding also makes the dish a little more bulky so be prepared; if it’s a starter, be sure to have a break before you have your mains. It is very rich and filling, but so goddamn satisfying.

Enjoy.

Difficulty: Easy

Prep and cooking time: 25 minutes

Price:  €16

Music I listened to: 

“The Adjustment Bureau” soundtrack by Thomas Newman

Wine I drank: Chardonnay

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 150g/5oz petit pois (frozen is fine)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Large knob of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 50ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 large slices of good black pudding
  • 65g/2oz pancetta
  • 6 large scallops, cleaned and row removed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Drizzle of white truffle oil

Method:

Ok so let’s start with the yummy pea purée…

In a small pot over a medium heat, melt the butter. Now add the shallots and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Throw in the mint, peas and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Add the parmesan cheese. Blend the pea mixture in a liquidiser until smooth. Season to taste and set aside and keep warm. Easy peasy! (Sorry…)

Now grab your black pudding slices. Heat the pan to a low-medium heat and fry the pudding on both sides until cooked. Try not to burn it. You just want it slightly crispy on the outside. Should be about 5 minutes each side. Set aside and keep warm.

It’s now the pancetta’s turn to face the wrath of the frying pan. Wipe the pan clean and fry the pancetta over a medium heat until nice and crispy. Not burnt…Crispy! That’s it. Don’t clean the pan as you’ll want to fry the scallops in the oil fat the pancetta omitted. Set aside.

Now onto the big guns; grab your scallops. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive in over a medium heat in your frying pan. The amount will depend on how much oil the fried pancetta let out on the pan. Once the pan is heated, place the scallops on it.

After about 1 minute turn them over and cook for another minute. They should be golden in colour. As they are cooking, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them.

Now get your plates and spoon 3 little blobs of the pea purée on it. Add a slice of black pudding on each and then a scallop. Sprinkle the pancetta over the little rounds and dash a little white truffle oil over them.

Done!

Categories: Fish, Starter Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Avocado & Cucumber Mousse with Cherry Tomato & White Truffle Oil Salsa

I never really understood why some people dislike avocados. Yes, yes I know; each to their own. But to me, they are just so damn delicious. They are creamy and nutty in flavour, so versatile and scrum-diddly-umptious in sandwiches, dips, salads etc, etc.

I’m not going to bore you with the nutritional facts of avocados because there are just so many positives and reasons to prove how unbelievably good they are for you. Yes, I can hear some people say ‘but they are so high in fat’?! Alright, they may contain 25% fat but this, my calorie conscious friends, is indeed the right fat. Ever heard of monounsaturated fat? Did you know this fat is good for you? Yep, it is! It basically reduces the bad (LDL) cholesterol and boosts the good (HDL) cholesterol. This fat is just so ‘fat-astic’!!!

(Ok, I’m sorry. I’m even face-palming myself right now for subjecting you to that pun. I’m sorry. Please forgive me).

So, here we have a recipe for Avocado & Cucumber Mousse with Cherry Tomato and White Truffle Oil Salsa. This is loosely based on a Mary Berry dish. Her example was more of a guideline really. I have changed the quantities, added different ingredients and of course, decided to add the divine white truffle oil to the salsa.

This starter is lovely, pretty and also a classy dish that is perfect for dinner parties! It’s made ahead so you don’t have to worry about preparing anything later but the salsa. It’s subtle in flavour but the truffle oil really accentuates the creamy, nutty taste of the avocado, the freshness of the cucumber and the sweetness of the cherry tomato salsa. Yummy!

So don’t delay! Get your ingredients ready and guac ‘n’ roll!!!

(Jeez, I’m really sorry again. I have a pun problem. I’m receiving treatment for it).

Difficulty: Easy – Medium

Prep and cooking time:

Mousse: Once cucumber has been drained with salt, prep/cooking is about 30 minutes then leave to set for at least 6 hours.

Salsa: 5 minutes

Price:  €10

Music I listened to: 

‘Supermassive Black Hole’, Muse

‘All My Days’, Alexi Murdoch

‘Brand New Day’, Joshua Radin

‘Mr. Brightside’, The Killers

‘Let Go’, Frou Frou

Wine I drank: Chenin Blanc

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

The Mousse

  • ½ cucumber
  • Packet of gelatin
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and roughly chopped (remove any dark bits)
  • 100g/3.5 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 100g/3.5oz low-fat fromage frais or sour cream
  • 3 tbsp of good light mayonnaise
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 75ml warm chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • Salt

The Salsa

  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and roughly chopped (remove any dark bits)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white truffle oil
  • 280g/10oz organic cherry tomatoes, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

Method

Grease the sides of 4 ramekins with a little oil. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthways. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and chop up into very small dice. Put the cucumber in a sieve over a boil and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. The salt will dehydrate the cucumber to remove some of the liquid. Leave for about an 1 hour.

Follow the instructions on the box for your packet of gelatine. It should be about 11g-15g per packet and you only need 1. If for some reason you don’t have any instructions, the normal way of preparing the gelatine is to put it into a bowl and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of cold water on it. Leave to sponge for about 10 minutes. Once sponged, stand the bowl in a pan containing a little boiling water to dissolve the gelatine.

Now, put the avocado, cream cheese, fromage frais, mayonnaise and lemon into a bowl and blend with a handheld blender or put into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the gelatine into the warm stock and mix together. Pour into the bowl and blend again until mixed thoroughly. Stir in the diced cucumber with the dill and then season with some salt as desired.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight until firm.

So, it’s about an 1 hour before you want to serve your smart, little starter. Make your salsa! Mix all the salsa ingredients into a bowl and lightly season (if necessary). Cover and ignore this colourful goodness for an hour in order to let the flavours infuse.

Hour is up and it’s starter time! Run a thin knife around the ramekins, then tip the mousse onto a plate and shake to release from the ramekins.

Serve with the salsa.

Classy!

Categories: Starter Dishes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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