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    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    A Winters Night Dinner Party

    It’s been a long wet winter so far.
    Actually we have such short memories, we had a wonderful summer that went well into May
    BUT what do we all remember...just the rain. That’s human nature I guess.

    Anyway it was time for a nice comfort food dinner.
    Let’s start with Tuna Cappaccio
    I have seen this a lot on Food Channel and it has always appealed to me.
    Tuna rolled in lime zest and coriander served with a tangy Asian dressing.

    You will need
    700gm tuna cut into barrels
    Juice and zest of 4 limes reserve juice for dressing
    Good pinch of salt
    1 good handful coriander finely chopped

    Add zest with salt
    Roll tuna in this
    Heat a little oil in hot pan
    Add tuna sear on all sides nice colour
    Remove tuna and drain
    Roll in chopped coriander
    2 inches grated ginger
    2 cloves crushed garlic
    2 tablespoons teriyaki marinade
    8 tablespoons oil
    1 handful coriander chopped

    I actually over salted the tuna so it wasn't perfect this time but I will make it again.
    Good starter for a heavy dinner.

    I also made a nice little colourful crisp salad
    As an accompaniment Use your own amounts

    Baby Cos lettuce torn in pieces
    Radish sliced
    Cucumber seeds removed and sliced
    Cherry tomatoes cut in half
    Papaya deseeded peeled and cubed
    Chives chopped

    1 part lemon juice
    3 parts extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Give it a good shake and dress the salad.
    Very refreshing.

    So to the more heavy part of the meal
    This is a recipe from Tyler Florence‘s Ultimate TV series
    The Ultimate Spaghetti and Meatballs
    Another entry for Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights
    If you ever are short of an idea every week, people from all around the world
    post their recipe of the week.
    More Pasta than you could shake a stick at.
    Have a look here.

    This was very good. Excellent meatballs
    There are a few stages in preparation but you can make it earlier in the day
    Then, it doesn’t take long while your guests are chatting over pre-dinner drinks.
    Just heat up the meat balls and cook the spaghetti.
    NB: You don't have to have the pork but the fatty meat helps to keep the meatballs moist.

    Stage 1

    The Meatballs

    Extra-virgin olive oil
    1 med onion finely chopped
    2 garlic cloves, smashed
    2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves

    1 cup milk
    4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed

    750gms ground beef
    250gms ground pork or veal
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Olive oil for frying the meatballs

    4 cups Pomodoro Sauce (Stage 2)

    250gms mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
    Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil

    Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.
    Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes.
    Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
    (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.)

    Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl.
    Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper.
    Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture.

    Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough.
    I got about 27 meatballs out of this mix.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes.
    Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over.
    Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil.
    Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until they are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

    The Pomodoro Sauce:
    1/2-cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    3 x 450gm cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand, liquid reserved
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
    Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
    Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and then the reserved liquid and season with salt and pepper.
    Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.
    Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
    Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
    Stir in the fresh basil and season again.
    Yield: 4 cups

    100gms spaghetti per person

    If have prepared the meatballs earlier in the day they will take more like 30 minutes rather than 15 as above.

    So to finish off
    Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes.
    Drain and put it onto a large serving platter.
    Pour on the rest of the hot tomato sauce and mix well.
    Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves.

    Now Paula Deen the Queen of Calories demonstrated this delicious dessert.
    It really is wonderful. Imagine Hot blueberry compote,…little surprise dumplings and beautiful thick cream drizzling all over it.

    I serve it with 50% Crème Fraiche and Marscapone Cheese mixed together

    Blueberry Dumplings
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar, plus 1 1/2 cups
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Pinch salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    1/4 cup milk

    1 quart fresh or frozen blueberries
    2 cups water
    Vanilla ice cream or fresh cream, for serving

    Stir flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
    Cut butter into dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter or fork.
    Add milk to form dough.
    Set dumpling dough aside.

    In a large saucepan, combine berries, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and water and bring to a boil.
    Drop dumplings into hot boiling berries by the tablespoonful.
    Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook slowly for 20 to 30 minutes.
    Do not remove the lid before 20 minutes has passed, and do not stir dumplings.
    Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh cream

    I made the dumpling dough in the food processor, to the breadcrumb stage, and covered it with Gladwrap popped into the fridge until I was ready to serve dessert.
    Added the milk and dropped the dumplings in as per recipe.
    They were fine and made it easier as a hostess.
    More time to spend with your guests.
    Isn’t that what it is all about?

    And to finish off some chocolate dipped apricots and my favourite...chocolate ginger.
    Some healthy fruit with that last glass of wine.


    Asha said...

    Good morning Gilly, spread looks delicious there. Enjoy!:))

    My kitchen will be torn down in few weeks, getting a brand new kitchen. We are very busy doing as much as renovation as we can right now, coming along well. Might take few months for me to come back blogging.

    Just bought a book called "Mistress" by Anita Nair, got to read when I get some free time.

    Take care, see you later!:))

    Arfi Binsted said...

    Oh YUM! You've had a great time in this miserable Winter weather which is all wet wet and wet.

    So Simple said...

    Asha Thank you it was good. Got another one for you will email it.
    We have to do something to lift this dismal weather.
    Cheers Gilli

    Maryam in Marrakesh said...

    oh my goodness......can I come over for dinner?

    So Simple said...

    You'd be very welcome Maryam pity you are a little too far away!

    JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

    Sounds like a great way to stave off winter! :)

    So Simple said...

    It helped
    It's been very wet

    Ruth Daniels said...

    What a great meal. Thanks so much for sharing with Presto pasta Nights.

    Up here it's still officially summer, but the cold rain we've been having for the last few days says winter is not far off!