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    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Perfect For the Christmas Buffet - Red, Green and White, Colours of Christmas

    It's beginning to look a lot Like Christmas in our house, as we get closer to the Magical Day.
    Friends from Wellington were up and what a excellent reason for a feast.
    I thought I would go the Salad way.
    It's summer don't you know and what better

    So we started with the old favourite Caprese
    Then a Roasted Prawn and Orzo Salad
    Accompanied by a delicious Aubergine dressed with Mint and Chili
    Topped off with Eton Mess

    I got a bit carried away with the Quantities with The Prawn Salad so there is leftovers which I will deal with in my next blog

    Caprese of course is very simple

    I just take
    1 large Tomato per person
    1 small Boccacino  (small balls of fresh mozzarella) per person
    Loads of basil
    Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Cut the tomatoes into wedges
    Throw onto a nice platter

    Break up the mozzarella
    Sprinkle around
    Season well with Salt and pepper

    Tear the basil and cover the the Tomato and Cheese
    Liberally drizzle the Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top and
    Best to leave for about an hour to get those flavours melded

    I have to thank Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa for this Roasted Prawn and Orzo Salad
    It is perfect for your Buffet Table
    Ina's recipe feeds 6
    I doubled it and actually there would have been enough for 16
    The flavours are delightful
    The good thing is that you can make this earlier in the day
    But make sure that you get it out of the Fridge at least an hour before you eat
    Then the flavours will be perfect
    Don't be put off by the amount of salt It needs it.

        Kosher salt
        Good olive oil
        3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
        1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
        Freshly ground black pepper
        2 pounds (16 to 18 count) prawn, peeled and deveined
        Zest and juice of 1 more lemon for the prawn
        1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
        1 cup chopped fresh dill
        1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
        1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
        1/2 cup small-diced red onion
        3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced


    Preheat the oven to 210C/400 degrees F.

    Fill a large pot with water, 
    add 1 tablespoon of salt and 
    a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. 
    Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, 
    stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. 
    Drain and pour into a large bowl. 
    Whisk together the lemon juice, 
    1/2 cup olive oil, 
    2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. 
    Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

    Meanwhile, place the prawns on a sheet pan, 
    drizzle with olive oil, and 
    sprinkle with salt and pepper
    and grate the lemon zest over the top
    Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. 
    Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. 
    Don't overcook!

    Add the prawns to the orzo and then 
    add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 
    2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. 
    Toss well. 
    Add the feta and stir carefully. 
    Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. 
    If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and 
    bring back to room temperature before serving.

    Theo Randall made this salad in the TV programme "Perfect"
    How special for Christmas.
    Plus it was superb
    As usual I made some changes
    Particularly with the cooking of the Aubergine
    I like to roast it, it doesn't take so much oil and it is easier
    Just lay the aubergine on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 10 minutes 
    Taste the dressing before you use it, you may want a little more sugar or vinegar
    Use your taste buds

    Minted Aubergine with Ricotta Salad

        Olive oil,     
        2 large, aubergines, cut into 1cm circular slices
        1 garlic clove
        1 tsp red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
        2 tbs red wine vinegar
        1/2 tsp sugar
        1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
        150 g ricotta cheese
        squeeze lemon juice

    Oil a baking sheet
    Lay the aubergine slices on the tray and then either brush with oil 
    or in this case I use the Olive Oil spray can
    Season with Sea salt and pepper

    Cool then lay out on a platter

    Using the back of a knife, mince the garlic with some salt to make a paste 
    then place it in a small bowl.

    Add the chopped chilli, red wine vinegar, fresh mint and a splash of olive oil.

    Place the cheese in a bowl and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and a dash of olive oil.
    Scatter over the ricotta cheese in lumps and 
    then sprinkle over the garlic, chilli and mint topping.

    And finally Eton Mess 

    This is so simple
    You can use bought meringues but I did make the Chocolate Meringues that I pinched from
    the Foodlovers Blog go here to have a look at her blog click Here
    Helen has some great ideas

    3 size 7 egg whites 
    3/4 cup caster sugar 
    1 teaspoon cornflour 
    1 teaspoon cocoa 
    1/2 teaspoon white vinegar 
    2 teaspoons boiling water 
    50g quality dark chocolate, chopped


    Preheat oven to 120 C.
    Whisk the egg whites until foamy
    and with the motor running pour in the combined sugar, cocoa, cornflour 
    and then vinegar and boiling water.  
    Beat for 10 minutes until meringue is thick and glossy.
    Using a metal spoon fold through the chocolate taking care not to over mix.
    Place spoonfuls of mixture on a baking paper lined tray
    and bake for 1 hour or longer, until meringues feel firm and almost hollow when tapped.
    Place a wooden spoon in the oven door and turn the oven off.
    Leave the meringues in the oven for 30 minutes or longer before removing.
    These meringues should be chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
    I was inspired by Marco Pierre White for this version of Eton Mess
    There was a lot of  puree and I didn't use it all
    Use your discretion

       2 punnets raspberries
       2 punnets strawberries
       Icing sugar, to taste
       Kirsch liqueur or Rasberry Liqueur
       200g double cream
       20g icing sugar
       6 crushed meringues
       6 balls vanilla ice-cream
       Six sprigs of mint, to garnish

    Crush together the raspberries and the strawberries
    so that the fruit becomes a pulp.
    Season with the icing sugar and Liqueur

    Whip the cream and icing sugar together.

    To serve,
    Place a ball of vanilla ice-cream into the bottom of each of six chilled sundae glasses.
    Cover the ice-cream with a small amount of pulp 
    Finally, fold the crushed meringue 
    with the more pulp into the cream to form a rippled effect.

    Spoon this mixture into the glasses. 
    Top with extra puree
    The end of the day,
    Cup of tea before departure
    A great night



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