Date Night

June 11, 2010

So last weekend I decided I wanted to spoil the Boy, by cooking him a 3 course meal and that I would make a real effort on presentation, which is not my forte!
I can do rustic pretty but not restaurant fussy… but I wanted to try so here you are… the results;

The Menu
Rounds of stacked beetroot and goats cheese with an orange vinaigrette

Roasted salmon with braised red cabbage and beetroot, parsnip chips and watercress

Lemon posset with Orange flower biscuits

I cannot remember where I got the starter idea from I just love goat’s cheese and I have wanted to roast some beetroot at home for ages and thought the purple of the beetroot would be impressive.

The salmon recipe was from TimesOnline

The lemon posset recipe from a National Trust Summer Pudding book my Mum brought me, you can buy it here. Lemon posset is one of my favourite puddings and I have always wanted to make it. The result was very different from those I have had in restaurants which have always been pudding like, but mine was more of a mousse, probably because of the added egg whites and so was very light, it was very good!

For the beetroot stack
2 raw beetroot
2 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp fresh thyme
Black pepper and salt to taste
2 tbsp milk
120g soft goat’s cheese
Watercress to garnish

Firstly you need to roast the beetroot, I cut off the top and bottom but left the skin on, drizzled in olive oil with black pepper and salt and roasted for about 45 minutes at 180c, but this will vary depending on size, the lower heat and slower you roast them the better.
You can do this early on or even the day before if you like, or you could even use ready cooked beetroot, but it much nicer roasted yourself.

To prepare the goats cheese pop it all in a large mixing bowl, with the milk and whip using an electic mixer then add the herb, salt and pepper and whip until combined well.

This can be put aside until you’re ready to eat, then just stack it all up, I did four layers of beetroot, three layers of cheese, I suggest you slice your beetroot as thinly as you can and maybe only have three layers as ours was quite a big starter in the end.

I served with an orange vinaigrette , hazelnuts and rocket

For the orange vinaigrette
Orange juice – from 1/2 oranges
Orange zest -1/2 an orange
1/2 tsp Dijon/English mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp thyme
Black pepper

Literally just whisk it all together, this dressing gets better day by day so make extra you will use it all up

For the roasted salmon
2 Salmon fillets (skin on if possible)
sea salt
black pepper
2 onions, sliced
1tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely sliced
600g red cabbage (about 1/4 of a whole one)
150 ml red wine
100 ml orange juice (1/2 oranges)
2 tbsp cranberry jelly
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
150 cooked beetroot, finely diced
1 tbsp orange zest

Heat the oven to 200c
Melt the butter and oil and cook the onions until soft
Add the garlic and red cabbage, tossing well

Add the red wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the orange juice, cranberry jelly, red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper, tossing well.

Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, tossing occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.

Season the salmon, brush the skin with olive oil and sear, skin-side down, on a flat griddle pan or in a large frying pan until crisped. Place skin-side up in the roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes or to your liking.
Add the diced beetroot and grated orange zest to the cabbage and heat through. (This makes quite a lot, I served this a couple of days later with some grilled sausages and olive oil mash, yum!)

Serve the salmon on a bed of red cabbage and top with grated orange zest

As the recipe suggests I served this with parsnip chips (roasted for 30-40 minutes in olive oil, a little honey, sea salt and black pepper) and watercress drizzled with a little of the vinaigrette

For the Lemon Posset;
600ml double/whipping cream
grated rind of 1 1/2 lemon’s
150ml dry white wine
4 tbsp lemon juice
115g caster sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp caster sugar
extra lemon zest for decoration

Beat the cream and the lemon rind in a mixing bowl until thick. Beat in the wine until thick again. Add the lemon juice very gradually, beating all the time.
Add sugar to taste and beat until stiff.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and standing in peaks, then whisk in the 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth and glossy.
Fold the egg whites in the cream mixture, then pile into a glass or china bowl; this made quite a lot, enough for 6 big servings (we had it for pudding for a few days!)

with Orange Flower Biscuits
50g unsalted butter
1 large egg
40g caster sugar
pinch of salt
45g plain flour
2 tbsp orange flower water

Some kind of tin, I used a muffin tin which was not ideal, but made cute little biscuit rounds in the bottom

Melt the butter over a low heat then leave to cool.
Beat the egg, caster sugar and salt in a bowl for 5 minutes, it should look like mayonnaise
Then sieve the flour in, fold this in with a wooden spoon and fold in the butter with the orange flower water.
Mix well but don’t be too rough
Leave this in the fridge for an hour then take out and leave at room temperature for half an hour.

Heat the oven to 220c, grease the tin, whatever shape you’re using and put about a teaspoon full in each section, bake for 5 minutes, if they need a little longer just keep an eye on them. Let them cool on a rack and enjoy

This pretty much took me all day (with breaks to do other things but I prepared most of it in the afternoon and then put it all together and cooked the salmon and parsnips when we were ready to eat, by then I wasn’t very hungry but I think the Boy appreciated my efforts :)