The weekend went really well; had another dinner party on Sat. We're having one a month and it just happened that this months was on the first weekend so it was very close to the last one :). I totally missed the whole April fool thing because I was mostly cooking ::g::. I have a couple of new recipes to share with you and a link to a really good one that I used for the starter.
Egg Rolls (Spring Rolls for those in the UK) - this is a recipe I found on posted by dolohov and it really is yummy. I can't swear that I used the exact same amount of spices as written, but it's all a matter of personal taste anyway ::g::.
Poached Chicken Breast stuffed with Mushrooms and Garlic with a Red wine and Maderia sauce
For the Chicken
- 8 chicken breasts
- 1 punnet of open cup mushrooms
- 1 punnet of chesnut mushrooms
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
- a dash of garlic infused oil
- a dash of olive oil for frying
For the Sauce
- 250ml red wine
- 125ml Maderia wie
- 2 challots
- knob of butter
- 1/2tspn cornflour
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Balsamic Onion garnish
- 1 onion
- oil for frying
- balsamic vinegar
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- garlic press (or pestle and mortar)
- cling film
- large saucepan
- small saucepan
- wooden spoon
- frying pan
- food mixer (optional)
- Do the balsamic onions first because they can be reheated just before use.
- Cut the onion into thin rings. Heat a little oil in the frying pan and add the onion, cooking slowly until translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook gently until the balsamic caramelises. Remove from the heat and put aside.
- Wash the frying pan.
- Chop the medium onion and add to the frying pan with a little oil. Heat gently and allow to cook slowly until translucent, stiring occasionally to prevent sticking. Do not allow to colour. While these are cooking chop the mushrooms. Add them to the frying pan and drizzle with more oil, some normal oil, some the garlic infused oil. Cook until the mushrooms are softening. Add the crushed garlic clove and cook through (adding this too soon will mean it will burn). Cook until the mushrooms are soft and the garlic is cooked through.
- The next part is optional, but I found it made the chicken breasts easier to stuff.
- Add the mushroom mixture to the food processor and whiz until finely chopped - not a paste, but so that there are no large chunks of mushroom or onion left. Leave to cool.
- Take your first chicken breast and first trim any fat or gristle on it - there is often a little at the top where it was once attached to the bird.
- Take your sharp knife and insert it into the side of the breast and slowly work it along and further into the breast to create a pocket. You don't need to cut dangerously close to the other side of the breast, but the bigger the pocket the more stuffing you can put in.
- Wash your hands.
- Layout a piece of cling film on a clean surface.
- Take you pocketed chicken breast and a handful of stuffing and put it in the pocket. Keep going until the pocket is full, but the stuffing is not bursting out.
- Place the chicken on the cling film and carefully wrap it so that the stuffing is sealed in. Remember, the chicken will come out of the cooking process whatever shape you make it when wrapping it in cling film, so wrap it nicely :).
- Repeat this process with all the chicken. (I found it was easier to co-opt my beloved to do the cling film for me, that way I did not have to stop and keep washing my hands ::g::).
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the wrapped chicken breasts. Steam for 10-12 minutes. Then unwrap the parcels.
- Heat some oil in the frying pan and saute the chicken until all sides are coloured (about 3-4 mins). Put the chicken in a warm place to rest.
- Now to make the sauce. Chop the challots finely and soften in the small sauce pan with a little oil.
- Add the red wine and the madeira and reduce by about half. Mix the cornflour to a little water and add to the sauce to thicke slightly. Add the butter and allow to melt through, stiring constantly. Once thickened take off the heat. Your sauce should not be stogey, just not runny like a juis.
- Return the balsamic onions to the frying pan for a moment to heat through.
- Place the chicken on a plate and garnish with a few of the onions. Add you veggies (I served it with mini mustard jacket potatos [bake some little potatos, scrape out the middles, mash with butter and a little mustard, put the filling back in (you will need to do a few more potatos than you need skins or there is not enough to put back to look good) and just before you need them, egg wash the top and place them under the grill to heat and colour], sugar snap peas and romanesque cauli) and then drizzle the sauce artistically around the plate. Put the rest of the sauce in a jug and leave on the tabel because people will want more ::g::.
After Eight Cheesecake
This is a recipe variation based on an idea by my friend A for a chocolate and Baileys cheese cake, that my dear sister suggested. My favourite after dinner mint is an After Eight (dark chocolate with a white peppermint centre and wafer thin) and this is a cheesecake based on it.
(makes 8 individual cheesecakes)
For the topping
- 600g (3 tubs) of philadelphia cream cheese (or something similar - tesco's own brand is fine)
- 3oz/85g caster sugar
- 200g dark chocolate
- Baileys (or any whisky cream liqueur)
- Green Creme de Menthe (or any peppermint liqueur)
- between 1 and 2 pints double cream
- 3 egg whites
- a few after eight mints (or any dark chocolate mint)
- cocoa to dust
For the base
- 250g digestive biscuits (or whatever biscuits you prefer)
- 3oz/85g demerara sugar
- 150g butter
- food processor (or a plastic bag and a rolling pin)
- 8 wide base dessert bowls
- metal spoons
- 3 large bowls
- 2 smaller bowls
- 1 wooden spoon
- hand whisk
- Put the biscuits in the food processor and whiz until there are no lumps, only crumbs (or put some of the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin until completely crumbed, repeat until all biscuits are crushed).
- Heat the butter in the saucepan until melted.
- Mix the crumbs with the demerara sugar and add the melted butter, mixing thoroughly. Then press some of the mixture into the bottom of each of the dessert bowls. Refrigerate while you make the topping.
- Cream together the cheese and the caster sugar in your largest bowl.
- Whisk about 1/2 pint of the double cream until it forms soft peaks and add to the cheese and sugar mixture. Fold in.
- Divide the mixture into three bowls equally.
- Into one bowl mix the Baileys until you have a creamy but not overpowering flavour. It's entirely up to you how much you use. I think in the end I had about one of those miniture bottle.
- Whisk one of the egg whites in a small bowl until stiff (make sure the bowl and whisk are clean or the white will not stiffen properly - running a lemon over the bowl and whisk will get rid of any fat residue).
- Fold the egg into the Baileys cheesecake mixture.
- Take the bases out of the fridge and put a layer of the Baileys mixture in each bowl.
- Take the second bowl and add the creme de menthe until you have a pepperminty mixture. Again it's a matter of personal taste. I like my mint minty so I added quite a lot.
- Whisk the second egg white and fold it into the creme de menthe mixture.
- Add a layer to the dessert bowls.
- Now the chocolate is the bit I found the most tricky. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a simmering pan of water (do not allow the water to boil or the water to touch the bottom of the bowl). Mix the chocolate into the third bowl of cheese and cream mixture.
- Whisk the third egg white and fold in.
- If the mixture is too solid (i.e. it will not spread) loosen it with some more unwhipped double cream.
- Add the chocolate mixture as a third layer to the cheese cakes.
- Whip the remaining cream until stiff and place on top of each cheescake (this will hide a myriad of sins ::g::).
- Cut the after eights in half and place one into the top of each chessecake.
- Dust lightly with cocoa to finish. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
I also set up my new web hosting at the weekend thanks to alyse and temaris who both reccommended www.dreamhost.com. Al gave me a promo code and I got lots of money off. *hugs friends* The podcasts should go back up shortly, I'm just sorting everything out, but eventually the podcast feed will move. When it does I will put up a podcast file with instuctions on where the new one is for those already subbed to it :).
Happy Birthday to
brightsun301 and quondamquadrat for tomorrow,
sabriel_0405 for the 5th,
tenkuudragon for the 6th,
wonapalei, periodicstorm and silver_ariel for the 7th,
newtypeshadow for the 8th and
maubast and ad_libitum for the 9th.
I hope you all have lovely days.