Friday, September 4, 2009

I can see clearly now the rain has gone.

Despite still not sleeping very well last night, I did sleep a little and woke up feeling great. I was reminded by a friend that I felt a bit blue the last time Brian left for a week but it passed quickly. This morning, the sun was shining...for five minutes...but it was enough to cheer me alongside a large coffee, freshly baked lemon cake (I made four!) and a re-run of Friends. It would have been a different story if Lyn's husband Ken had not picked up the kids for me as the clock had stopped and we all slept in.

I had a lovely night with Anne and Karen, all three of us munching through canapes throughout the evening and enjoying a few glasses of wine. Brian took my camera to Greece and alas, the kids camera isn't working properly so no pictures which was a shame as the table looked so festive.

I served:
Parma bundles stuffed with goats cheese and crispy basil
Chilli bruchetta, chicken tikka, yogurt and coriander with a little caramelised onion chutney
Baked cherry tomatoes on top of crispy ciabatta with olive oil, parmesan and basil
Shredded duck with hoi sin sauce cornets and spring onion with cucumber stuffing
Homemade mini loaf with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt dipping sauce plus olives

I enjoyed all of them that old modesty of mine kicking in again and the duck, a new edition to my canape repertoire looked lovely and tasted really nice.

I had prepared Pauline's recipe for pakora and reheated it in the oven later on in the night; I served it with a yoghurt and tomato dipping sauce. That went down a treat.

Parma Bundles
Mix together a few tablespoons of goats cheese, the crumbly kind, some finely chopped spring onion, cucumber, tomatoes and yellow pepper-remove skin and seeds from cucumber and seed from tomatoes. Add a little grating of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. No ingredient has to be exact, just add roughly equal quantities and add extra of what you like. A sprinkling of sea salt...just a little, the cheese and prosciutto is salty enough...and a little grinding of black pepper.

Add a little amount of this to each slice of parma ham/prosciutto or halve the slice if you want smaller bundles. Wrap into a parcel shape and top with a crispy basil leaf; to make these, dip leaves in olive oil and place into a hot oven for a few minutes until they crisp up.

Chilli and oregano bruchetta with chicken tikka
I buy the bruchetta pre-done and crispy from Asda; any type of thin, flat crispbread would work just as well. Chicken tikka, you can make or buy the mini pre-made ones from the supermarket on sticks. I made this batch myself but have been known to buy it and it doesn't make too much difference. Separate the tikka into bite sized pieces, if buying or else cut chicken into bite sized pieces and marinade in tikka sauce and bake in oven.

Make yogurt sauce by mixing some chopped coriander, lemon juice, salt and pepper to half a bowl of yogurt, to taste. Add tikka bites and coat. Place tikka on top of bruchetta and add a little chutney (any kind of chutney would work) on top of that. These are very moreish, so make loads!

Baked cherry tomatoes
Halve tomatoes, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, dribble over some olive oil and then some chopped basil and thinly sliced parmesan. Bake in oven until the cheese has started to melt and serve on ciabatta, bruschetta or crispbreads.

Shredded duck
Roast half a duck until cooked and the skin is crispy. Shred with two forks until you have a pile of shredded duck with some of the crispy skin shredded too. Thinly slice cucumber and spring onions into three inch sized strips. Buy hoi sin sauce. Buy little wafer Chinese pancakes. Cut pancakes into quarters, of equal sizes. Place on each quarter a little duck and one or two strips of cucumber and spring onion. Spread a little hoi sin sauce (or plum sauce if you prefer) down one side and roll into a cornet or cone shape. The sauce will 'stick' it together and the cucumber and spring onion should stick out. These are so dinky and look great. I served them with some extra shredded cucumber and spring onion on the side.

Homemade mini loaf and olives
The loaf is a standard bread recipe but divided into four small know I'm going to use those tins to death, right? I added a little golden linseed into the dough, just because I like it and it's good for you. I served it on a wooden board with two small bowls of the dipping oil and my heart shaped dish filled with my own olives. Good enough for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

The pakora was made with flour, Indian spices, blanched spinach, chopped red onions, salt, pepper and water to make a batter, then fried in oil, both sides for a minute or two. I reheated them in the oven and they tasted great. Thank you Pauline! I think I may add some chopped coriander for the next batch, just to try.

The sauce was made by adding tomato sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper to some plain yogurt. I also added chopped coriander just because I love the stuff (cilantro?).
I ran out of milk today and wasn't in the mood to go seek some out as the rain and wind had begun it's usual descent homewards towards Glasgow. I needed a few tablespoons for the lemon cake and thought I would improvise rather than get soaked to the skin; I used condensed milk instead. It definitely gave a slight different flavour but it was lovely, thank goodness.
A large shop was completed this week with the total bill coming to £118. £18 of the bill was for items other than shopping and I purchased two weeks worth of groceries plus stocked up on all my flour. I shall post the receipt once I find it, alongside the dinners to be cooked, consumed and smiled over.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Anna said...

i love reruns of friends!! : )

also, your dinner party sounds like it was wonderfully delicious!! i've never had duck before--does it taste like chicken?? ; )


Transparent Mama said...

You are such a good shopper and I'm guessing a good cook, although I have yet to receive a carepackage in the mail. Teasing, teasing- sorry I can't help it.

Unknown Mami said...

So glad to hear you are feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm! Everything sounds delicious, and at a great price.

"Thanx for stopping by my blog Amiga".
Funny comment!!
Sounds like we both have crazy husbands. LOL!!!

~Amor, Familia Y Cultura~

Kelly said...

Ummm... it all sounds wonderful! The weather is all yucky here tonight, but I'm kinda enjoying the excuse to stay inside! :)

Little Ms Blogger said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Great weather, although only 5 minutes, will always lift my spirits.

Ginger said...

I understood nothing after the word, "festive".
This is further proof that you're amazing and I am.. um.. me.

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