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Commonwealth Games June 9, 2018

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For Monday 9th April, the Commonwealth Games was in progress up on the Gold Coast, so it seemed like a suitable theme to celebrate Australia and the other countries of the Commonwealth. Jacinta hosted, and cooked the savoury dishes, with Andrew providing the sweet ones.

Drink

Jacinta got us in the green and gold mood with a pineapple mojito.

Entré

We began the meal with a not-so-traditional green and gold damper.

Main

  

Jacinta continued the theme with a vegemite meat pie served with green and gold vegetables, specifically peas with pancetta and bocconcini, and roast carrots, pumpkin and parsnip.

Dessert

 

To finish, Andrew served a matcha roll cake with blueberries (the colours green, white, and blue for the Sierra Leone flag) and a Maltese almond and chocolate pie made with Maltese rusks (with white and red being the colours of the Maltese flag).

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Boozy Christmas January 3, 2018

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On Monday 18th December 2017, Andrew hosted the Christmas dinner which this time had a Boozy theme, i.e. that alcohol should be used as an ingredient. Pam cooked the savoury dishes and Andrew hosted, provided drinks and the dessert.

Drinks

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Andrew served two Christmas-themed cocktails: a gingerbread martini and prosecco with raspberries and limoncello.

Entre

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Pam made platters of vegan foie-gras, an onion chutney, vegan cheese, and a yoghurt dip.

Mains

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For main course, Pam served up a bourbon-brined grilled chicken, potato salad and flambéd spinach salad.

Dessert

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Andrew served a dessert of a two-tiered chocolate pavlova sitting on a Bailey’s marshmallow base, filled with Bailey’s whipped cream, and topped with fresh cherries and cherry syrup.

Seeds January 3, 2018

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The theme of the dinner on Monday 4th September 2017 was “seeds”. It turns out that a large number of things are seeds, but we were pretty traditional in our interpretation. Andrew hosted and made the savoury dishes, and Laura made the sweet dishes.

Entre

Seeds Theme - Entre

To begin with, Andrew made sunflower seed dip.

Mains

Seeds Theme - Mains (1 of 2) Seeds Theme - Mains (2 of 2)

Andrew then served two dishes for main course: mustard baked chicken with poppy seeds and Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast pumpkin with cardamom and nigella seeds.

Dessert

Seeds Theme - Dessert (3 of 3) Seeds Theme - Dessert (1 of 3) Seeds Theme - Dessert (2 of 3)

To conclude the meal with style, Laura made a chocolate chia seed pudding, a lemon poppyseed cake, and sesame seed biscuits.

Oozy August 12, 2017

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We decided to go for a textural-type theme, and on Monday 5th June, Pam hosted an Oozy dinner. Pam served the savoury dishes and Andrew provided dessert.

Drink

What can be more oozy than ouzo?

Entré

To start the dinner, Pam served up home-made Xiao Long bao.

Main

Pam’s main course was a lentil and roast veg dish with an oozing poached egg.

Dessert

To conclude, Andrew served a Gary Rhodes’ recipe for apple pie icecream (the icecream is inside the pie) and creme anglaise.

Ukrainian August 12, 2017

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For Monday 3rd April, Laura hosted the dinner dedicated to Ukrainian food. Laura cooked the savoury dishes and Andrew made the desserts.

Entré

Laura began the meal with a traditional bowl of borsch.

Main

  

The main course from Laura was kovbasa, deruny and a radish and walnut salad.

Dessert

 

For dessert, Andrew made a syrnyk cake and a makovyi cake.

Preserved August 12, 2017

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On Monday 14th November 2016, we held a dinner at Andrew’s house that honoured food or ingredients that were preserved (or made ahead). Andrew made the dessert, and Pam made the savoury dishes.

Entré

Pam began the meal with a fennel soup.

Mains

The main course from Pam was a confit duck and lentil salad with beetroot, walnuts & orange.

Dessert

Dessert from Andrew was gingerbread icecream on top of apple butter and a citrus shortbread. (Picture credit Kerri.)

Same But Different October 23, 2016

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For possibly the first time, we ended up having two recipe clubs arranged for the same month, with this dinner on Monday 25th July. In honour of this unusual event, we decided the dinner would be inspired by the food from the previous dinner this month (Tofu). It wasn’t meant to be an exact copy, but the “same but different”. Andrew and Jacinta served the dishes and Andrew hosted in his newly renovated kitchen.

Entré

Same But Different Theme - Entre

The first dish was Andrew’s take on Franca’s silken tofu soup – it was carrot, ginger and tofu soup.

Mains

Same But Different Theme - Mains (1 of 2) Same But Different Theme - Mains (2 of 2)

The main course was inspired by Franca’s bean curd wraps and eggplant stirfry. Andrew served a corn flour flatbread (that unfortunately didn’t roll up) and an imam’s moussaka from Annabel’s Crabb’s cookbook.

Dessert

Same But Different Theme - Dessert (1 of 2) Same But Different Theme - Dessert (2 of 2)

Inspired by Laura’s chocolate cheesecake and choc-chip cookies, Jacinta made a yummy chocolate, coconut and macadamia tart and choc-chip and tahini biscuits.

Tins and Moulds May 21, 2016

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On Monday 9th May, Jacinta hosted a dinner that was a celebration of tins and moulds. Jacinta cooked the savoury dishes and Andrew made dessert.

Entré

Tins and Moulds - Jacinta's Entree

To begin the evening, Jacinta made us an avocado and cucumber mousse.

Mains

Tins and Moulds - Jacinta's Mains (1 of 2)

Jacinta followed up with a chicken enchilada bundt bread with mexican salsa.

Dessert

Tins and Moulds - Andrew's Dessert

For dessert, Andrew plated up slices of date and walnut nut loaf with discs of home-made cultured butter, Melbourne-breakfast flavoured tea jellies, and dollops of date syrup.

Lime and Salted Caramel Popcorn (Citrus) March 13, 2016

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Citrus Theme - Andrew's DessertThis recipe formed part of the Citrus dinner. This recipe has been reproduced from memory, so apologies if it isn’t quite right!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized lime
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) popping corn
  • 2 tablespoons (40mL) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 stick (125g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (190mL) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (40mL) honey
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) salt

Method

  1. Set the oven to 140 degrees Celcius.
  2. Using a fine grater, remove the zest from the lime. Also, juice the lime and set aside.
  3. Line two flat baking trays (or just use one, but do two shifts later) with baking paper.
  4. Pour oil into a large saucepan, and add a few kernels of popping corn. Cover and place over high heat until you hear the corn begin to pop.
  5. Remove from heat, add in all the remaining popping corn, cover and return to heat. Gently shake the saucepan, and continue while waiting for popping to begin and then to decrease to only one pop every couple of seconds. Remove from heat and empty into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the lime zest over the popped corn and gently stir through.
  7. Place the butter, sugar and honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Do not stir, at least not once the butter has melted. Watch the mixture and wait until it turns a light golden colour, which should take about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat, and carefully pour in the lime juice. Return to the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth and combined, then remove.
  9. Scatter the cooked popcorn over the baking trays, then pour the lime caramel evenly over the popcorn. Place the trays in the oven.
  10. After 8 minutes, remove and gently turn the popcorn so that the caramel is evenly spread. Return to the oven for another 8 minutes.
  11. Remove trays, sprinkle salt over the popcorn and allow it all to cool. Break the pieces apart and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Jaffa Mousse Cake (Citrus) March 13, 2016

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Citrus Theme - Andrew's DessertThis recipe formed part of the dessert for the Citrus dinner, and comes from Christine Manfield’s book Paramount Desserts. I have adapted to sizes to match my bakeware, and fixes a mistake in the original published recipe.

Ingredients – Chocolate Fudge Cake

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 150g+150g (300g total) castor sugar
  • zest of 1 orange (finely grated)

Ingredients – Jaffa Mousse

  • 200mL milk
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 50mL fresh orange juice
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 300mL thick (45% fat) cream

Ingredients – Orange Caramel

  • 150mL fresh orange juice
  • 300g castor sugar
  • 100mL water
  • zest of 3 oranges

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Grease and line two cake tins measuring at least 30cm x 21cm and ~5cm deep. Note that these tins will need to sit in larger dishes for a water bath. Also, separate the eggs at this point.
  2. Finely chop the chocolate and place it with the butter in a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted, and then set aside to cool a little.
  3. Place the yolks and 150g of sugar in a mixing bowl, and use electric beaters to beat until it is light and frothy.
  4. Place the egg whites in another bowl, and beat until stiff peaks form, then slowly add remaining 150g of sugar while beating slowly to form a light, glossy mixture.
  5. Add the orange zest to the egg yolk mixture and mix through well. Then stir the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, and then fold in the egg white mixture until combined but don’t over-mix.
  6. Pour the resulting cake batter into the two tins, and then cover the surfaces with a piece of baking paper.
  7. Boil water. Place cake tins into the larger dishes, and position in the oven before pouring the hot water into the water baths. Bake for 20 minutes or until the centre is set, tested by a clean skewer.
  8. After removing from the oven, peel off the baking paper on the tops, remove from the tins, and allow to cook on a wire rack.
  9. Chocolate fudge cakes should be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge until ready to be used.
  10. Now make the jaffa mousse, although you may need to clean up the kitchen first if you want to reuse mixing bowls.
  11. Place the milk and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a simmer before removing from the heat.
  12. Beat egg yolks and castor sugar in a mixing bowl, and use electric beaters to beat until pale and creamy. Strain the orange juice into the mixing bowl, and then whisk it through the mixture. Then slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl while whisking.
  13. Soften the gelatine leaves in a glass of cold water, then remove and gently squeeze the leaves to remove excess water. Stir these into the mixture until dissolved.
  14. Finely chop the chocolate, and place in a plastic bowl, and zap in the microwave on high for 30s at a time, stirring between each. When chocolate is almost completely melted, do not retun to the microwave, and instead stir until all chocolate is melted. Then set aside.
  15. Pour the egg and orange mixture into a metal bowl, and stir over a saucepan of simmering water until the mixture “coats the back of a spoon” and thickens slightly.
  16. Strain the mixture into a mixing bowl through a fine sieve, and discard the zest. Stir the melted chocolate into the mixture. Make an ice bath, e.g. in the sink, and stir the mixture until cool.
  17. Place the cream into a bowl and beat until it is whipped. Then fold the cream into the chocolate-orange mixture. Note that the mixture will set in about 30 minutes, so it is time to press on and assemble the cake.
  18. Line a square-sided 22cm x 9cm x 6cm loaf tin with baking paper, leaving some sticking out the top to aid in removal later.
  19. Remove fudge cake from fridge and cut 1cm thick slices of it to line the bottom, sides and ends of the tin. (Don’t use it all up at this point, though.)
  20. Pour the jaffa mousse mixture into the tin, leaving a space at the top. Place a 1cm thick layer of the fudge cake on the top to seal it all in.
  21. Wrap the whole tin in cling film and place in the fridge for 5 hours to set completely.
  22. The orange caramel can be made shortly before serving, but can also be omitted without compromising the dessert.
  23. Strain the orange juice and set aside.
  24. Boil sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat without stirring until it turns caramel coloured. Keep a close eye on it, the whole time!
  25. Reduce the heat, then carefully pour the juice and zest into the hot caramel, and cook for a few minutes more until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  26. Remove the saucepan, pour the mixture into a jug and allow to cool to room temperature.
  27. Finally, to serve the jaffa mousse cake, remove from the fridge and unwrap, and pull out of the tin using the baking paper.
  28. Using a hot, wet knife, slice the cake into thin wedges and place on plate with a smear of the orange caramel.
  29. Serves 8-10.