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Mystery Box March 22, 2020

Posted by andrewescott in Dinners.
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The TV cooking show MasterChef has a Mystery Box challenge, where the contestants need to make a dish featuring surprise ingredients they all get in boxes. We chose this as the theme for the dinner on 6th January, where the non-cooking members suggested an ingredient each to go in the Mystery Box: black beans (suggested by Pam), pecans (Andrew), cherries (Jacinta & Franca), and mint (reserve option from Jacinta).

Entre

To start the meal, we had balsamic cherry, feta and prosciutto pizza.

Mains

The main course was cherry and pecan pesto chicken, with black bean salad.

Palate Cleanser

To cleanse out palates after mains, we had a mint sorbet.

Dessert

To finish, the dessert was black bean, pecan and cherry brownies, and cherry and pecan pound cake.

Rolled Roast Pork (Crunchy) March 22, 2020

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This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine (Sep 2019 issue), and was served in the Crunchy dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3 kg piece of boneless, skin-on pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (plus extra)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • small bunch of thyme, chopped
  • 8 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat over to 140 degrees C (for fan-forced ovens). Season pork all over with 1 tablespoon of salt. Keep salted pork covered, and chill in fridge up to 40 hours.
  2. Crush garlic, thyme, and bay leaves together in a mortar and pestle to make a paste. Mix with remaining salt and pepper.
  3. Boil water, and lay pork skin-side down on a chopping board, then score deep criss-cross pattern all over. Pour boiling water over scored skin then dry thoroughly. Massage herb seasoning into the flesh-side.
  4. Starting from longest side, roll pork belly up tightly, then secure with twine at regular 2cm intervals to hold it together.
  5. Place wire rack or trivet in a large roasting dish and sit pork on top. Massage or brush pork skin with oil and give final sprinkling of extra salt. Roast for 3 hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes after the first hour.
  6. Remove pork from oven, turn up heat to 220 degrees C (for fan-forced). Pour out most of the pan juices. Place pork back onto the rack and roast for a further 30-40 minutes, turning pork with tongs to expose different parks of the skin that you want to make into crackling.
  7. When pork is ready, lift onto a board, and rest for 10 minutes before it is ready to carve. Slice pork with a serrated knife.

Crunchy March 22, 2020

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I’ve let a bit of a back-log build up of older posts, but hopefully I can catch up to the present shortly. Back on Monday 9th September (2019), we had a dinner themed around the Crunchy texture. Franca and Laura cooked the dishes, with Laura also hosting.

Entre

To start off the crunchy feast, Franca made her own corn tortilla chips with guacamole and sour cream.

Mains

Laura served up the main course, with crackling roast pork belly, crispy smashed potatoes, and apple, fennel and walnut salad.

Dessert

To finish, Franca gave us peanut brittle parfait ice-cream.

Slow August 9, 2019

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With winter upon us in Melbourne, it seemed appropriate to pick the theme of Slow food for our dinner. On Monday 15th July, we sat down to linger on delicious food from Laura and Kerri, with Kerri hosting.

Drink

Laura served us an infused cocktail spirit with lemonade to get us into the slow mood.

Entré

To start the dinner proper, we had Greek chicken and lemon soup.

Mains

For mains, we had lamb with onion and thyme, scalloped potatoes, and a warm winter salad.

Dessert

To finish the dinner, we had slow roasted quince with honey, cinnamon and cloves, with brandy butter ice-cream, a cake (which sadly I can’t remember much about now), and gluten-free almond biscotti with a hot drink.

Surprise! May 2, 2019

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On Monday 8th April, the Recipe Club dinner was a Surprise! Each dish had something surprising about it. Kerri and Laura cooked, with Laura hosting.

Entré

Surprise Theme Surprise Theme

Surprise Theme - Laura's Entre (1 of 2) Surprise Theme - Laura's Entre (2 of 2)

To begin, we had baked avocado & bacon with surprise boiled egg centre, and parmesan & bacon muffins with surprise Camembert centres.

Mains

Surprise Theme - Laura's Main (2 of 2) Surprise Theme - Laura's Main (3 of 3)

For the main course, Laura served us meatloaf with a surprise mashed potato middle.

Dessert

Surprise Theme - Kerri's Dessert

To finish the meal, Kerri had made chocolate mousse with surprise raspberry syrup centre.

Christmas January 5, 2019

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To celebrate Christmas, we had the final Recipe Club dinner for the year on Monday 17th December. Kerri and Laura made the dishes, with Laura hosting.

Drinks

Christmas Theme Christmas Theme

Kerri made two amazing cocktails that started and finished the meal – the “ornamentini” made within Christmas tree baubles, and chocolate peppermint martinis.

Entree

Christmas Theme

Laura began the meal proper with a cream-cheese Christmas tree.

Mains

Christmas Theme Christmas Theme Christmas Theme Christmas Theme

The main course was maple mustard roasted turkey with harvest rice, orange carrots with yoghurt parsley dressing, smashed crispy roast potatoes with turmeric and coconut, and southern-style sweet potato salad.

Dessert

Christmas Theme

Kerri made a gingerbread and cherry galette for dessert (together with the chocolate peppermint martinis).

 

Yellow January 5, 2019

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On Monday 15th October, Kerri and Laura created a Yellow dinner, with Laura hosting.

Drink

Yellow Theme

We enjoyed a bourbon lemonade fruit punch.

Mains

Yellow Theme Yellow Theme

The mains were a yellow curry and a Thai chicken salad.

Dessert

Yellow Theme Yellow Theme

To finish the meal with yellow desserts, we had lemongrass parfait with pineapple salsa, and lemon brownies.

Geometric Shapes January 5, 2019

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On Monday 6th August, Laura and Franca provided not just amazing-tasting food, but amazing-looking food, with a theme of Geometric Shapes. Laura hosted, and both Laura and Franca made sweet and savoury dishes.

Entree

Geometric Shapes Theme

To begin the meal, Laura made vegetable samosas (in a tetrahedron shape).

Mains

Geometric Shapes Theme Geometric Shapes Theme

For main course, Laura served chicken involtini with smoked mozarella (in cylinders), and Franca made us arancini “balls” (in a conical shape).

Dessert

Geometric Shapes Theme Geometric Shapes Theme Geometric Shapes Theme

To finish the meal, Laura gave us gluten-free lamingtons (in cubes), and Franca gave us the most spectacular dessert we’ve ever had – a chocolate sphere filled with raspberry ice-cream and raspberries, topped with peanut butter caramel sauce.

Nightshades June 9, 2018

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On Monday 7th May, Franca hosted the Nightshades dinner and served up dishes together with Laura.

Entre

Franca began the meal with roast chilli and bacon crumb.

Mains

   

Main course included an incredible moussaka and some other dishes I unfortunately can’t remember.

Dessert

 

Laura finished the meal with two desserts: a chilli chocolate mousse and a creme cheese cupcake.

Rice February 11, 2018

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Yet again we had a theme that we were surprised hadn’t been done yet, and this time it was Rice. Laura hosted and provided up with the savoury dishes, with Franca joining her to provide us with the sweet ones.

Drink

Laura (assisted by her daughter) started the evening with a strawberry and sake cocktail.

Entre

 

Laura started the meal proper with two entres: Vietnamese rice paper rolls with crispy tofu, and Thai chicken and black rice soup.

Main

For main course, Laura gave us chorizo and spinach paella.

Dessert

  

To finish, Franca served us a chocolate and peanut butter ricebubble slice, a pandan sticky rice slice and a rice pudding with poached pear.