Saturday, July 7, 2012

Home Made 8 Course Degustation

Good Food and Great Company!

Delicious food complete with cocktails!

Yes you read it right, it's not a typo. Eight courses cooked by Gaffa and me, cocktails supplied by Mouldie and Kimbo!!

During our time in the UK, I can't remember whose idea it was but somehow the 4 of us decided that we would cook dinner and try and make 8 different courses. Initially no one was really up for the challenge, so we made a competition out of it.

First up was mini golf/putt putt/crazy golf as the Brit's call it. 9 holes at Clarence Pier at Southsea. It was a nice sunny day out and we started off with a friendly game... which soon became a bit competitive, as we decided that the winner and loser would help each other cook. So, we had to
strategise here. We couldn't play our best in the hope of winning, but we had to at least try so we wouldn't come last!
Personally I'm pretty crap at mini golf, I don't have any sort of technique, I just aim for the hole and hope for the best.... I was doing quite well at the beginning, coming a close second behind Mouldie. But my luck soon ran out by the 9th hole.

In the end Mouldie came first, then GAFFA, then me, then Kimbo. The other two weren't too keen on cooking, so they threw in another challenge: an RPM class! Mouldie was the instructor and Kimbo was a frequent spinner. So this time GAFFA and I were disadvantaged but up for the challenge (Gaffa more so than me..) of clocking up the most amount of miles in one class.

We donned our exercise gear and then headed for the gym. We were early, so Mouldie treated us to a short workout on the TRX cables. Not that i needed the extra exertion before riding a bike for 45 minutes till I couldn't feel my legs....

My first RPM class was an interesting one. I normally gauge my exercise level by how much I sweat and how I feel afterwards. Being a Bikram Yoga fanatic, where you sweat as soon as you enter the room and start the first breathing exercise, and the
energised feeling you get after completing the 90 minute session - not much else really compares.

But RPM was a different kind of intensity. I couldn't keep up with the revs or to the beat of the loud pumping music. I tried to push myself, but struggled to make my legs move round and round any faster. Mouldie was a great instructor though; very motivating and fun, and I must admit I did enjoy the class a little bit... My legs felt like jelly after I stepped off the bike and walking down and up the stairs to get to the showers were so painful! I wouldn't want to feel like this after every class, but I'm sure like anything, the more you do it the more your body gets use to it. I can see how people get addicted to spin/RPM!

I can't remember how many miles I rode, but I can guarantee it was the least out of the 4 of us!! Mouldie being the most experienced didn't have the highest number either though, since he was instructing. So this time it was Gaffa and Kimbo that scored the high miles.

We thought we'd make it best out of 3. So we decided on a few rounds of UNO. The four of us love UNO, last week we even had a game of international UNO over skype….

We were so into it that we didn't keep score but I think us girls came out on top. In the end GAFFA and I decided to cook, since we both don't mind being in the kitchen.

We took a shopping trip to Asda and separated into couples. Gaffa and I would buy the food, Mouldie and Kimbo would get the drinks. All up the food we bought came to only £35, pretty good for 8 courses! That's only £8.75 per head!! I might also add that all the meals are vegetarian meals, as Kimbo is a vego - well pescitarian. But they are very delicious! 

The menu for the night looked like this:
Course 1: Carrot and Celery Sticks with Dip
Course 2: Pumpkin Soup
Course 3: Curried Egg Mayo Salad
Course 4: Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto
Course 5: Fish Burgers with Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Chips 
Course 6: Assorted Cheeses, Grapes & Strawberries
Course 7: White Chocolate and Mint Mousse
Course 8: Authentic Bolognese Tiramisu

All recipes will be shown except for Gaffa's Tiramisu. If you ask him nicely he might share it with you!!

Course 1: Carrot and Celery Sticks with Dip

Easy as cutting up batons of carrot and celery sticks! Then serving it with your favourite dip. We cheated a bit and bought a pre-packaged dip.... 

Course 2: Pumpkin Soup

The recipe for Gaffa's infamous pumpkin soup can be found here

Course 3: Curried Egg Mayo Salad

(from Slimming World Recipe Book)

6 large eggs
1 tsp medium curry powder
3 spring onions finely chopped
1 dessert apple, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp fat free natural fromage frais
3 level tbsp extra light mayonnaise
Sat and freshly ground pepper
½ cos lettuce, shredded
85g radishes, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 punnet salad cress, snipped

-Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower the eggs in one by one. Simmer the eggs gently for 10 minutes exactly. Drain the eggs and cool them under cold running water until cold. Peel the shells off and drain.
-Roughly chop the cooked eggs and transfer to a large bowl. Add the curry powder, spring onions, apple, fromage frais, mayonnaise, and seasoning to taste and mix well.
-Divide the lettuce between serving bowls along with the radishes, celery and tomatoes. -Spoon the curried egg mayonnaise on top, spinkle over the salad cress and serve.

Course 4: Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto


450g can whole baby beetroot
600ml vegetable stock
50g unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g arborio rice
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
150ml red wine
75g walnuts, roughly chopped
125g soft goats' cheese
Wild rocket leaves, to serve

-Drain the beetroot juice into a jug and add the vegetable stock to make up about 1 litre.
-Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just softened.
-Add the rice and thyme and stir to coat the rice grains in the butter.
-Add the red wine to the rice and continue cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
-Add the stock mixture, a ladleful at a time, stirring to prevent catching and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Continue for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked but slightly al dente.
-Dice the beetroot into small cubes, and then add to the risotto, along with two-thirds of the chopped walnuts.
-To serve, crumble the goats' cheese over the beetroot risotto, sprinkle with the remaining walnuts and then garnish with some wild rocket.

Course 5: Fish Burgers with Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Chips

Select a nice fillet of white fish. Using bread that is just about to go off to make your own bread crumbs, adding herbs and spices to taste. After washing the fish, cover it in the bread crumb mixture, and lightly sear it both sides on a pan until the fish is cooked. Add it in a bun with lettuce and tomato and anything else you want. 

For the sweet potato chips, cut a sweet potato into thin strips. Coat in oil and selected spices and roast in the oven until golden brown. 

Course 6: Assorted Cheeses, Grapes & Strawberries

Select some delicious cheeses (both hard and soft), serve with some juicy grapes and strawberries cut up.

Course 7: White Chocolate and Mint Mousse

 (from Nigella Express)

250g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
250ml double cream
1 egg white
¼ tea spoon peppermint extract (peppermint flavour)
6 fresh mint leaves (optional)

-Put pieces of white chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts, stirring gently with a spatula every now and then. When it’s melted, stand the bowl on a cold surface to cool down a little
-In another bowl, and using an electric whisk for ease, whip the cream, egg white and peppermint together. You want a softly peaking rather than stiff mixture
-Put a big dollop of cream onto the slightly cooled chocolate and mix in, and then gently fold this chocolate mixture into the cream
-Divide the mixture between six small but perfectly formed glasses (60ml each)
-Chill in the fridge or give them a fast icy zap by sitting them in a deep freeze for 10 or 15 minutes. Decorate each glass with a mint leaf (if using) on serving

Course 8: Authentic Bolognese Tiramisu

The entire feast lasted about 2 hours, with games of UNO and lots of cocktails in-between!! Thanks Mouldie and Kimbo for a great night. Our bellies were very satisfied and resulted in massive food comas afterwards!!

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