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Archive for the ‘Party Food’ Category

Coronation Chicken

This is great for when you’re asked to bring a dish to a garden or other party. It feeds lots of people and is easy to transport and serve cold when you get there. Coronation Chicken might seem a bit old fashioned but watch it disappear – a favourite of adults and kids alike and well worth a bit of effort earlier in the day. Only perfectly ripe mangoes will do!

Wine Suggestion: There are a few options to match with this dish but our favourites are a good, but fruity Beaujolais, slightly chilled; Domaine Rochette’s Brouilly comes to mind. Alternately we also like a good, youthful Viognier and we’ve been enjoying Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier from the Northern Rhone where the exuberant fruit is balanced with texture and a fresh joie-de-vivre.

Coronation Chicken with Mango & Roasted Cashews – serves 8-10

  • 1.3kg chicken breasts
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock (home-made preferably for this dish)
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 175g celery, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 125ml natural yoghurt
  • 125ml mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 150g roasted cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and simmer gently in the hot stock for 5-7 minutes, depending on how big they are. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow the chicken to cool in the liquid. When cooled, remove with a slotted spoon and cut the chicken into small dice.

Mix the chicken with the lemon juice in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the mango, celery and scallions.

Whisk the yoghurt and mayonnaise together.

Toast the cumin seeds in a hot frying pan for a few seconds, add the curry powder and cook for another couple of seconds. Grind, cool and add to the yoghurt and mayonnaise. Pour the sauce over the other ingredients and toss gently. Taste and season if necessary.

Just before serving, add the roasted cashew nuts, scatter with coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

 

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Veal Cannelloni

This is a delicious party dish from Croatia where the cooking has lots of Italian influences. Most veal these days is ethical rose veal (even in Italy, where they’re adamant it’s the traditional production methods) so don’t write off veal too quickly … it’s definitely worth trying.

Wine Suggestion: definitely drink a Croatian white if you can find one but failing that try a white from Eastern Italy, like a good Verdicchio or Pecorino.

Veal Cannelloni – serves 6

  • 250g dried cannelloni tubes
  • 300ml tomato sauce (see recipe below)

For the filling: 

  • 650g veal mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 45ml olive oil
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 15 turns black pepper
  • 300g fresh spinach, wilted over a medium heat, drained and chopped
  • 15 rasps of nutmeg
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

For the béchamel sauce: 

  • 75g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g Parmesan/Pecorino

Make the filling by combining the veal, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulsing briefly to make a coarse paste.

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the veal and cook until browned. Add the white wine, tomato puree, salt and pepper and keep cooking, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the spinach, nutmeg & Parmesan.

Next make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the flour to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Return to the pan, add the bay leaf and stir until thickened. Add half the Parmesan/Pecorino and set aside.

Heat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

Spoon a ladle of the béchamel over the base of a large greased rectangular baking dish. Spoon some of the veal into each of the cannelloni tubes (use both ends of a teaspoon to do this).

Arrange the filled tubes in a single layer in the dish and pour the tomato sauce over. Cover with the remaining béchamel, top with the remaining cheese and bake for about 40 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Venice to Istanbul, Penguin 2015.)

 

 

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Spanakopita

The classic spinach & feta combination never gets tired. These savoury Greek pastries are delicious and very easy to make. We worked out a production line (thanks Tricia & Orla) and had them assembled in no time! Great as a starter or snack with drinks. Perfect entertaining food.

Wine Suggestion: If you can find an Assyrtiko,  a crisp and delicious Greek white, then you’ve got a great match. Unfortunately it can be hard to find good Greek wines so stick to the Mediterranean and search for a Fiano or Greco di Tufo from Italy. Failing this we’ve had crisp Touraine Sauvignon Blancs with this as well to great effect.

Spanakopita (Spinch, mint & feta pastries) – makes 18-20

  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 100g Greek feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Greek kefalotiri cheese or Parmesan
  • a pinch of finely grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 250-275g pack of filo pastry (about 6 sheets)
  • 100g butter, melted

Wash and dry the spinach (remove the stalks if they look tough). Finely shred the leaves.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook gently until soft but not browned. Gradually add the spinach, a handful at a time, until it has all wilted. Tip into a colander and drain, pressing out the liquid with a wooden spoon, then return to the pan with the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Leave to cool.

Crumble the feta into a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork – you can leave it a bit chunky. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan, the spinach mixture, nutmeg, mint and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Unroll the sheets of filo and cut the stack lengthways into strips about 7.5cm wide. Brush the top layer with melted butter. Put a heaped teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of one strip, at the end closest to you, and fold one bottom corner of the pastry diagonally over the filling, so that the corner touches the opposite side to make a triangle. Then fold over the filled triangular corner, and keep folding it along the whole strip in a triangular parcel. Repeat to make all the spanakopita.

Brush the undersides of each parcel with more butter and place on a lightly buttered baking tray. Brush the tops with butter and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

These are best served straight from the oven while the pastry is still crispy but they are also good at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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We love Tom Kerridge’s food but find his recipes can require a lot of work. Not so with these sticky drumsticks but you will need to find some malt extract to go in the marinade. We got ours in a good deli but health food shops should also stock it. We’re confident you’ll like the drumsticks enough to make them again and use it up.

Beer Suggestion: to complement the malt extract it makes sense to try a malty beer and we suggest searching out one of the many craft beers in your area. Our pick this time was the Five Lamps Dublin Lager which is a pilsner style but with a malty kick.

Sticky drumsticks – serves 4

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly in a dry frying pan
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced (seeds left in)

For the marinade: 

  • 160g runny honey
  • 160ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 120g malt extract

Pour the honey for the marinade into a small stainless steal pan and warm on a medium-high heat. Continue to cook until it starts to turn a deep shade of amber (easier to spot if you have a pot with a light coloured interior), then pour in the soy sauce and chicken stock to stop it cooking further. Bring the mixture to the boil and whisk in the malt extract. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Put the drumsticks in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Mix in the garlic and ginger, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours at least or overnight if you can.

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.

Put the drumsticks in a roasting tin with their marinade. Cook for 45-50 minutes, basting a few times, until the chicken is cooked through and the meat comes off the bone easily. The drumsticks should be glossy and sticky.

Remove the tray from the oven and immediately drizzle with the sesame oil and toss in the sesame seeds. Throw in the scallions and the chilli. Roll the drumsticks around in the dish to make sure they are evenly coated.

Serve hot or cold.

(Original recipe from Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, Absolute Press, 2014.)

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Tomato party

This dish celebrates all the juicy tomatoes we’re picking in our garden at the moment. We only had red ones when we made this but a week before we had a glut of yellow toms too. It doesn’t matter which you use, they’ll all taste great.

Wine suggestions: We have tried a couple of very successful wines with this dish, but the trick is to make sure the wine has a slightly higher acidity and good minerality; try smaller, quality winemakers and this will be a good guide. Successful wine matches have been Umani Ronchi’s Vellodoro Pecorino and Casal di Sera Verdicchio – both great matches, Joguet’s Chinon Cuvée Terroir (delicious Cabernet Franc), and the Gulfi Cerasuolo from Sicily.

Tomato Couscous – serves 4

  • 125g couscous
  • olive oil
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 150g fregola (giant couscous)
  • 300g medium vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small green tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 100g tomberries or halved cherry tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.

Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and drizzle of oil. Pour over the boiling water, stir and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside for 12 minutes, then remove the cling film, separate with a fork and leave to cool.

Put the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 18 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Leave to dry completely.

Meanwhile, spread the quartered vine tomatoes over half of a large baking tin and sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and some oil over the top. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes take the tomatoes out of the oven and increase the temperature to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Spread the yellow tomatoes over the empty side of the baking tin. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Return the tin to the oven and roast for 12 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Mix the couscous and fregola in a large bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, cooked tomatoes with all their juices, the green tomato and tomberries. Very gently mix everything with your hands. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed.

(Original recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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Burnt Aubergine salad

Not quite a Baba Ghanoush, but you can drizzle on some tahini paste to make it one. This was really delicious and we loved the freshness from the lemons and the burst of fruity pomegranate. You need to start this many hours in advance but the process is very straightforward and the result is worth it.

Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds – serves 4 as a meze plate

  • 4 large aubergines (about 1.5kg before cooking)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 80g of pomegranate seeds (about ½ a large pomegranate)

If using a gas hob, line the base with foil and keep only the burners exposed. Put the aubergines on 4 separate moderate flames and roast for about 15-18 minutes or until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Use metal tongs to turn them now and then.

Alternatively, score the aubergines with a knife in a few places, a couple of centimetres deep, and place on a baking tray under a hot grill for about an hour (we do ours on a gas barbecue). Turn them every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst.

Allow the aubergines to cool slightly, then cut along each one and scoop out the flesh and divide it into long strips with your hands. Throw away the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for at least an hour or longer if possible to get rid of as much water as possible.

Put the aubergine in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the aubergine to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Pile onto a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds and garnish with the rest of the herbs.

We served ours with some barbecued flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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This recipe comes in two parts, with the first an easy to make a Bolognese Ragù which tastes good but is not really exciting or flavour-packed like we like. When created into a lasagne, however, it really sings with a perfect balance of flavour.

The recipe takes a while, but is actually quite easy, especially if you make the ragù the day before. We made two lasagne this time which served eight people over two days amply. Alternately, make a big tray of it for a larger crowd.

Ragù – serves 6-8

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 1 kg minced beef/pork (or half and half)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml white or red wine
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300°F/Gas mark 2.

Put a large ovenproof casserole on a medium heat and heat the olive oil. Tip in the onion, garlic, celery and leek. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Turn the heat to high, add the meat and stir to break up, cooking until there are no longer any pink bits.

Add the bay leaf with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and sugar, and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour in the oven. Season to taste.

Lasagne – serves 6-8

  • 1 quantity of cooked ragù
  • 12-16 sheets of pre-cooked dried lasagne
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE 

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 200g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

First make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking continuously until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese and mustard, seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Put a thin layer of ragù in the bottom of an ovenproof dish (20 x 30cm), cover with a layer of the cheese sauce, then add lasagne sheets to cover, in a single layer. Repeat this process, finishing with a layer of pasta topped with cheese sauce only.

Sprinkle over both cheeses and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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