Ah, the institution that is Sunday lunch. With winter hanging on outside, the inclement weather battering the windows, it really was most fitting to be enjoying the warming comforts of good food and genial company. A five course menu was the order of the day so I hope you’re hungry …
To get things going, a few canapés – little spicy cheese sablés biscuits garnished with sesame and nigella seeds. These crispy morsels punched well above their size in terms of flavour and texture. In contrast was vibrant beetroot & goat’s cheese macarons. The macaron shells were flavoured with freeze dried beetroot powder and then filled with a mousse of goat’s cheese and more beetroot powder. A marriage made in heaven.
A bread basket filled with focaccia simply flavoured with rosemary and sea salt kept my guests occupied while plating up the starter. This was accompanied by a dipping bowl filled with Apricot oil (from South Africa) and balsamic vinegar. This was actually my first foray into making focaccia. The first batch went in the bin as I didn’t read the recipe properly. The second batch was up to standard and didn’t suffer the fate of the first lot and actually made it to the dinner table!
The starter was Socca with roasted cherry tomatoes and caramelised onions. Socca, unleavened pancakes made with garam flour, are almost like blinis in taste and texture. This recipe was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe. This dish is simplicity itself with so few ingredients whose flavours are sublime. It is served warm with a blob of crème fraiche to round it all off.
Main course was a pork & beef meatloaf flavoured with thyme (from my herb box) and baked slowly in a bain marie in a relatively cool oven for several hours. The pickled cabbage provided texture and a sourness that complemented the richness of the meat and creaminess of the mashed potatoes. Dried cured streaky bacon from my local butcher provided the required crispy finishing touch.
Dessert provided a light and refreshing conclusion to the menu. A citrus soufflé, made from lemons and limes, with my chocolate ice cream. The ‘cappuccino’ effect was by virtue of whipping up skimmed milk giving a cream like finish. I must say I was very relieved to see the soufflés rising proudly above the rim of their ramekin vessels!
Tea and coffee followed accompanied by mini morsels of sweetness – chocolate rum truffles and tishpisti. I was inspired to make this from a recent book I had read in which this was referred. This delicacy is Sephardic in origin. There are a host of different recipes for it. The one I chose was dense cake, soaked in a syrup and decorated with flaked almonds. I had to refill the petit fours serving dish with both treats such were they consumed!
And so the afternoon drew to a close with good times had by all. Till next time!