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Tuismitheoirí > Coiste na dTuismitheoirí

Food for friends at Christmas

1st December 2011

1.   Roast Butternut squash, garlic and rosemary soup with feta       
2.   Cinnamon and Lemon Brown bread                   
3.   Crab cakes with coriander and chilli                    
4.   Coriander sauce                            
5.   Seared Duck breasts with Balsamic vinegar, rosemary           
And shallot sauce                            
6.   Sweet potato and ginger mash                      
7.   Chocolate Heaven         

1. Roast Butternut squash, garlic and rosemary soup with feta

1 large butternut squash weighing about 1kg, cut into chunks
12 garlic cloves, halved
2 onions, sliced
1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt, crushed chilli flakes
750 ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
100g feta, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Heat the oven to 180?C (350?F) Gas 4.

Put the butternut squash, garlic, onion, rosemary and oil in a baking tray and sprinkle with a couple of pinches each of salt and chilli. Mix well so that the squash is evenly coated with the oil and roast until the squash, onions and garlic are tender and lightly caramelized, about 45 minutes.

Tip the squash into a large saucepan, add the stock and bring to a gentler simmer over medium heat , using a hand-held blender, whiz until smooth.  Correct the seasoning and adjust the consistency with hot water as needed. Simmer gently to allow the flavours to blend, about 10 minutes.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until nutty about 5 minutes.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle with feta, pumpkin seeds and coriander and serve at once.

2. Cinnamon and Lemon Brown Bread

350g / 12oz Coarse Wholemeal
1 level teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
1 level teaspoon Bread Soda
125g carton of Natural Yogurt
75g / 3oz Dark Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 Egg
150ml / 1/4 pint Milk

Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Lightly grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin.
Put the wholemeal, cinnamon, salt and lemon rind into a mixing bowl. Sieve in the bread soda and mix well.
Lightly beat the yogurt, sugar, sunflower oil, egg and milk together and add to the dry ingredients. Stir well.
Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for about an hour. Turn onto a wire tray to cool.  

3. Crab Cakes with coriander and chilli

225g white crab meat
50g spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
50g mayonnaise
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

Place the crab meat in a bowl with the spring onions, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, egg, coriander and chilli.

Season to taste and mix gently until well combined.  Divide the mixture into eight and then shape into crab cakes.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan.  Add the crab cakes and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until heated through and golden brown

Arrange the crab cakes on plates with some lightly dressed green salad and coriander sauce to serve.

4. Coriander sauce

2 tbsp mayonnaise
15g fresh coriander finely chopped
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime

Mix the mayonnaise with the coriander, lime juice and zest. Cover and chill until needed.

5. Seared duck breasts with balsamic vinegar, rosemary and shallot sauce

Serves 6 -8
6 duck breasts
1 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Balsamic, rosemary and shallot sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, finely sliced
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
150ml red wine
250ml balsamic vinegar
175ml chicken stock
1-2 tbsp fruit jelly, such as crab-apple or redcurrant
55g butter, chilled and diced

Pomegranite seeds to decorate

Preheat the oven to 190?C/375?F/Gas 5

Trim any excess fat from the duck breasts and score the skin with a sharp knife. Mix together the marinade ingredients, pour over the duck and leave for 1 hour.
Start the duck off on a heavy based cold pan over medium heat and brown  well on both sides.  Remove from the pan, place in a roasting tray and roast in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until still pink.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before carving.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan.  Wilt the shallots and rosemary, cooking until caramelised, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and balsamic vinegar, bring to the boil and reduce to an eighth.  Add the stock and reduce by half.  Whisk the chilled butter to thicken and enrich the sauce.  

Serve the duck sliced on warm plates with the sauce and sprinkle with some pomegranate seeds

6. Sweet potato and ginger mash -delicious with Duck

Serves 6

700g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300g Potato such as rooster, peeled and cut into chunks
55g Butter
5cm piece of fresh root ginger peeled and grated
A glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put the sweet potato in a saucepan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for minutes until tender.Drain well into a colander
While the potatoes are draining, melt the butter with the olive oil in the pan, add the grated ginger and cook for 5 minutes until soft, then return the potatoes to the pan and mash, season with salt and pepper.

7. Chocolate Heaven

This is the perfect cake for any baker who may not be the most confident in the kitchen. It is really easy to make, moist and rich will last up to 5 days in the fridge. Delicious served with vanilla or caramel ice cream.

225g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
340g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, at room temperature
200g sugar

Preheat the oven to 175?C / 350?F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 23-cm spring form tin or round cake tin.  If using a spring form pan, wrap a large sheet of aluminium foil around the outside of the tin, making sure it's absolutely watertight.  If using a cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  Set the spring form or cake pan in a large roasting pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter and chocolate.  Set the pan on a low heat ,stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until completely incorporated.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared spring form or cake pan and cover the pan tightly with foil. Pour very warm water into the roasting pan to reach half way up the outside of the cake pan. Bake until the cake appears to be set and your finger comes away clean when you gently touch the centre (it will still feel quite3 soft), about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove the cake from the water bath and let cool completely.

To unmould, run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan.  If you've used a spring form pan, simply release the sides.  If you've used a regular cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment paper, then re-invert onto a serving platter.

Cut the cake into slices and serve with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

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