Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sunday Roast: Entertaining

Here in France there is a programme called Un diner presque parfait. Its UK equivalent is Come dine with me. The idea is that five people are brought together. Each night one of the contestants cooks a fabulous meal and the other contestants judge them on the quality of their meal, their ability as the host or hostess with the mostest and the décor of their table. At the end of the week the host with the most points wins. Simple right?

I know for a fact that I would not win. For a start the table decor is well and truly the Frog's job. Aperitifs are provided courtesy of Picard, dessert by one of the guests and I almost always fall asleep at the end of the meal. Sometimes I fall asleep at the table, other times its the corner of the sofa, but usually I am shaken or kicked in time to say goodbye to the guests, or before I start snoring. 

Despite my obvious flaws in the area of entertaining, I still like to pretend that I'm participating each time I have people round to dinner. I try to follow the cardinal rule of: don't spend  too much time in the kitchen once the guests have arrived (unless of course I haven't actually even started cooking by the time they arrive).

My other idea of entertaining is that if it works once, do it again with a different bunch of friends, then move along and find something new.

The following recipe has been tried and tested on a few friends. I think I need to make some new friends so that I can have it again. I usually have it with some roast vegetables: parsnips, carrots and potatoes.

Salmon en croute (ever so slight adapted from this version)

150g mascarpone or cream cheese
about 120g of mache, spinach and rocket,
I found packets of 4 puff pastry squares that I like to use, but you can use short crust if you like
2 salmon fillets
1 egg, beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. 
  2. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the mache, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green purée. Season well.
  3. Take out your puff pastry squares. Cut the salmon fillets in half and put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. 
  4. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel.
  5. Brush with the egg glaze.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. 
  7. Serve with the rest of the  purée as a sauce. 
Prepare up to stage 5 and prepare your roasties before your guests arrive and then you can pop it all in the oven as you finish your apero and just before you have your starter. Sorted.


Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

sounds like a lovely dish, shame Lovely Husband refuses to eat fish - so I'm scuppered from the start!
Have to say, am relieved to hear I'm not the only one who nods off...

verilion said...

Doesn't eat fish! Oh, but this is really quick to make and comes in individual portions. And I am terrible for falling asleep.


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