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
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel.
- Brush with the egg glaze.
- 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.
- Serve with the rest of the purée as a sauce.