Tonight's dinner party menu:
Rabbit in mustard sauce with garden carrots and
I make my own little blinis in an escargot pan, I remember when I picked it up at a car boot in France, the lady selling it went to a lot of trouble to explain to me how to cook snails, then looked totally horrified when I said that I would be using to make blinis and fry quail eggs in instead.
1 large fresh egg
3 heaped tablespoons of self raising flour
enough milk to create a thick but still runny batter (thickness of double cream)
To make sweet dipping blinis for chocolate, hazelnut spread and jam, just add a tablespoon of caster sugar and a couple of drops of vanilla extract to the mix.
For the rabbit (this one an even closer to home kill than the wild boar last week as it was in the front garden last year), joint the rabbit, which essentially means separating its back legs from the spine, crack the legs open at the pelvis then cut round with a sharp knife, there is just a thin stretch of muscle then holding them to the spine. Then with a cleaver, chop through the spine just behind the front legs, cleave in half, then cleave the saddle into two pieces and cleave in half again, you should end up with 8 pieces of rabbit on the bone.
Fry the rabbit in a large casserole dish in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, then add a glass of white wine, 2 large onions quartered, 2 large cloves of garlic, several sprigs of fresh marjoram and a litre of good thick chicken stock - I am using the duck stock I made yesterday. When this reaches the boil, add 2 heaped teaspoons of whole grain mustard and put in the oven for a couple of hours at 180°C.
An hour before serving add 200 ml of double cream, season again, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and leave to cook in the oven at a low heat for the final hour.
I can not remember where hedgehog potatoes came from but they are really easy and a quick way of making jacket potatoes. Use a thin skinned potato like a Charlotte, scrub clean and place in a baking tray, 1 large or 2 small spuds per person. Cut slices along each spud three quarters of the way through, spinkle over sea salt, some black pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, cover with tin foil and bake in the top of the oven for 1 hour at 200°C.
For pudding it was Thea's choice, her favourite and something I only make in the Rayburn because they take a couple of hours to cook, meringues. A good way of using up surplus eggs too.
I never gave this much credence but having had to make two lots on Friday, I am now convinced that meringues must be made in a metal bowl.
With an electric whisk whip up 4 egg whites into soft peaks, add a pinch of salt, then gradually introduce 280g of icing sugar whisking continuously to create stiff peaks, then a splash of vanilla extract.
With a metal spoon create separate pools of meringue on some baking paper on a tray, spread well apart. Bake in a low oven for a couple of hours.
Into these I poured some warmed cherry jam and topped with chantilly cream, then finally a little meringue hat with some melted chocolate dribbled over.