Great night last night with great friends.
so here is my dinner party menu
~ Starter : Goats cheese and red onion tartlets ~
Cheat number 1: ready roll shortcurst pastry - I have way too much to do to be making pastry too, so ready roll will do.
Roll out pastry, cut and blind bake for 15 minutes at 180°C using tin foil until pastry is crisp and golden, then leave to one side to cool.
Meanwhile slice 3 large red onions thinly, and fry in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until translucent, then add a couple of tablespoons of water and leave to simmer on a gentle heat for 20 minutes.
When pastry cases are cool fill with the onions, top with a thin slice of goats cheese, a cherry tomato and a some walnut pieces.
Then throw in the oven to heat through for 10 minutes before serving. I just balanced mine on top of the meat tray so I can only estimate the time and heat required here - but 10 mins at 180°C seems reasonable.
~ Main : Roast Wild Boar on a bed of Puy Lentils ~
Boar should be marinated for at least 12 hours before cooking but once again I have a handy hint: if you are using a frozen piece of meat, put it in a large bowl to drefrost with about 500ml of water, leave for 24 hours to defrost to allow the meat to marinade in its own blood - sounds ghoulish but makes for a tender roast.
Sanglier Marinade: 500ml red wine
teaspoon of sea salt
teaspoon of black peppercorns
1 whole head of garlic - just break the cloves apart
3 onions quartered
4 carrots cut into small chunks
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8-10 juniper berries roughly crushed
Leave the meat in the marinade for 4-6 hours.
Brown the meat in olive oil on all sides in a large meat pan before adding the marinade to the pan, cover the meat tray and put in the oven for about 2-4 hours depending on the age of the meat - the older the longer.
As my Rayburn is not necessarily accurate on its temperatures, I would say 180°C would be OK.
In the meantime, pour a cup of lentils per person into a large pan of cold water, cover and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 45 minutes. Puy lentils don't need soaking. Just sieve once cooked.
To serve, carve the meat onto a large dish, sieve out the bits from the marinade and scatter over the meat, pour the juices over the lentils and there you go.
As a side veg dish I did ~ roasted red cabbage gratin with carrots.
Just thinly slice red cabbage, carrots, onions and celery and layer into an oven dish, season and oven cook for 40 minutes.
Then make a gratin top with flour and butter or lard, just rub together with your fingers to make breadcrumbs, grate in some hard cheese like Cheddar or Cantal and scatter over the semi cooked veg. Bake for a further 40 minutes until all the veg is soft.
~ Dessert : Foraged Plum cake with Chantilly Cream ~
For this I am using a tried and tested recipe (here) but substituting peaches for the red fruit. Roughly peel the peaches and quarter, remove stones and if slightly unripe as these were just cook in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of sugar for a couple of minutes.
These are foraged peaches and have red flesh, I have no idea what variety they are but they taste and smell very peachy, once baked they tasted more like a damsony peach.
My Chantilly cream is my last cheat, to 200 mls of double cream, add 50g of icing sugar, and a packet of powdered Chantilly fixing powder, whisk for a few minutes until cream stiffens then refridgerate until serving.
A dinner party fit for Nigella the goddess of food herself.