We had friends over for dinner on Friday, and a good time was had by all, so here are some of the recipes from the dinner party.
Starter: Deep fried crab balls with Thai pea dip
Take one tin of drained crab meat, to it add 2 tablespoons of soft butter, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, 2 egg yolks, a splash of tobasco and season. Form into little balls by rubbing in floured hands, then coat each ball in flour, refridgerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up before frying in some vegetable oil.
For the pea dip, boil a cup of fresh or frozen petit pois peas until soft and tender, then drain and whizz up in a blender until they form a puree, add a teaspoon of green thai chili paste and a teaspoon of yoghurt, serve either immediately while warm or refridgerate until needed.
Main: Asian Salmon with spicy noodles
Next time I buy the salmon steaks, because it took me over an hour to pin bone the fish.
I cannot take any credit for the recipe because it is Jamie Oliver's from his 30 minute meals.
Into a food processor, add 1 medium onion peeled and quartered, 2 cloves of garlic, a 2 cm piece of peeled ginger root, half a large fresh green chili, a teaspoon of soy sauce and the juice of two limes, whizz together to create a slurry mix.
Into a shallow oven proof dish, drizzle a little olive oil, spoon in the spicy mix, and add the salmon skin side up, sprinkle over a tablespoon of chinese 5 spice.
This will need to cook for about 20 minutes at 180°C.
For the noodles, start by making a spicy broth base. Fry 1 onion finely chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 cm of peeled and grated fresh ginger and half a finely chopped chili, add a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice, and 3 teaspoons of cornflour, then pour in about a litre of chicken stock to a 250g packet of dried egg noodles.
Just as a digression here, I hang my ginger root from a piece of kitchen string in a dark corner and after about a week it starts to sprout. I have successfully cultivated ginger for the garden from these sprouting corms, leave until the green tips are at least 10 centimetres long, then plant a 5 cm by 5 cm section of the root in the ground until just the top 1 cm of the green tip is showing. The first year you will just get some green foliage but by year 2 you should have enough root to either harvest or split into other plants.
Dessert: Lemony cheesey titchy puds
OK - I admit this recipe is the biggest cheat around (thank you Nigella for the idea) but it is very quick, very easy, and very very very yummy.
Take a packet of biscuits, for us the ones normally left at the bottom of the biscuit barrel unloved and uneaten are custard creams, and whizz them up in a blender.
The joy of this is that you don't need to add any butter, the cream sticks the base together.
Stir together a 125g tub of ricotta or the like, 4 tablespoons of lemon curd, and the juice of one lemon to form a rich lemony cheesey cream.
Press the biscuit base into individual little pots, I used some glass tealight holders, then spoon over some of the creamy mixture and leave to refridgerate for a couple of hours before eating.
The final touches for our evening were - 4 bottles of faux champagne fizz, and 3 bottles of red wine.