Monday, 21 May 2012

Evening dinner for friends

Well I can't claim the credit for all of the preparation of dinner & pudding on Saturday evening as PB came up with the menu and took the head chef post in the kitchen, with me helping out. We had one of PB's old school friends and her other half over for tea. The menu we cooked was home made spinach and ricotta ravelloli for starters, for main chicken wrapped in Parma ham and stuffed with soft cheese with baby carrot, asparagus & roasted cubed potatoes, then for pudding we had chocolate mousse (made with Toblerone) with starwberries and cream.

First thing to make was the home made pasta - which is not as hard as it sounds. As we only wanted to create a small amount of raviolli, we did 100g pasta flour, 1 egg and a tsp oil. Mixed the egg gradually into the flour and then kneeled till smooth, then wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge. Whilst it was resting, we made the inside - as if you were making spinach and ricotta cannelloni, but we made significantly less. Then after running though the pasta machine, we cut fairly wide strips, filled with a spoonful of mixture and then folded over and sealed with an egg wash. These were then left until we needed them, as they only take 2-3 minutes in boiling water to cook.

PB handled the main course, cutting a slit in the chicken breasts and filling with soft cheese, before wrapping in Parma ham. These were covered in tin foil for most of their time the oven to make sure they didn't dry out. The pudding was next - the best part of the evenings meal. My recipe came out of an ancient Marks and Spencer book - a time when they still used the "St Michael's" branding! The easiest chocolate mousse recipe, melt 200g of chocolate with 4tsbp of water, stir in 25g butter till combined and add 4 egg yolks one at a time. Then whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks, before stirring in the chocolate mixture. Pour into bowls/glasses and leave to set for 2 hours in the fridge. I decided to decorate the glasses with slices of strawberries - this did look rather pretty, but I think the extra water in the starwberries meant that the mousse didn't quite set properly where the fruit was - tasted delicious though!

We rather enjoyed the afternoon of cooking and will hopefully look forward to hosting more evenings like this once we both live in the same part of the country!

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