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A little cheese and a little whine

English Summer Dinner Party – Menu and Recipes

In line with previous efforts, here are details of what we ate for anyone who’s interested:

Watercress Soup – This was made to Delia’s recipe, except we left out the crème fraiche in the soup itself (although we had some for garnish) and used Knorr stock rather than Marigold. The bread rolls were made using the no-knead recipe from this book (worth a look if you’re interested in bread-making), and used a mixture of spelt flour and Lidl’s farmhouse bread flour, which contains rye.

Crab and Asparagus Tart – The pastry cases for these were paté-à-paté made using this technique but without the sugar. The asparagus was poached for about ten minutes and allowed to cool. The filling was made in three stages – first we made a thick béchamel sauce (slightly thicker than required in the end), and then added a lot of melted butter (about 1 part butter to 2 parts béchamel) and blended this with egg yolk to stabilise it. Finally we stirred in dressed crab.

Sea Bass on Butter Fried Crumpets with Rocket and Radish Salad – The salad was dressed simply in lemon juice and a very little oil and the sea bass (skilfully de-boned by Helen) was fried for a couple of minutes each side with a little seasoning. The crumpets were fried in butter, face down, over a medium heat for about four minutes – the trick is not to let the butter brown two quickly – then for a few seconds on their other side. Once assembled, the sea bass was topped with dill and horseradish sauce made by chopping about 10g of dill into a 160ml jar of sauce.

Salmon on Cracked Pepper Oat Crackers – The crackers were made according to this recipe but adding about two dozen black peppercorns which had been smashed with a rolling pin (in a bag, if you try this). We topped this with a blend of cream cheese, crème fraiche and chives and then a sliver of salmon.

Coronation Chicken – This was made according to the original recipe here, although we reduced the sauce to about 1/5th its original volume before adding it to the mayonnaise to prevent the finished sauce being too runny.

Cherry Tinker Cakes – Actually these were so far from tinker cakes in the end that they should really have just been called scones. They were made by blending cherries into a scone dough made with muscovado rather than white sugar, and then stirring through some chopped cherries. The resulting dough is very slack (thanks to the liquid in the blended fruit) but bakes out quite well. We served these topped with whipped cream laced with cherry brandy.

Pimm’s Ice Cream – This was 75ml of Pimm’s in 0.5l of three-egg custard. We served it with strawberry syrup (made by mixing jam with hot water and straining the result), crème de menthe and a strawberry which had been soaking in Pimm’s for a couple of days.

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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