Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wining and Dining


This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so on the weekend I hosted a "Girls Night In" dinner party for all my lovely lady friends. It was a really fun way to get together and have a good time while raising money for a really important cause.

Everyone was asked to bring a plate to share and my god did they deliver. Thanks to the efforts of my beautifully diverse friends, the kitchen bench was groaning with yummy frittata, mexican burritos, kebabs, chicken tagine, quiche, lentil and quinoa salads, and amazing Croatian desserts. Many a food baby was produced as a result of this. 

So here are some pics from the night and a couple of recipes of the salads I made, plus an extra recipe of lentil salad kindly given to me by the famous Sarah


These following recipes were made to feed a crowd - so change the quantities to suit your needs. 

Spring Salad with Pepitas, Almonds and Quinoa

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 a head of butter lettuce
large handful of snow peas
3 radishes
3 yellow squash
1 large, ripe avocado
1 cup mixed roasted almonds and pepitas, roughly chopped
dressing: dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar

Thinly slice the radishes and squash (I used a mandolin but a knife works). Wash and dry the lettuce and assemble on a platter, along with a torn handful of parsley. Toss the quinoa onto the lettuce and scatter over the radishes and squash. Lightly steam the snow peas over boiling water for a few minutes and add this to the salad. Add the slices of avocado, crunchy nuts and pepitas and finally the dressing, just before serving. 

Pearl Barley Salad with Grilled Haloumi

2 cups cooked pearl barley
4 roma tomatoes
1 spanish onion
400g butternut pumpkin
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of basil 
about 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
a few sprigs of oregano
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
lemon zest grated and lemon juice
300g haloumi
olive oil

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place in a baking dish, along with the pumpkin cut into similar sized pieces. Add the spanish onion, cut into small wedges and the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh oregano.  Stir to coat the tomatoes and pumpkin. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour or until soft. Remove and set aside.

In a bowl place the cooked barley. Grate the lemon zest and add along with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a huuuuge handful of roughly chopped parsley and basil. Stir to combine. Roughly chop up the roasted tomatoes and put into the bowl along with the pumpkin and roasted red onion. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and add to the salad too, along with any juices left in the roasting pan.

Arrange spinach on platter and pour over the barley salad mixture. Slice up the haloumi into cm thick slices and grill in a hot pan for a few minutes either side and add to the salad to finish. 

Lentil Salad
This is inspired by a salad dish at an organic restaurant Sarah used to work at in Manly

500g puy lentils
200g whole dried cranberries (Harris Farm has great ones - apparently
soaking and draining the dried fruit in hot water gets rid of excess sugar)
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 a spanish onion, finely chopped
generous scatter of marinated feta, goats cheese or similar soft cheese (sarah used a dill, parsley and garlic marinated fetta cheese which was so good)
zest of 1 lemon
dressing: balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil (sarah used garlic infused olive oil), lemon juice and brown sugar, if needed

Cook lentils according to instructions on packet. Drain and set aside.
In a bowl combine the parsley, onion, dried cranberries, lemon zest and dressing ingredients. Stir to combine, then add the lentils and stir well. When ready to serve, crumble marinated feta over the top. 

Prawn Skewers with Dukkah 
I went off the ratio of 2 prawns per skewer because the green tiger prawns I got were quite big - so change this to suit your needs

Fresh prawns, deshelled and de-veined
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup of dukkah
Zest from 1 lemon
Olive oil, about 3 tablespoons

Skewer the prawns onto wooden bamboo skewers that have been soaking in water (to stop them burning during the cooking process). Place in a dish and cover with garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, and dukkah - making sure each skewer gets coated in the marinade. Set aside, covered, to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Cook prawn skewers for about 10 minutes on a barbecue or hot griddle pan just before serving.

books   My work was kind enough to donate some cookbooks to give away in a little raffle door prize which I hope will be put to good use (Stace, I'm looking at you).












Marshmallow Pavlova
From Women's Weekly 'Bake'
I spiked the pavlova base with a bit of pink colouring and served it with a rosewater infused whipped cream, fresh raspberries and grated dark chocolate.

4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
300ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon rosewater (optional)
1 cup fresh raspberries
150g dark chocolate, grated

Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan forced. Line an oven tray with baking paper and spray with an oil spray - then dust with a little cornflour and shake away the excess. 
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add the sugar, and keep beating until the sugar dissolves. Add vanilla extract and vinegar and beat until well combined. 

Spread meringue into a circle on the foil, building up the meringue to about 8cm at the side. Smooth side and top of pavlova gently with a spatula.

Bake pavlova for about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off; and then cool the pavlova in the oven with the door ajar. 

Remove and when ready to serve, top with whipped cream, raspberries and chocolate or any toppings of your choice! 

1 comment:

  1. cuteeee!!!! i miss home. looks so pretty with all the decorations! amanda x