I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Birthday Feast!

My good friend Madam T had been left high and dry by her hubby for her birthday. Sometimes the ones we love just don't realize that even after many years together we still appreciate a little bit of love and attention on our birthiday.

After I found out that she had been stood up, and had to cancel out her reservation for dinner at Marque Restaurant, I knew I had better come up with something pretty decent for her birthday feast.

A thousand menus started rolling through my brain. I was really starting to stress myself out with this meal. I mean I am no Mark Best! Saying that though, all I could do was do my "best".  I had mentioned to her something about salmon, so when I asked her in a moment of sheer panic "what do you want?" her reply was I thought we were having salmon? Ok, focus, just pick something, and go with it!

For starters I chose a simple dip.

Roasted beetroot hummus with dukkah. This of course was a little risky, because as Thermomix consultants we make hummus pretty much on a weekly basis, if not almost daily!! So you often can be a little tired of the sight of it. My version though was a beautiful pink colour, and of course hard to resist.

Roasted Beetroot Hommus

1 large Beetroot, roasted at 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until tender
1 clove garlic
1 can chick peas, drained
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbs tahini

Place the garlic in the TM process on speed 7 for 3 seconds. Add remaining. Ingredients and process on speed 6 for 10 seconds, or until the texture is to your liking.

Sprinkle with some dukkah, and voila, a beautiful pink dip!

So now onto the main. We are supposed to be in summer now, but I think that someone in the weather department has forgotten to set the thermostat to summer heat! Unfortunately I had decided to have a cool salad type meal, too late now - it will just have to do.

Baked Salmon with Tahini and Herb Salad
From Delicious Magazine, December/January edition

Serves 3-4

Side of salmon, skinned and pin boned (mine was approx 600g)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs tahini
1/2 cup thick Greek style yoghurt
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp sumac
2 preserved lemon quarters, flesh and pith removed and discarded, rind finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, leaves finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
50g toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the salmon on the tray, sprinkle with the olive oil. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and 1 tsp sumac, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the preserved lemon, herbs, pine nuts, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sumac together.

To serve place the fish on a large platter, spread the yoghurt and tahini mixture over the fish, and then scatter the herb mixture over the top of the yoghurt mixture.

So now what to serve with that - the recipe suggested roasted potatoes, but on the next page of the magazine there was a recipe for quail with a broad bean and tomato salad it looked really nice, so I decided to pair it with the salmon.

Broad Bean and Tomato Salad

400g tomato medley
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
200g broad beans, prodded, blanched, refreshed
1 bunch miniature asparagus

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking trade with baking paper. Place the tomatoes, garlic and onion, and asparagus on the tray, drizzle with the honey and oil. Scatter with the spices, then roast for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened. Allow to cool. Toss the cooled roasted tomato mixture with the broad beans. Season.

Arrange the vegetable salad around the fish.

But wait, there's more.....

I wake up every morning and read my emails, and drool over the latest food porn awaiting me in my mail box (via Food Buzz). One particular morning this led me to a food blog called Manu's Menu. What a lovely site. It certainly got my interest, because as you know I am heading off to Italy next year, and here on her blog Manu had some lovely Italian cuisine.  One recipe that caught my eye was one for Foccacia di Recco.  Manu went on to say that the foccacia that we usually eat (the fluffy kind) is not traditional. Her photos convinced me that I had to try this type of Foccacia - and let me tell you after eating her version - I am converted. It was absolutely delicious!  Oops - I forgot to take a photo - but Manu has some lovely photos on her site!

I urge you to visit her blog and try the recipe!!!

Right that was the main course over with - but it's a birthday, and what is a birthday without a sweet treat!!!

I had recently made some home made lemon curd, so I was keen to incorporate this somehow into a dessert.  Here is what eventuated!

Hazelnut and Chocolate Dacquois with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries

4 egg whites
1 tsp white vinegar
200g caster sugar
50g hazelnuts, toasted, finely crushed
100g dark chocolate, finely grated

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
Lemon Curd

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Lightly grease and place baking paper in the base of muffin pan (with removable bases) or grease egg rings, and place on a baking tray.

Make sure that your bowl and blades are completely clean, or the egg whites will not whip up.

Place egg whites and vinegar in to the TM bowl (or electric mixer).  Whip until the egg whites have soft peaks.  Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition.  When the mixture is thick and shiny. gently fold in the nuts and chocolate.

Place the mixture into the prepared pans (rings).

Cook the meringue for 10-15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.  Allow to cool in the oven, with the door slightly ajar.

To serve slice the meringue in half horizontally, using 3 pieces for each dessert stack.

Place on section on serving plate, top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Place second meringue disc on top of the cream.  Place a dollop of lemon curd on the meringue, along with another dollop of whipped cream. Top with another meringue disc.  Top with a little whipped cream, and then add several blueberries.  Place some sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream on the side.  Dust with a little icing sugar.

I am pretty sure, that even though this meal was not up to par with Marque, Madam T was pretty pleased with her birthday feast.  Happy Birthday my friend!!!

To team up with the birthday celebrations, I was lucky enough to receive this week, The Editor's Pick, Fantastic Foodie award!!!


  1. Hi Cate! What a wonderful blog you have! Thank you so much for all your sweet words and for the mention! Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and letting me know you had made focaccia di Recco! Very happy to have found you! :-) Have a great Sunday!

  2. Loving that Dacquois! It looks absolutely amazing!

  3. Now there would be murder in the air if my husband did that !!!
    You have done an amazing thing here and you must be a great friend to have.
    I am off to make the beetroot hummus with beetroot from our garden. If I had any salmon in the house we would be eating that as well. It all looks fantastic. Diane