The school holidays are a great time for me to sort stuff out, like finally going through all my old Taste magazines and cutting out the recipes I wanted to try.
I ended up with a biggish stack of recipes and thought, why not have another dinner party and try three of them out? (I know this is often listed as a dinner party no-no. You’re not supposed to try recipes for the first time on guests, but my family and friends are forgiving and adventurous.)
So, I invited mum and dad around and chose some recipes that I thought would appeal to them. (It might seem like I have people around for dinner a lot, but that usually only happens during the holidays as well!)
The menu was:
Coconut crab with mango (Taste Jan/Feb 2012)
Creamed new potatoes with leeks and scallops (Taste October 2012)
Coconut creams with pineapple (sorry, can’t find what edition of Taste this came from!)
Everything seemed to go well, except for the fact that I had a go making pineapple flowers which I found on this blog and then completely forgot to put them on the dessert.
Part of the reason I chose the dessert was because I could make it the night before, and also because my friend from IE Produce (which is a great organic and specialty food store on Auckland’s North Shore) gave me some lovely vanilla beans and gelatine leaves a little while ago and this seemed like a good excuse to use them.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the food too. If you’re keen to try the recipes, here they are. Please note that the recipes for the coconut crab and the coconut creams differ from the original Taste recipe. This is because I cut down the quantities for four servings and had to substitute a few ingredients.
Coconut crab with mango
100mL thick canned coconut cream
1 small red chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds first for a milder taste)
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 perfectly ripe mango
250g frozen crab meat, defrosted and quickly dunked in boiling water
crisp fried shallots for garnish (from Asian supermarkets)
microgreens for garnish
Put the coconut cream, chilli, lime juice (reserve a little for the mango), kaffir lime leaves and a pinch of salt into a small frying pan. Heat gently and let it bubble away and reduce by half. Cover pan with a lid and leave until cool. Mix with the crab meat.
Peel mangoes and remove flesh from stones. Cut into bite-size pieces and arrange on dishes. Squirt a little lime juice over mango. Spoon the crab and coconut mixture over the top. Decorate with microgreens and fried shallots.
Creamed new potatoes with leeks and scallops
700g new potatoes, cut into quarters
3 knobs butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large leek, cut in half lengthways, washed, then cut into slices (white part only)
100mL white wine
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
20 large scallops (roe removed, if preferred)
1 cup microgreens or baby salad leaves
2 Tbsp salmon roe (or caviar)
1 large lemon, cut in half
Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water, bring to the boil and cook until tender – 15 minutes or so – then drain and leave to steam.
In a large pot, melt the butter until sizzling. Add garlic and leek and sweat for 4-5 minutes. Add the wine, reduce by half, then add the cream and reduce by half. Add cooked potatoes and season with a pinch each of salt and white pepper. Stir in chopped parsley and set aside.
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan until hot. Season scallops then cook 10 in the hot oil for 30 seconds or so on each side. Remove from pan and put on a warmed plate to rest. Heat remaining oil, then cook the rest of the scallops.
To serve, place the creamed potatoes on a plate or in a bowl and arrange scallops around them. Garnish with microgreens and salmon roe, then drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Coconut creams with pineapple
1 1/2 gelatine leaves
300mL coconut cream
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half lengthways
1/3 C cane sugar (or white sugar)
Place the gelatine in a bowl and cover with cold water.
Heat the coconut cream, vanilla pod and sugar over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the vanilla pod, rinse it and set it aside for the pineapple compote.
Drain the water from the gelatine and squeeze the leaves to remove any remaining water. Stir into the warm coconut cream until the gelatine dissolves completely.
Pour into small glasses and chill overnight before serving.
1/4 C water
1/4 C cane or white sugar
1 vanilla pod (reuse from coconut creams recipe)
dash of rum (optional)
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
Make a sugar syrup by heating the water, sugar and vanilla pod until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Remove vanilla pod and add a dash of rum to taste, if using. Mix with the pineapple. Chill until ready to serve.
To serve: top each coconut cream with a spoonful of pineapple compote.