I haven’t had a dinner party in a while (bubs is a bit time consuming oddly enough) but now that she’s settled into a routine, I saw an opportunity to have some friends over and to try out a few recipes. Of course, I did choose recipes where components of the main and the dessert could be made in advance.
As you can probably tell from my blog, I love chocolate. However, one thing I’ve never tried is to make a savoury dish using chocolate. I thought that this would be a good chance to try it out. So I pulled out my Whittaker’s A Passion for Chocolate book and had a look through. If you like the look of these recipes, I recommend you get this book – there are still so many things I want to try from it!
On the menu:
Lamb rump with rosemary-infused Whittaker’s Dark Ghana sauce, served with carrot and mango julienne, green beans, turnips, and olive and grape salsa
Olive pull apart bread
Chocolate mousse cake served with vanilla ice cream and a berry coulis
Chocolate overload! I was pleased with the way it all turned out (although I did forget to garnish my main with micro greens – oops). The main was a good combination of salty, sweet and bitter flavours. The dessert was really rich and indulgent, but not overly sweet. I even had a go at making my own chocolate decorations by melting and drizzling some white, milk and dark chocolate together.
I served the main with an olive pull apart bread, courtesy of hubby’s hard work. It was made in exactly the same way as my pull apart garlic bread, except that hubby mixed in chopped Kalamata olives with the dough and that we put more chopped olives, rosemary, garlic and olive oil over the top instead of cheese and butter.
The recipe for the main states ‘Pirinoa lamb rump’ but mine weren’t from Pirinoa (and they actually had the fat trimmed off them already – still tasty and tender). The recipe is courtesy of Marc Soper of Maginnity’s Restaurant at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel in Wellington. The chocolate mousse cake is courtesy of Steve Logan and is from the pastry kitchen at Logan Brown in Wellington.
If you can’t get a hold of Whittaker’s chocolate, just substitute any decent quality chocolate with at least 72% cocoa solids. I omitted lemongrass in the main as one of our party had a bad experience with it once and I also didn’t use hazelnut oil as I didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy a whole bottle for just 5mL. I just used olive oil instead.
For the dessert, I used a handheld electric beater as I don’t actually have a mixer. I also used small, round, loose-bottomed tins to make the cake in. To make the berry coulis, all I did was stew some mixed berries with a bit of lime juice (or you could use lemon – our lime tree has just gone a bit mad at the moment) and sugar (I also used a bit of icing sugar as I wanted it to thicken). Mash the berries up with a spoon and then push it through a sieve to remove any seeds.
(Pirinoa) lamb rump with rosemary-infused Whittaker’s Dark Ghana sauce, served with carrot and mango julienne, green beans, turnips, and olive and grape salsa
6 lamb rumps with cap on (approximately 200g each)
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Heat a fry pan with a little oil. Season both sides of the lamb with salt and pepper. Place the rumps skin side down first, giving them a good searing, then turn over to do the same on the other side.
Place in the oven for approximately 10-14 minutes, until medium.
Remove and rest the meat in a warm place to allow the juices to evenly disperse themselves throughout the meat.
Carrot and mango julienne (makes 300g)
2 Tbsp honey
170g carrots, peeled and sliced thinly into strips
100g fresh mango, peeled and sliced thinly into strips
15g finely chopped fresh ginger
13g fresh lemongrass, crushed
1 Tbsp sweet vinegar
Heat the honey in a saucepan, and add the carrot and mango. Cook over a high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and lemongrass, and cook for a further minute before stirring in the vinegar. Remove from the heat, and season with salt.
Rosemary-infused Dark Ghana sauce (makes 330mL)
7g fresh rosemary
1 leaf of sheet gelatine, soaked in cold water to soften just before using
60g Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate, broken into small pieces
4 threads saffron
Heat the milk with the rosemary in a saucepan, to the boil. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Add the cream and softened gelatine, bring back to the boil and blend.
Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth (I used a whisk at this point to get the sauce really smooth).Add the saffron and salt to taste.
Olive and grape salsa (makes 80g)
20g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
40g red grapes, thinly sliced
15g hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and crushed
2g fresh mint, finely sliced
5mL hazelnut oil (I just used olive oil)
juice of 1/4 orange
cracked black pepper
Combine all the ingredients, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
12 green beans, trimmed and blanched
5 baby turnips, peeled, blanched and cut into quarters
pea tendrils or baby salad greens, to garnish
Divide the heated carrot and mango julienne between warmed plates or bowls.
Blanch the beans and reheat the turnips, draining when ready. Season with salt and pepper.
Place 2 beans and 3 pieces of turnip on each plate. Slice the rested lamb thinly and arrange on top. Spoon some salsa on top of the lamb. Spoon around the hot sauce, and garnish with fresh pea tendrils or baby salad greens.
(I did this a little differently – I spooned the sauce at the bottom of the dish first, then put the julienne on, and then placed the turnips and beans on the plate. Then came the lamb with the salsa on top.)
Chef’s notes: the flavours of this dish are very savoury, with the carrot and mango working well with the bitter chocolate and sweet grape salsa. The sauce and the carrot mix can be prepared days in advance. Using the Dark Ghana gives opportunities with savoury foods, as it works well with salt, coffee and strong spices such as saffron. Use good quality salt; this will add sweetness.
Chocolate mousse cake
60g Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line the base of a long, loose-bottomed flan tin (10cm x 30cm) with baking paper and spray with canola oil.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water.
Beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a mixer until pale, then add the cooled melted chocolate.
Whip the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the chocolate mix with a metal spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 15 minutes. When cool, press down so the base is nice and dense.
160g Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, separated
Melt the chocolate and butter together, either on a low heat on the stove or in the microwave.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready for it.
Whipt the egg yolks on high speed until they are pale, then whisk in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture by hand. Fold in the cream.
Finally, with a clean bowl and whisk attachment, whish the egg whites to soft peaks and fold in last. Pour onto the cooled base and set overnight or for at least 4 hours.
150g Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate, chopped
Heat the cream until almost boiling, and then pour it over the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until smooth and glossy, then pour over the set mousse cake. Chill in the fridge until set, then remove from the tin and portion as required.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Eva from Kitchen Inspirations. You can check out her amazing blog here.
You can find out more about Our Growing Edge by clicking here.