I decided to set myself a challenge last week, I was cooking for 2 friends on Saturday evening so decided to try something a bit more sophisticated as it is much easier to do good quality food for a smaller amount of people. My dinner parties are usually for 6 – 8 people so getting these dishes timed right would have been very difficult and VERY expensive too!
I had a lot of recipes from the “Nopi” cookbook that I had been wanting to try so I put a few of these together to make a bit of a taster menu. I started with the chicken meatballs that I wrote about on my last post washed down with a few prosecco cocktails 😉 Then served the Beef brisket fritters. I loved these fritters but a lot of work is involved and I only made a couple each, I would suggest making a much bigger batch of these if you try it at home. I started the preparation on Wednesday where I made the Master Stock that the beef cooks in. Then on Friday evening I cooked the beef in the stock for around 3 hours, then let it cool in the stock for a further hour and then reduced the remaining liquid into a thick sauce to dip the fritters in. By the time it was done it was bedtime.
Saturday afternoon involved ( as well as many other things) pulling the beef apart and mixing with some fried celery, carrot and shallot and coating in panko breadcrumbs and chilling before shallow frying just before serving. A lot of effort for 2 little balls… but well worth it.
My next course was the “Spiced Buttermilk Cod with Urid Dhal“ I did a trial run of the lentil element of this dish on the Tuesday before but I didn’t have the right type of lentils – I used yellow lentils and although tasty they were a bit too crunchy so I remade it with the correct lentils on Saturday morning. The first version is now in my freezer awaiting another piece of cod!
I marinated the cod in buttermilk with some ground spices for about 5 hours before cooking ( any longer and the fish will fall apart) and then cooked in the oven for around 10 minutes. This was honestly the best cooked cod I have ever served, I usually over cook it as I am scared to under cook fish as I am not very experienced with it.I followed the instructions to the minute though and it flaked away nicely as it should and really took on the spices without them overpowering the fish.
The next course was one of the favourite things I have ever cooked, although I can’t take the credit as I didn’t invent it , I just executed it. Preparation for this dish started a few days before with roasting aubergines stuffed with garlic slices then mixing with lemon and tahini. Making a pickling liquid to pickle some kholrabi, that I searched high and low for but with no joy – apparently it is in season next week. I ended up using turnip instead as it seemed to be the closest thing. A Jalapeño sauce consisting of Jalapeño chilli’s and capers was also prepared about 5 days in advance!
I ordered a rack of lamb from my butcher but was quite surprised how small it was, so if I made this again I would order 3 pieces per person. I was happy to see that they had trimmed it nicely for me though as my knives are not too sharp at the moment.
The lamb was cooked at the last minute on a griddle pan for about 3 minutes which left it perfectly pink and was served on top of the warm aubergine pureé, jalepeno sauce and pickle. Even as I was plating up this dish I really did not know how on earth these flavours were going to work together – but they did.. they REALLY did!
The recipe did actually have a method for smoking the lamb first but I am afraid I cheated and skipped this stage as I did not have the equipment.
Dessert was not from the book but a previous recipe of mine that had been requested – Salted caramel pannacotta.
After dessert one of my guests made us some Espresso Martini’s and we were up til 5am… maybe we should have had these at the beginning of the night!!
I don’t feel like I can write out all these recipes on my blog as they are not actually mine and that would be cheating – but I really do recommend checking the book out if you can.
I have learnt a lot of new flavour combinations and techniques from this little challenge so will be incorporating some of the ideas into my own recipes in the near future!