Recently, Sister A enjoyed her 28th birthday. To celebrate, I hosted the family at my place for dinner. To keep my workload to a minimum, everyone was asked to bring something: Sister A and her partner M were asked to bring a starter, Mother K and her partner H were in charge of the main and wine, I was in charge of the accompanying sides, Sister E the dessert, and Father T the champagne.
To begin, Sister A and her partner M made some delicious peach and haloumi skewers, perfect for the warm summer evening we had. Quick to prepare, they were a really great choice and I will definitely be making these ones myself!
It was Mother K’s partner H who cooked the roast beef for main, and he did an excellent job. As it was cooked before they arrived, it had plenty of time to rest and was served cold with a decadent truffle mayonnaise that Mother K whipped up. As we sat down to eat she let me in on a little secret: she didn’t make the mayo herself, but instead bought a good quality mayo and added the truffle oil to it. The recipe below gives you the steps to make it from scratch yourself, but feel free to use this little short cut if you need to to save time.
Along with the truffle mayo Mother K also made her favourite carrot salad, which she made previously at Easter time last year. It’s an Andrew McConnell recipe which she did an excellent job of executing.
To accompany the main, I decided to make a cauliflower ‘tabouli’ which I knew Sister A would like. Unlike a traditional tabouli which combines parsley and cracked wheat, this tabouli is a mix of herbs combined with cauliflower cut into tiny florets to replace to wheat. I also made a big batch of roast potatoes, though since I have posted the recipe so many times recently I decided not to bore you with yet another photo of my amazingly crispy potatoes.
For dessert, Sister E made a recipe from the Burch & Purchase book she received for Christmas: a layered creation made from coconut sugo, passionfruit curd and ginger crumbs, topped with a mini passionfruit macaron. It was truely amazing, though she tells me if you want the recipe you will need to go out and get the book as there are a lot of processes involved!
It was an excellent meal, with everyone doing their part to keep the workload to a minimum. I think the important thing to remember about family get togethers is not to stress yourself out. Delegate! And if, like me, you fear handing over the responsibility to someone else, print out one of these recipes and hand it to them.
PEACH & HALOUMI SKEWERS
4 ripe peaches
250g block of haloumi cheese
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dukkah
- Deseed the peaches and cut into 2cm cubes.
- Cut the haloumi into similar sized cubes.
- Thread peach pieces and haloumi onto skewers, alternating between the two.
- On a hot grill, grill the skewers on all sides until slightly charred.
- Meanwhile, heat the honey in the microwave in a small ramakin until runny.
- Once the skewers are cooked, place on a serving tray. Drizzle over honey and sprinkle with dukkah.
W/ TRUFFLE MAYONNAISE
1.5kg beef eye fillet
2 brown onions, sliced thickly
salt and pepper
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
300ml canola oil
50ml truffle oil
micro herbs to serve
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Generously rub beef fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook beef fillets on all sides until sealed, about 5-10 minutes.
- Place onions on a roasting tray and place beef on top. Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes for medium rare, or until cooked to your liking. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing thickly. Place on a sercing tray with onions, scatter with micro herbs and serve with truffle mayonnaise.
- FOR THE MAYONNAISE: Place the egg and egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and some salt and pepper in a blender and whiz to combine. Combine the oils in a jug, then, with the motor running, slowly pour oil through the feed tube until you have a thick emulsion.
CARROTS IN VERJUICE
W/ GOATS CHEESE & PINE NUTS
1/4 cup (35g) dried currants
1/3 cup (80 ml) verjuice
1 bunch baby (dutch) carrots, green tops trimmed, cleaned
1 bunch baby purple carrots, green tops trimmed, cleaned
1/4 cup (40g) pine nuts
100 g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 cup (100g) fresh goat’s curd
1/4 cup (3 tablespoons) chopped flat-leaf parsley
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
- Combine currants and verjuice in a bowl and leave to hydrate, about an hour.
- Cook carrots in boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and leave to cool slightly. Using a Chux, scrub the skins from the carrots while still warm. Halve lengthways.
- Drain the currants, reserving the verjuice.
- In a dry pan, roast the pine nuts until just golden. Remove and set aside.
- Add the butter to the pan and allow to melt. Add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until the butter has begun to brown. Add the reserved verjuice and cook until syrupy.
- Transfer carrots to a serving tray, scatter with currants and pine nuts, crumble over goats curd, and sprinkle over parsley. Drizzle over a little olive oil before serving.
1 large head of cauliflower
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 bunch chives
1 bunch of coriander
1/2 bunch parsley
1/3 cup currents
Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs pomegranate molasses
2 tbs red wine vinegar
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Pull all the leaves off the cauliflower and discard. Cut into quarters and using your knife, cut the very tips of the cauliflower off so that you have very very small florets and lots of crumbly bits. Transfer to a lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake in a moderate oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, lightly toast almonds in a dry pan until beginning to brown. Set aside.
- Finely chop the chives, and moderately-finely chop parsley and coriander. Place in a large bowl with almonds, currents, 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds and the cauliflower.
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and add to the cauliflower. Mix well and check seasoning. Transfer to a serving plate and scatter over remaining pomegranate seeds before serving.