So now I just had to decide what to cook. I wanted to keep them quite light, and wanted a nice mix of flavours and hot and cold.
The first thing I made was this from the BBC Good Food site - Spanish Spinach Omelette
When you look at the recipe you think 10 eggs is going to be WAY too much, but I only ended up with maybe 2 slices about the size of those in the picture (which incidentally I'm having for tea tonight!) I served it with this fantastic Bruschetta mix from Oil & Vinegar Bruschetta Mix. Its essentially freeze dried tomato, red pepper, garlic, herbs and seasoning. You mix it with hot water and a glug of olive oil. You can then stir it into creme fraiche to use as a dip, its nice on top of jacket potatoes with some crispy bacon, or you can use it as a dressing for steamed veggies. It went really well with the still warm tortilla.
The next thing I made was Smoked Mackerel Pate, and to be honest I make it quite a bit. I always have a packet of peppered smoked mackerel in the freezer so its so easy to whip up for a quick lunch.
to make a bowls worth as in the picture below
1) take one packet of peppered smoked mackerel fillets. Remove skin and flake into the bowl of a mini blender
2) add in 300ml of half fat creme fraiche, the juice of a lemon, and some snipped chives
3) blend until desired consistency. you may need to stir it around in the blender
4) serve with some warm wholemeal toasts or crudites
I also made some little smoked salon blinis as I love them!
1) take 300ml of half fat creme fraiche and add a good glug of vodka and season. put in the fridge to chill
2) use a ready prepared vac-pack beetroot, or cook your own (I did and had pink hands for 36hrs) and slice into very fine strips. I only used 1 med sized beetroot to do 16 blini
3) take one packet of blinis (I don't make my own) and put them on a baking tray and into a low oven for 10 minutes
4) once they are lightly toasted, remove from the oven and let them cool. if you don't do this the creme fraiche tends to slide off - not a good look
5) once cooled, place a small pile (about a teaspoon) of the beetroot julienne on top of each blini.
6) follow with a teaspoon or so of the creme fraiche
7) top this with smoked salmon. I used Salisbury's Basics smoked salmon trimmings 120g, and it was the perfect amount.
8) sprinkle some chopped chives over the top and serve - perfect with champagne!
I also found another recipe on the BBC Good Food site which looked so simple but very tasty
I did it slightly differently to the method in the recipe, in that my pear wasn't particularly long, so I just cut it into strips, halved my piece of prosciutto and went from there. To be honest I like the way the pear peeps out surrounded by the rocket, makes for a more interesting visual
And my final canape was to be honest a bit of a let down. I had been at The Belfry (nr Birmingham) a couple of weeks ago on a work trip and we were given a fantastic array of canapes before dinner. One of them was, as far as we could work out, a tomato croquette. Now the version we had was a smooth pale red inside, and served warm - very reminiscent of a potato croquette and was one of the nicest little morsels I have eaten in a while. I searched high and low on the old t'internet for a recipe which sounded vaguely like it would produce what I wanted and was stumped at every turn. In the end the only recipe I found was this one Tomato and Basil Croquettes
If you look at the recipe you can see it is supposed to have a small cube of mozzarella inside but that wasn't what I was after. In hindsight once I had read the recipe and realised that mashed potato mixed with sun dried tomatoes wasn't really what I was after, I should have knocked it on the head and found something else. But never mind.
They turned out OK, but only OK. The crispy breadcrumbs were nice, and the filling was tasty, but it just wasn't what I was after. I made a homemade garlic mayo to go with them, and that wasn't great either. FAR too garlicky, and all I can say is its a good job we were all eating it!
For main course I did St Delia's fantastic Leg of Lamb Baked in Foil with Butter and Herbs. Its so easy! Just make slashes in the lamb and rub in the lovely herby butter. It should be accompanied by a redcurrant, orange and mint sauce, but I was serving with dauphinoise and I didn't want the redcurrant/orange to curdle the cream on the plate. I forgot to take a picture of the main, probably due to the amount of alcohol I had consumed by then! But personally I thought it was delish. It was the first time I had tried dauphinoise and I had made it with soya cream and soya milk and it worked out well. Some of the potatoes had stuck together slightly forming a massive wedge of spud which meant there were a couple of spoonfuls which weren't cooked through properly, but hey ho, you live and learn and next time Ill do a bit more stirring in the early stages, or even do what my mum does and par boil the tatties first.