Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Had to Share...

we had friends over on saturday night and I did two of my old time favourites, chicken with chickpea salad and capsicum sauce then a blitz torte and just had to share........

Before the chicken I passed around fresh anchovie toasts (bill granger) with berry champange cocktails.
The toasts are zesty, crunchy and have enough flavour and substance to carry staright to a main course.
Anchovie Toasts
In a bowl combine 18 fresh anchovie fillets with 1 tblsp of lemon zest, 2 1/2 tbls chopped red onion, and a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley.
Brush 18 slices of small sourdough bagette with olive oil ( both sides) and cook for about 7 mins - until crisp.
Top the toats with the mixture.
The champagne was a good partner, not to mention party starter.

In tall flutes put a small pure cane sugar cube, a dribble of creme de cassis and a berry, i used huge, juicy blackberries i got from our local markets, then fill the glass to the top with champers.

Roast chicken with chickpea salad and capsicum sauce
This appears to be a huge recipe...that because it is but it is well worth it and pretty simple.
The capsicum sauce doesnt have to be made ahead but can and for me, gone are the days that i can cook all day without interruption so every bit helps...

The capsicum sauce
100 ml olive oil
6 red capsicum chopped (or red pepper-not sure what you call then in the states..bell peppers?)
1 medium red onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic, sliced ( i use 1)
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 fresh red chilli finely chopped
80 g brown sugar
100 ml white vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add capsicum and onion and stir occasionally over a medium heat. Do this fopr about 15-20 mins or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for three minutes, add brown sugar and stir over heat for 15 mins. Add vinegar and simmer stirring occasionally until vinegar has evaporated. Cool to room temp process in food processor an dseason. Spoon mixture into strilised jars and seal whilst still warm. This keeps, in the fridge for a few weeks and is great adder to pasta, sandwiches whatever you fancy.

The chickpea salad
2 tins of chickpeas (or 200g dried chickpeas soaked over night etc..)
1 cup of good egg mayo
2 tblsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and mix well.

The chicken
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 chicken breasts
2 tbls olive oil
3 small avocados, peeled, halved and thickly sliced
Combine coriander,fenugreek, chilli flakes and mustard seeds in a pan and dry raost until aromatic, low heat. Place seeds in mortar and pestle and crush until fine add tumeric and cinnamon. Place chicken breasts ina single layer in a glass or ceramic dish and rub all over with spice mix.
Heat olive iol in a non stick fry pan amd brown chicken in batches over a medium heat, transfer to a roasting pan and bake at 190 for 10-15 mins or til cooked. Remove and rest for 5.

To serve place capsicum sauce on plate as a round base ( about 1-2 tblsp) top with slices of avocado and then capsicum sauce then halve the chicken breasts and palce on top. finish with a blob more cap sauce on top.
I put a bowl of rocket ( rucola) leaves on the table too but i dont hink it was necessary.

we had blitz torte for dessert but i am all typed out so will save that for another time

Blitz Torte

Here is the recipe for the torte. I always shy away from making anything meringue for some reason and I am not such a huge fan of eating it either but this cake is an exception to the rule on both counts. Its very easy with any mistakes easily powdered over and I never tire of eating it. Another plus is that its keeps very well in the fridge for a few days.

1/4 lb butter
1/4 lb castor sugar + 6 oz
3 eggs seperated
3 oz plain flour
1 oz
2 level tsp baking powder
1/2 level tsp cinnamon plus extra for dusting
6 tblsp single cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 ml whipped cream
powdered sugar for dusting

Cream butter and 1/4 lb of sugar til light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating well inbetween. Combine flour, cornflour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir into butter mixture alternatively with the cream to which you have added 1/2 tsp of the vanilla.
Spread mixture evenly into two springform tins of the same size. (20-23cm will do) which have been greased and lined with baking paper. It looks like the mixture wont make it, especially if your tins are 23cm but spread thinly and trust me.
Beat egg whites until stiff, then beat in the 6 oz of sugar and the other 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat until mixture is thick and glossy.
Spread mixture evenly over torte mixture in the two tins.
Place in oven at 170c for 25 mins thenturn up to 180c for another 30mins.
Cool in tins. Caefully remove. Just before serving invert one cake on a plate, spread evenly with whipped cream and place other cake on top...obviously if one of the meringues ahs turned out better than the other use this one for the top. then dust lightly with cinnamon and icing sugar.
serve with more cream


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