With such a choice I decided I would do a savoury & a sweet, the savoury is the sensational blue-eye dish above which is only kinda blue as the fish monger had no blue eye and I had to settle for snapper instead, oh well it was all in the right spirit & anyway I love snapper so it was no problem for me to change. This is a Curtis Stone recipe from 'Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone', even though everyone absolutely loved it, I know why & I will not be making it again. The amount of butter & cream used was enough to cause a heart attack on the spot & I even reduced the quantities as I couldnt make myself use the full lot. I know when you go out heaps is used but it's easier to turn a blind eye when out & pretend you dont know. When you are actually cooking yourself & have to physically add the butter & cream, for me anyway I get scared & try to avoid dishes with these vast quantities. Suprisingly the red wine reduction was probably the healthiest thing on the plate as it was simply pure red wine & isnt a glass or 2 supposed to be good for the old heart too? Anyway, here is the recipe for those brave enough to take it on....By the way, the recipe is called 'oven roasted...' & the oven is not used at all so think the recipe may have changed somewhere along the way.
Oven roasted blue-eye with garlic mashed potatoes and pinot noir reduction - Curtis Stone - Relaxed cooking with Curtis Stone
One 750ml bottle Pinot Noir
2 large russet potatoes (abt 1 kg), peeled
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Four 185-220g blu-eye trevalla fillets (preferably the thick end of the fillets)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pour the wine into a medium-sized heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-high heat for 40 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup and slightly thick.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 5cm chunks, and place them in a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook the garlic in a small saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then remove & dunk in a bowl of cold water. Repeat this process 2 more times. Peel off the skins and mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle.
Drain the potatoes well then return them to the pan and mash. Mix the garlic into the potatoes.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium high heat, then slowly stir it into the mashed potatoes. Slowly stir in the cream to make a nice, velvety smooth puree. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, and gradually beat in 75g of the butter. Season the potatoes with salt & pepper to taste. Cover with cling film & keep warm.
Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the fish with salt & pepper. Place the fish in the pan & cook for about 8 minutes on one side, turn, add the lemon juice & remaining butter to the pan. Continue cooking, spooning the lemon-butter over the fish as it cooks, for about 4 minutes, until just cooked through.
Place some potato puree on each plate, top with fish & drizzle over the red wine reduction.
My second blue dish was a blueberry torta from Jamie Oliver's Italy. I've had this book for ages and have hardly cooked any of the dishes even though every time I flick through there are tons of recipes I really want to try out. The cake uses 600g of blueberries so it really packs in the fruit which is something I love, it's funny really, give me straight chocolate in any form & I'm in heaven yet with cakes/desserts I prefer fruity concoctions over chocolate. It also contains olive oil & is mixed with melted butter rather than the more traditional creaming method, the result is a lovely moist, berry laden cake with a lovely crisp shell if you are lucky enough to get an edge piece. Also it makes a huge cake, I used a 25cm square tin & it was still quite high so one for the crowds. Perfect with a nice cup of afternoon tea!
Torta di nada / nada's cake - Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy
Serves 10 (very generously)
butter for preparing the cake tin
4 large eggs, at room temperature
180g unsalted butter, melted
115ml extra virgin olive oil
1 vanilla pod, sees removed or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tspns baking powder
a good pinch of sea salt
zest of 2 lemons, grated
zest of 2 oranges, grated
600g fresh blueberries or small sweet red grapes such as muscat or fragola
Preheat the oven to 175c. Generously butter a 25cm cake tine, line the base with greaseproof paper and set aside. Either by hand or in an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes until thick & pale yellow, then add the butter, oil, milk & vanilla. Mix well, then sift in the flour, baking powder & salt. Add the lemon & orange zest & stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.
Stir about a quarter of the berries into the batter, spoon it into your prepared tin and smooth out the top. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven, scatter the remaining berries on top & gently push them down. Return to the oven for another 30-40 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm. Put the tin on a rack to cool. After 10 minutes run a knife along the sides of the pan and turn out your cake.