Saturday night we were invited to our friend's J and C to see their new innercity home. We decided it would be sans children and had P's mother mind the children overnight - that's two Saturday evenings in a row we have come home to an empty house. We have been really enjoying it!
They prepared a dinner so lovely that we had to replicate the main course on Sunday to thank P's mother for minding the kiddies.
J uses the same cookbook that I have been for years, Mirrabella Food (Eating simply, eating well) by Guy Mirrabella. This time he prepared some very simply barbecued fish fillets, with a salsa verde and simple potato, onion and tomato bake.
Unfortunately he made an error with the fish - althought it was very tough, it was still very tasty I still managed to eat it all:) The recipe called for whole King George Whiting and he used Sweet Lip instead.
I was talking to my fish guy today and he said that it was probably not the best grade of fish and something that was being passed off as Sweet Lip. I ended up buying some whiting fillets and a piece of dory which my fish guy said that I should give a go. They were perfect, nice and tender.
J also prepared a rather complicated dessert which involved caramelised banana. I am not a huge fan of bananas in desserts, however this particular concocotion was an exception. He served the caramelised banana atop of ricotta mixed with lemon zest on a circle of puff pastry that had been baked earlier. There was also a citrus syrup and vanilla icecream on the side. Although we thought we were too full after the first two courses and the cheese we ate with our cocktails, we managed to fit it all in.
P and I both thought our mistake was that we gorged on the cheese J offered first up. A cheshire with a thread of blue, and a Organic Timboon soft cheese coated in pepper. They then served a pumpkin soup with delicious bread. So quite heavy to start really and we should have eaten less of the cheese, but all delicious and we couldn't help ourselves none the less.
Back to the menu we created for tonight. We decided to start with char-grilled vegetables and sour dough. I made a feta, garlic, ricotta, mint and lemon oil mixture that was stuffed into two yellow peppers and generously spread on the toast. Later I prepared the toast with different combinations, of the vegetables/ricotta mix/parmesan/basil.
We prepared the same main course but this time with whiting and dory. And for dessert I used my most useful reference another person's recipe - tried and true Nectarine Tart. I decided I had to use my blue cast iron skillet again and made a sweet short crust pastry and then added the custard and nectarines it could not have been any easier.
I thought I would share the recipe I use for the sweet short crust pastry as it is really so simple. It is time consuming mainly because of all the resting and blind baking. But I was doing lots of other things in between so it wasn't really too much of a hassle.
Sweet short crust pastry
2 cups of plain (all-purpose) flour 3/4 cup of icing sugar 175 grams of unsalted butter 2 egg yolks 1 - 2 tablespoon of ice cold water.
In a blender add chopped butter, egg yolks and dry ingredients. Begin to blend and add the water a bit at a time until the pastry begins to form on the blade. When the pastry has almost come together, remove from the bowl and knead lightly (do not over work) for 2 minutes and then wrap in plastic and leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Remove roll out pastry. I usually roll it out onto baking paper and then slide into the pan. Then I use the same baking paper for the blind baking. Bake the shell for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, then remove the rice and baking paper from the tin/skillet. Then brush with an egg yolk and bake for 10 minutes more.
Unfortunately my fan-force oven is a little strong and my crust got a little too dark, better luck next weekend when we prepare dinner for P's cousin and his wife and another couple who are mutual friends of P and his cousin - more dinner preparation decisions but at least I know what to do for dessert!
The rest of the tart recipe was exactly as explained via The Red Kitchen above.