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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Guest for dinner

Hi everyone!

My last post being from the 29th of August, I thought it would be high time to post something! I missed out on the last Book Challenge post, the next one is coming in about two weeks, I will make sure I do not forget it this time! But for now I want to talk about cooking and lovely food :)
Food is a big part of my life and I am lucky to have married a man who is in the same state of mind. On the weekend for the first time in ages we have taken a bit of time to cook together while our young lady was having a nap, and it was the first time EVER that we could cook next to each other, two different things, without stepping on each other's feet - we've had our new kitchen since February but never got the occasion... Anyway, a friend of ours, who has moved to a far away country for a couple of years, was back in our home-town and came for dinner. We then decided on a special menu that I am presenting you now:

Starter: Tuna Rillettes

* 400 gr Tuna (tin)
* 300 gr Cream cheese
* 1 Lemon
* Chives and Shallot
Drain the tuna and crumble it with a fork in a bowl, adding the cream cheese and the lemon juice. One can also add the lemon peel, chives and shallot.Put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

I had intended it to be eaten as such, but my husband (and our guest) did prefer spreading it on a nicely toasted piece of bread. As you can see, there is something else presented with the tuna. Well that is the next recipe:

Lemon Curd

- 3 Lemons
- 100 gr Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1/ With a whisk, whip the eggs in a small bowl.
2/Wash the lemons, and get the peel of one and a half lemon over a sauce-pan. Add the juice of the three lemons, the sugar and the cornstarch. Mix everything above a low heat.
3/ Then add the whipped eggs to the mixture, above high heat this time, but keep on beating strongly otherwise it will burn! Beat the mixture until it becomes thicker.
4/ Take off the heat and pour into clean jars/glasses. Leave it to cool down and then put it in the fridge.
This lemon curd can be kept in the fridge for about a week.
You can find the original recipe in French there. With the given quantities I obtained the equivalent of (maybe) 150gr of lemon curd. It just tastes delicious both with savory dishes but also as sweet spread in the morning for instance.

We then moved on to the main dish. I, unfortunately, did not take pictures of it when it came out of the oven, which is a shame really as the cheese had completely, nicely melted on the baked potatoes:

Main: Tartiflette with mushrooms, accompanied with lettuce and vinaigrette

If you want to see what it looks like, I send you back to this previous post of mine. The only thing is that I did not use the meat since we were already having fish for starter, instead I cooked some mushrooms with the onions. It is also a nice option if you ever get a vegetarian guest (or if you are one yourself), but to be honest I have a preference for the meat version.
The vinaigrette was made of olive oil, old-fashion mustard (with seeds), and balsamic vinegar with lemon (I had found this special vinegar in Lidl in the "Deluxe" products). Eating the lettuce with the tartiflette adds a little bit of freshness and lightness to the heavy dish. 
We also had a bottle of Sauvignon blanc to accompany the meal (well, fruit juice for me but nevermind).

After a little bit of chatting and digesting (yes, I thought the portions would be small enough but as per usual I was wrong - I always am when I prepare a meal!), we decided we were ready for our dessert:

Dessert: Ginger and White Chocolate Mini- Cheesecakes

Serves 6
- 200g of gingernut biscuits
- 100g of butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 450g of cream cheese
- 200g of white chocolate
- 100ml of cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of icing sugar

The Method
1 /Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs.  Pour in the melted butter and ginger and process until everything is mixed through.
2/ Gently push the biscuit base into individual serving pots and set aside.  Don’t press down too hard as you want nice loose spoonfuls of biscuit with the cheesecake mix.
3/ Slowly melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water.
4/ Put the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and add the white chocolate, cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.
5/ Beat all the ingredients together until you get a nice light mixture.
6/ Spoon the cream cheese mix into the serving pots, smooth the top and garnish with a sprinkling of thinly sliced white chocolate.
7/ Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

This recipe comes from this website (on which I will be surfing a little more in the next months I think!). But there is a bit of a story about why I choose this specific dessert. My husband and I used to live in England, and we loved going to several restaurants, one in particular: Wagamama, where I would always have the same dessert: Ginger and White Chocolate Cheesecake. This was served with a delicious Chili Toffee Ginger Sauce. Now that we are in Germany, I quite regret that cheesecake but never really got the idea of trying to make one... Until last week when I learned we would have a guest. So I searched for THE recipe, but there is no official one. The one that I liked best was the one by Donal Skehan. Unfortunately I did not find Gingernut biscuits, so I used spekuloos instead (which proved to be ok, next time though I want to have a look in the British shop that we have in town). The result was just brilliant (apart from the fact that I pressed too hard the biscuit base)!
To accompany the mini-cheesecakes, I had made a Ginger Toffee Sauce with this recipe (you need to scroll down to get the sauce recipe). I had intended to add a hint of Chili powder to get closer to the Wagamama sauce, but I simply forgot. Ah well, next time :)
Incidentally I did not choose this cheesecake recipe because of the mascarpone which I find too heavy.

Ginger Toffee Sauce
If you pay attention to the recipe and to the picture of my ingredients, I did not use stem ginger, I had forgotten to look up what it is before the day I cooked... We had a jar of Minced Ginger in the fridge though and it did the trick perfectly! The other thing was that we are not in Englang anymore. What do you replace double-cream with? Well, Schmand seems to be a very good alternative.
Have you noticed my little helper? It was the first time I was asking her to help me in the kitchen. 13 months old and doing her first cooking steps ;) We started with a wooden pin-roll, she was standing and trying to aim at the biscuits in the bags on the ground, but she had difficulties aiming. So after racking my brain for a good 10 minutes, I came up with the idea of using her toy-hammer. She was not very effective as she did not put any strength in the movement, but at least she had a lot of fun!

That's it! The rillettes, lemon curd and toffee sauce were made on the day before, then in the afternoon of the dinner I made the cheesecake and about one hour before serving I started preparing the Tartiflette. It really did not take that much time thanks to the fact that my husband and I managed to get organised and to do things calmly and in the right order. It was the first time we had guests in our new flat and almost since we've had our daughter (apart from my in-laws) and I was a bit afraid of what it would be like. However things went smoothly, even the tidying and washing-up part afterwards, so I trust we can have some more or those dinners in the future (not too many though, but from time to time) and we can get back to enjoying cooking and using our lovely kitchen!

Talking about using the kitchen, it is almost lunch time, it is now my duty to check what we will have on our menu today, so off I go!
Let me know if you try out any of the above recipes and how you like them :)


  1. Dommage que tu sois si loin car j'irais
    bien manger chez toi !!!

  2. Je vous aurais bien aussi à manger chez moi :) T'as plus qu'à te mettre à tes fourneaux en attendant qu'on réussisse à se voir ENFIN!