The last few weeks have been so busy for us here that I have not really had the time to formulate a blog plan in the way I normally do. We have had family staying from Sweden and also a young Californian couple working at our house. With so many mouths to feed I guess the food I have been cooking has been more about quantity than creativity, thats not to say that it hasnt been tasty .I assure you it has! But I guess my focus has been on value for money and speed resulting in a phase of one pot wonders and lots of pasta and rice.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to recap on some recipes I have cooked over the last few months that I had not found a gap for in previous posts. I must add that these dishes only missed out because they didnt fit the theme, not because they were not up to scratch. Far from it, I was just storing them away for a later date and now seems like as good a time as any!
I am going to kick off with a superb little canapé which really packs a flavour punch. These Crostini with Mozzarella & Warm Sundried Tomato & Anchovy Salsa are a stunning combination of intense flavours which all work so well together. The creaminess of the Mozzarella contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the anchovy and concentrated tomato, loaded with rosemary and garlic, they are a true delight. I made some with a slice of chorizo hiding underneath the mozzarella and some without, both ways were fantastic! My only advice is to make lots more than you think you need ..believe me, they will all get eaten!
Next up, a very authentic French starter or light lunch dish that may not be to everyones taste but I shall pass it on to you anyway! I adore Escargot; buttery, garlicky, chewy little nuggets of yumminess. Granted, they arent much to look at; in fact they could be considered positively ugly. But I love them and take great pleasure in mopping up all the fabulous sauce with piece after piece of crusty French baguette. I guess the more traditional French manner of serving them is with a pungent garlic and parsley butter which is great, but my husband and I discovered a little restaurant where they serve them smothered in creamy garlic and Roquefort sauce which is so good we return regularly just to feast on that dish! Recently I managed to pick up a set of earthenware Escargot dishes at a Vide Grenier here, with 12 little holes, one for each precious snail to sit and I decided to try to recreate the dish for myself. You can buy snails in cans here, ready purged and prepared. You can even buy empty snail shells to serve them if you so desire! For the sauce, I simmered cream, white wine and garlic until reduced and thickened somewhat. Then added the snails and some Roquefort and once cooked through, distributed into my warm Escargot dishes, one little snail at a time, with plenty of sauce for each one to be enveloped in. Served with lots of bread, this is an oozy, decadent dish that I am totally mad about! Try it if you can, I am sure you will be bowled over too.
The next recipe I want to share is an incredible Braised Lamb a la Grecque. This is a very unusual dish but one that I highly recommend. A leg of lamb is butterflied and then stuffed with dried figs, feta, garlic and fresh coriander and mint. The leg is tied back up and then roasted on a bed of onions cooked in balsamic vinegar, red wine and honey. The stuffing is a wonderful marriage of salty feta, sweet fig and aromatic herbs which is fabulous with the juicy lamb and the meltingly soft, rich onions. This dish is really special and I am considering it as an option for our Christmas dinner! Served with some buttery mashed potatoes, it makes for a stunning and memorable meal.
Thats it for this recipe round up. I just couldnt let these delicious dishes fall by the wayside, I had to share them with you. And now that I have, I am content. Happy eating!