Friday Night Festivities

Alas another tradition goes down the drain. Our usual pre-exam candy night fell victim to study, family time and travel. Not that those things aren’t important, I’m quite a fan of them all. However a little part of me is still sad that we seem to have put candy to rest.

For those not in the know, pre-exam candy is both the name of the night in swatvac that we have a final group night of fun and drinking incase the exams do in fact kill us, and the name of the drink we drink at that night. 1 shot absolute raspberry vodka, one park malibu and fill with lemonade it tastes like lollies- hence the name. We came up with it one night in year 12 I think and have drunk it before exams since them.

Anyhow, instead of simply sitting at home darning my socks, I decided to invite the candy survivors to my place for some jolly nomming. Since I bought my ramekins I’ve been dying to make some little pot pies and some creme brulee. Of course since I only bought 4 I could only do one of these dishes, except for the fact I made a teeny trip to the shop and came back with a blow torch, which happened to come with four more ramekins. Now what’s a single girl to do with 8 ramekins? Cook, cook, cook I say!

I’ll start from the beginning and end at the end, which seems a pretty good way to go about the vast amount of food I cooked! First, entree, recipes by yours truly.

Trio of Dips with Parmesan Chips

Beetroot Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices tinned beetroot
  • 4 tbsp juice from beetroots
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt to taste

Method: Blend till combined

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1 clove galic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • lemon juice to taste

Method: Blend till combined

Roast Pumpkin, Cashew and Parmasen Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup parmazen, grated
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method:

  1. Cut pumpkin into small cubes and coat with olive oil. Roast at 180 degrees until brown and soft.
  2. Combine pumpkin, including oil, 1/2 of the cashews and parmazen together and process till smooth.
  3. Add rest of cashews and give a few wizzes, leave some large pieces for texture.
  4. Add sugar as necessary- this will depend on the sweetness of your pumpkin.

Parmasen Chips

Shake some Parmesan onto a wrap and bake until crunchy- snap into small pieces to dip in the dips!

Now onto the main course! Seeing as I’d made entree, I didn’t want to do a huge main, so I settled for the pot pie with some potatoes on the side. I used kipffler potatoes which I adore the taste of, but you really could use any type as long as they are small enough. Keep the skins one- makes the recipe! I love the potato pastry in this recipe, it’s really yummy and surprisingly soft. The pie recipe is based off a number of recipes on the web, but ultimately it’s so different to each of them that I’ll just write it up here.

Red Wine and Rosemary Veal and Mushroom Pot Pies with Potato Pastry

Ingredients- Filling

  • 2 cups veal sliced finely
  • 1 brown onion sliced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 6 large button mushrooms, sliced

Pastry:

  • 1 kipffler potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 150g butter

Method: Filling

  1. Brown the meat, onion and garlic.
  2. Add the mushroom, redwine, stock, tomato paste and rosemary and simmer for 5 mins.
  3. Add the flour and reduce for approx 1 hr on low heat.
  4. Place into ramekins with enough space for pastry lid.

Pastry:

  1. Boil potatoes and mash- cool and set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces. 
  3. Combine all ingredients with your fingers and roll out on floured bench.

Together:

  1. Lay pastry over ramekins and trim edges.
  2. Place in oven at 180 degrees for approx 30 mins, till the pastry browns.

Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • Kipffler potatoes
  • Good quality olive oil

Method:

  1. Cut potatoes in half and parboil.
  2. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan and add potatoes.
  3. Crush the potatoes to half their height using your spatula.
  4. Leave on one side until they brown and crisp up and then flip (about 2-3 mins each side)

And now we’ve reached dessert. I had bought a beautiful blow torch (is there a better name for that? Blow torch sounds awesome anyway…) and so I decided to make creme brulee. Unfortunately I did not work out how to put the gas I had purchased into the blow torch and as such, no cruchy bit on the top. It was not a total failure though… Also I’m not entirely sure our oven is working correctly, because the one hour at 120 degree turned into 1hr at 120 degrees, 1 hr at 160 degrees and 1hr at 180 degrees… But hey, it worked! Here is the original recipe, I’m assuming your oven works better than mine!

Creme Brulee

Ingredients:

  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 6 egg yolkes
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Method:

  1. Place hte cream in a saucepan and add teh vanilla seeds and pod. Place over medium heat and bring to scalding point, then remove from heat. Set aside to infuse for 5mins
  2. Place egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl and beat immediately with electric beaters for 2-3 mins or until pale
  3. Remove vanilla pod and discard then pour hot cream over yolk mixture and wisk to combine
  4. Remove foam on top of the mixture and discard. Strain into a large jub and carefully pour into ramekins.
  5. Place ramekins in a deep roasting pan. Pour boiling water into pan to come halfway up the sides. Cover pan loosely with foil, allowing some air to enter sides.
  6. Bake for 40 mins (sure….) the custards should have a slight wobble when done (this is what I used to tell- if they are liquid, not good)
  7. Remove from water bath and set aside to cool.
  8. Place brown sugar on a baking tray, turn oven off and place in oven for 15 mins to dry. Process to a powder and once custards are cool sprinkle over the top. Blow torch the sugar to caramelize it.

Big day/night of cooking! I can’t wait to give the blow torch a try and I’ll certainly make the pumpkin dip and the potato pastry again! Feel free to suggest things for me to cook- if you’re close I’ll even cook them for you!

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