If you love dining at restaurants but do not want to frequent your favourite ones in town, how about churning out restaurant quality food at home itself and enjoying an interesting experience with the family, and friends, without having to step outdoors for it? All you need to do is create a fitting ambience based on a theme or the type of dishes you intend to prepare, pull out your fancy crockery and cutlery, and serve out interesting portions with ample attention on presentation.
With Valentine’s Day (February 14) round the corner, here’s your chance to plan and create an interesting dinner experience at home, with a pleasant risk that there will multiple requests for repeating the fanfare as often as possible. Here are recipes for some exquisite dishes that will elevate the status of your dinner table:
Shrimp Martini Appetiser
200gm medium shrimps – clean and leave tails on
2tbsp fresh cilantro – minced
Juice from half a lemon
3 tomatoes – chopped
¼tsp red chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic – minced
8-12 green olives
1tsp olive oil
Pulse together cilantro, lemon juice, salt, pepper, tomatoes, pepper and garlic for 10-12 seconds to get a coarse salsa consistency.Steam the shrimps in boiling water with a pinch of salt or season with salt and grill in over for 2-3 minutes at 180º C. Set aside. In a pan, heat 1tsp olive oil, add the blended salsa and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Remove salsa in a bowl and cool. Add the shrimp to bowl and toss to coat.
Now, divide the salsa (leaving the shrimp in the bowl) between 4 martini glasses. The place 3-4 shrimps per glass, hanging tails over the rim. Thread two-3 olives on each of 4 toothpicks and place in the glass over the salsa.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Garlic Butter Sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
½tsp olive oil
1 bottle water – in a spray bottle
½ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese – grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese – grated
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/3 cup butter
1 clove garlic – minced
1tsp kosher salt
¼tsp fresh sage – finely diced
Sift flour and salt onto a work surface, add one full egg, 2 egg yolks and oil, and gently fold in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until the dough is too stiff to mix with a fork. Using your hands, bring the entire mixture together and form a single mass. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, form a ball and cover it, allowing it to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet. Cut the length of dough into strips and set aside till you make the filling and sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add salt, pepper, and sage and remove from heat.
Lay out each section of dough and, working one pasta sheet at a time, lightly spray each sheet with water. Starting on one edge, spoon out 2tsp of filling in the center of each sheet, leaving 2cm space on each side. Lift the top edge of the sheet and bring it over the top of the filling, lining it up with the bottom edge. Using your fingers, gently press the dough as close as you can to the filling and eliminate any air pockets. Press on the edges to seal it completely.
Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut in between each section to create the individual ravioli.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add ravioli to hot water, working in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then gently scoop them out, drain excess water. To serve, place a few ravioli on a plate and drizzle with brown butter sauce. Sprinkle extra grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Beef Tenderloin Steak with Grilled Vegetables ***(don’t change given photo)
1kg tenderloin center cut steak
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup light soy sauce
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4tsp fresh rosemary – minced
4tsp Dijon mustard
3-4 garlic cloves – peeled and sliced
400gm potato wedges
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
Garlic sauce – to serve
Place tenderloin in a large resealable plastic bag. Combine the vinegar, light soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Pour half of the marinade over tenderloin, seal bag, and turn the steam within to coat on all sides. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours, turning many times.
Place the potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli in a foil lined baking dish, add reserved marinade, and toss to coat. Cover and bake at 200º C for 20-25 minutes. Drain and discard marinade from tenderloin and place tenderloin over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness. Remove beef and let it stand for 15 minutes. Slice beef and serve with vegetables and garlic sauce.
(Note internal temperatures of steak: 55°C for rare doneness, 60°C for medium, and above 70°C for well done)
Classic Panna Cotta
2½ sheets gelatine
400ml thick cream
60g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
For the compote
350g raspberries, plus 50g extra to serve
60g caster sugar
1tsp raspberry syrup (optional)
Mint sprigs – to serve
To make the panna cotta, add the sheets of gelatine to a bowl of cold water and soak for 5 minutes. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan with the sugar and vanilla essence. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Take the gelatine out of the cold water and squeeze out the excess, then add to the milk mixture. Stir until completely dissolved. Pour into ramekins and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
For the compote, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over a medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until slightly thickened. Blitz until smooth with a hand blender and then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. Set aside until needed.
To serve, turn each ramekin upside-down onto a serving plate. If the panna cotta won’t drop out, carefully dip the ramekin in a bowl of warm water to loosen it. Serve with the raspberry compote, some fresh berries and a sprig of mint.