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Thursday 28 July 2016

Super Seafood Suppers, The Overdue Appendix

Hi peeps, thanks for popping in.  It's been all go here today, what with the shed project, shopping and taking His Royal Fluffiness for his pamper session (a grooming at the local vets). 

And then, maybe because I was thinking about sunny days and eating al fresco, maybe I was thinking about the friends I made this meal for here, but anyway, I suddenly remembered I promised you some recipes and I hadn't delivered!  And I'm sorry about that.  So I swiftly got on the case.

Now this is a variation on a meal that I usually turn out at least once during the summer months.  Because it's so simple.  It's inspired by a souvenir cook book I picked up when visiting the Newport mansions on Rhode Island.  What an experience!  Allow at least a day to visit just a few of the many mansions available to view.

Anyway, back to the plot.  The food. 
I've strayed from the recipes and format over the years but I do love the concept. 
An extremely easy meal involving little cooking, a bit of preparation and almost all is done in advance.

And that's really the beauty of this tried-and-tested menu.  When your guests arrive, you look (and feel!) calm and collected.  You can enjoy drinks out on the patio with them, at some stage you drift away from your prosecco to pop into the house to fling a few elements together ...
But you serve a meal that is perfect for a summer's evening, that is a doddle to make yet looks and tastes so professional that you cannot fail to impress your guests.  Whilst relaxing and enjoying their wonderful company.

You just cannot go wrong with this menu!  So please, please, give it a go. 

Requirements: prepping in advance; a calm, sunny evening; invite people you love.
Recipes serve approx. 6; warning - you may have leftovers :-)

Herby Goats Cheese Dip

1 roll-pack goats cheese
about half pack cream cheese with herbs
squirt of lemon juice
finely chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, or to taste or to what you have to hand
olive oil
A little salt and pepper if required
Perhaps just a spoon-tip of wholegrain mustard

Mash goats cheese with herby cream cheese, quantities to taste but the ratio I used was roughly equal quantities.
Blend in chopped herbs, a spritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Add a small amount of salt, pepper and/or mustard if required but be light of touch, keep the flavour delicate and predominantly that of the cheese.

Place in a glass bowl; I just love those little Ikea +365 glass dishes, on the left, so useful, so elegantly simple.
 Serve with bruschetta, bread sticks, oat cakes - whatever takes your fancy.  And I recommend it served with chilled prosecco out on the patio! 

Chilled Lobster Tarragon

2 medium-sized cooked lobsters, cut in bite-sized pieces
(I get mine cooked and shelled from our local Crab Cabin, hope you have something similar near you)
A couple of squirts of fresh lemon juice
2 ribs of celery, very finely chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed lightly top and bottom, chopped
3/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
sea salt or plain salt and freshly ground pepper, to tase
6 outer leaves from Little Gem lettuce
lemon cut in 6 wedges

Combine the lobster, juice, spring onions and celery in a bowl.
Mix the mayo and tarragon with seasoning then add the lobster mix.
Place in a covered container and pop in the fridge for a few hours.
To serve: place servings on to the lettuce leaves, with the lemon wedge to the side.

To Serve
Boiled new potatoes, local (as I used) or Jersey Royals and sugar snap peas.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas, about a pound (2 bags), washed and trimmed if necessary
Butter, I use Guernsey butter, of course, but use any rich local butter
Finely chopped chives and basil, or whatever you fancy

Add sugar snaps to rolling boiling water for about a minute or so.  Drain and cool under cold running water.  Put to one side until ready to serve.
To serve, gently heat the butter in a pan (do not burn), add the sugar snaps and herbs and warm through.

Serve this dish with a chilled white - I served Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc on this occasion.  V nice.

Mixed Berry Tart

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup double cream, chilled
1/4 cup castor sugar
6 tartlet shells, I always get mine from M&S
You need roughly 1 cup each of washed & prepared fresh strawberries and blueberries (or other berries)
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
Icing sugar, to dust

Beat the cheese, cream and sugar together in a bowl until the usual stiff peaks form.  Divide between the tartlets. 
(Now I usually end up with extra mix, which I keep in the fridge and have with fresh fruit the next day)
Place the fruit on top the mascarpone mix, as artistically or not as your heart desires!
Combine the jam and water in a little saucepan.  Cook slowly until melted and smooth.
Brush over the top of each tart.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled, which at least 2 hours

To serve: dust with the icing sugar.
(Any left over tarts are super for breakfast the next morning.  Trust me!)

And if you are living in our British climate, retire to the sofas indoors for coffee.  (And a little chocolate :-). )  Because it will no doubt be getting a tad chilly by the time you've lingered over this wonderful meal.

And there you have it - a beautifully light summer's evening menu.  Do I make these recipes sound easy?  Well, that's 'cos they are!
I do hope you try out at least one of the recipes, dear reader.  You won't be disappointed.

Do you have any fave summer lunch/supper recipes to share?
Or menus that make entertaining so easy because they can be prepped well in advance?
I'd love to hear.

Happy Thursday to you all.
A la perchoine.

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