The menu was:-
1. Pea and ham soup
Easy to make and can be done well in advance. Sweat of half an onion, garlic, thyme and bay, add 1 small potato finely diced then cover with ham stock. Bring to a boil, simmer till the potato is cooked then add half a bag of frozen peas. Take off the heat after 30 seconds and blend. Serve the soup with some diced boiled ham.
2. Prawns with wilted lettuce and radish
My mum loves prawn cocktail, so this is my take on all the classic flavours you'd assotiate with prawn cocktail. The lettuce is braised with a little lemon, some white wine and a bit of water with some radish thrown in as well. The dressing is natural yogurt, lemon, hendersons relish, paprika, ketchup and the big prawns are simply pan fried.
Dead easy salad with classic meditaranian flavours. I got some interesting tomatoes made a goats cheese moose by blending goats cheese, some cream, basil, some olives and salt and pepper. The red pepper sauce is made by roasting a pepper till its charred on the outside. You then peel it and add it to some sweated onion, garlic, smoked paprika, a little tomato puree and a splash of water and blend it till you have a smooth puree.
Dead easy, fry some pollock, stir fry some pak choi and mix some soy sauce, water, chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander, lime juice together for the dressing.
5. Duck, beetroot, chard, and a rhubarb sauce
I love duck and this is my take on the whole duck and fruit combo but using some of that bloody rhubarb thats taking over my boarder at the minute.
For the sauce, cook a couple of stalks of rhubarb, a few strips of orange zest, half an onion, a star anise a pinch of sugar. Add some red wine and chicken stock then simmer for an hour or so, then pass through a fine sieve to get out any lumps. This can be done well in advance and does benefit from a night in the fridge.
Boil some fresh beetroot till its cooked, refresh and peel and leave to one side. This can then be heated up when you're ready to serve.
Seal the duck skin side down in a hot pan till you get some good colour. Cook the duck for 6 or 7 minutes (if you like it medium rare like me) in a hot oven (gas 7 / 220c ish) then take out and rest.Now the sauce and beetroot can warmed up, the chard can be wilted in a little butter and the dish can be put together and served. I did a few roasties to go with it too.
6. Mixed berry and cider jelly
Easy desert that is made well ahead and looks stunning.
Boil 160ml of cider with 125g caster sugar, a star anise then leave to cool slightly. Soak 2 gelatine sheets in cold water and add to the cider (take out the star anise). Get some berries and put them into 4 ramekins and pour the cider over the berries. Put into the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Dip the ramekins into hot water, turn out onto a plate with some more berries and a few sprigs of fresh mint and eat.