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Kathy's Menu for February 2001
Valentine's Dinner for Two

Starter : Marinated Scallops and Mussels

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Main Course : Spicy Chicken with Warm Vegetable Vinagrette

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Pudding : Walnut Tartlets

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Marinated Scallops and Mussels
Serves 2

Ingredients

6 large fresh scallops
2.25 lb (1kg) mussels in white wine sauce
a pinch of saffron
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons double cream, whipped
4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1oz (25g) celery
1oz (25g) carrot, peeled and washed
6 sprigs of parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. First prepare the vegetables into the finest possible julienne strips.
  2. Next cook the mussels according to the instructions, when they are cooked, tip them into a colander set of a bowl to catch the liquid. Shell the mussels and set aside in a bowl, cover and allow to cool.
  3. Strain the cooking liquid through a nylon sieve into a saucepan and reduce over a high heat to about 2 tablespoons of slightly syrupy liquid. Add the saffron and leave to cool
  4. Whisk the cooled mussel liquid in to the mayonnaise and whipped cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the mussels and put in to the fridge.
  5. Wash the scallops thoroughly and each the corals. Cut each scallop in to about 5 slices and arrange in one layer in a shallow dish with the corals. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together and pour over the scallops. Marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  6. To serve, divide the mussels between to plates, put the julienne of vegetables around the mussels and then arrange the scallops around the outside edge. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve.

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Spicy Chicken with Warm Vegetable Vinagrette
Serves 2

Ingredients

2 skinned and boneless chicken breasts

For the marinade :
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 dashes tabasco sauce

For the Vegetable Vinagrette :
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 good knobs of broccoli, broken into small florets

For the dressing :
juice of half a lemon
1 oz (25g) butter
half a teaspoon of grated lemon zest
freshly ground black pepper
a dredge of ground mace

Method

  1. Make shallow cuts diagonally across the chicken breast at one third of an inch intervals.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a screw top jar and shake well.
  3. Put the chicken breasts in to a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and leave to marinade for 4 - 6 hours or overnight.
  4. When you are ready to cook the chicken, cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C (350F, gas mark 5) for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  5. For the vegetables, blanch the cauliflower and broccoli in a pan of salted boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes so that the vegetables remain crisp.
  6. Drain and rinse under cold water. Allow to cool and when cold store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  7. Just before you are ready to serve, put the vegetables in a wire basket and immerse the vegetables in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes.
  8. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, heat the dressing ingredients together in a large pan. When the vegetables are cooked, drain them and toss in the hot dressing for about half a minute.
  9. To serve, spoon the vegetables on to dinner plates and arrange the chicken on top.

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Walnut Tartlets
Serves 2

Ingredients

For the shortbread bases :
4.5 oz (125g) plain flour
3.5 oz (100g) butter
2oz (50g) icing sugar
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk

For the filling :
2 oz (50g) shelled walnuts
1oz (28g) butter
1.5oz(40g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of glucose
2floz (50ml) double cream
0.5 oz (15g) sultanas

You will also need two 4-5 inch (10 - 12cm) tartlet tins

Method

  1. First make the shortbread for the pastry cases. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the diced butter. Rub in with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Sift the icing sugar and salt into the flour mixture and work in. Mix in the egg yolk. Wrap the shortbread in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. Split the shortbread into two pieces and roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about one eighth of an inch. Line the two tartlet tins and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Put a circle of grease proof paper into the bottom of each tartlet tin and fill with baking beans (or dried peas or lentils). Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C (425F, gas mark 7) for 10 minutes. Then remove the baking beans and paper, reduce the heat to 200C (400F, gas mark 6) and bake for another 5 minutes.
  4. When the cases are cooked leave to cool,in the tins for 5 minutes and then unmould from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the walnut filling, bake the walnuts in the oven at 100C (200F, gas mark 0.5) for 10 minutes. Melt the butter, sugar, honey and glucose in a pan over the lowest heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture begins to bubble, cook without stirring until it becomes a pale caramel. Take off the heat, por in the cream and stir with the wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat and allow the mixture to bubble for another minute stirring continuously.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the walnuts and sultanas. Divide the filling between the two pastry cases and leave at room temperature for about an hour before serving.

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Cookery Book Recommendation of the Month

book coverGary Rhodes at the Table by Gary Rhodes
For Gary Rhodes, the acclaimed champion of British cooking, good food is the perfect way to draw family and friends together. In his new book, At the Table, he has created over 140 stunning recipes which will do just that.

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