I had a sad week with the passing of a friend’s father. He was a good man and will be sorely missed.
Times like these require a very quick rally round and I was glad to be able to do my bit in terms of cooking for the wake. We decided on finger food so we wouldn’t need to worry about cutlery and plates.
When cooking for others, I normally pore over my cookbooks for days and agonise over the right balance of food choices. Given that I didn’t have the luxury of time, and that I’m also at the pointy end of my studies, I decided to stick with tried and true favourites. With a few minor tweaks, you can turn things you might cook daily into something a little more special.
Here’s a rundown of what I cooked. I’d certainly do this again, but hopefully under happier circumstances.
Tomato and Cashew Dip
Feta and Herb Dip
Crudités, and Quinoa and Spelt Crackers
* * *
Mini Quiche Lorraine
Thai Chicken Wonton Cups
Beef Rendang Pies
* * *
Hummus from The Everyday Cookbook.
- I added a heaped teaspoon of Moroccan spices and chopped coriander.
Tomato and Cashew Dip from the Everyday Cookbook
Feta and Herb Dip – adapted from The Everyday Cookbook
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small bunch of basil – or half a bunch if large
- 2 spring onions roughly chopped
- 250g feta cheese
- 1 or 2 tablespoons yoghurt (you can use milk instead)
Chop 1 clove of garlic for 5 seconds/speed 7. Add basil and roughly chopped spring onions. Blitz for 5 seconds/speed 7.
Add feta and blend for 20 seconds on speed 5. Push mix down onto blades, and continue mixing on speed 4/5 until consistency achieved. Add yoghurt or milk until you get the desired consistency. The dip will thicken once refrigerated.
Vegetable Crudités – sorry, you’ll have to get the knife out for these. 😉
Quinoa and Spelt Crackers – For Food’s Sake (These are a staple in our house). I throw in a teaspoon of coriander seeds at step two.
Mini Quiche Lorraine
- 300g bacon – chop finely. I’m going to come clean here – I hand chop rather than use Thermomix.
- 1 large onion – finely chopped. Again, I’ve chopped by hand because I like the even dice of the bacon and onion in these quiches
- 300ml cream
- 5 eggs
- 100ml milk
- Salt, grated half nutmeg
- 120g parmesan
- Chopped chives
- 3 sheets of shortcrust pastry – If I wasn’t under the pump, I would have made the EDC rough puff pastry
Cook bacon in a frypan until just starting to brown. Add onion and cook until caramelised. I know I could cook this in the Thermomix, but my Thermomix was busy so I dusted off my frypan.
Defrost pastry sheets, or roll your pastry into 25cm x 25cm squares. Using an 8cm cookie cutter, cut 9 rounds from each sheet. I use a large glass as a template and cut circles with a knife because I don’t own an 8cm cutter.
Pop each pastry round into mini tart tins. Willow make a tin with 6 to a tray and I’m sure it only cost about $3 from Big-W a few years ago.
Chop Parmesan into 1 inch cubes and grind for 10 seconds/speed 9. Remove from bowl.
Add eggs, cream, milk and seasoning. Mix for 10 seconds/speed 4.
Place a teaspoon of Parmesan into each pastry case, then a teaspoon of bacon and onion mix, and then top with the egg mixture. Sprinkle a few chives over the top then bake for 190c for 16 minutes. Now that sounds very precise, but I’ve made these little guys so many times, I’ve worked out exactly how many minutes it takes to have the pastry base cooked and lightly golden.
Curried Beef Pies
Use the beef rending from EDC. I used a little less coconut milk and left out the shredded coconut. I added a teaspoon of coriander seeds, a teaspoon of cardamom powder and rather than making the spice mix, I saved time but throwing in a couple of tablespoons of the Tikka Paste from the Indian Cookbook, because that’s another staple in our house. This was the first thing I cooked as I needed it to cool down before I could fill my pastry. I also shredded the meat slightly by mixing on speed 4/reverse for a few seconds. I just didn’t want large chunks of meat in my petite little pies.
Using shortcrust pastry, cut rounds to fit inside mini muffin tins. Pop a heaped teaspoon of cold meat mix into the pastry and top with a round of puff pastry. I sealed the pastry together with a fork and then brushed the tops with an egg wash and a sprinkle of seeds. I use nigella seeds which are the black seeds you sometimes see on top of Turkish bread. They look like black sesame seeds but they have a much more fragrant flavour. You might find these in an Indian grocer.
Bake for about 16 minutes in a 190c oven or until golden and the pastry is cooked.
Thai Chicken and Wonton Tarts – Pick your favourite Thai chicken salad for this recipe. I was racing the clock so I just mixed poached and shredded chicken (from the Asian Cookbook) with EDC Mayo, chopped coriander, finely sliced spring onions and a glug of sweet chilli sauce. Pop this into cooked wonton cups and top with fried shallots which you’ll find in the Asian section of the supermarket.
To make the wonton cups, pop a wonton wrapper into mini muffin tins and bake for a few minutes at 180c until golden. You need to watch these like a hawk because they’ll burn in seconds.
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300ml cream
- 100ml milk – I used coconut milk because I had leftovers from the beef rendang
- 30g cornflour
- 1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
Place all ingredients into bowl and cook for 7 minutes/90c/speed 4.
Pour into a container, cover and cool.
Defrost puff pastry or use EDC’s rough puff. Cut nine 8cm circles from each pastry sheets.
Pop each circle into a small tart tin but be careful not to pinch the edges as this hinders the ‘puff’. These are the same trays that I use for my quiches.
Fill each pastry case about 2/3 full of custard.
Bake in a 200c oven for 14 minutes.
Lavender Shortbread – These are just too elegant for words. You’ll find the recipe here, but you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find the recipe.
It was a fitting feast for a fine man. Vaarwel Willem. x