Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halloween Cook Night

I'm only getting around to this now but last week Keith created a Halloween twist on cook night by gore-ing up the meal to make it more festive and gruesome. Here's the results of our dinner creation or as we called it, 'corpse crunching':

Fresh Pea and Mint Soup with Croûtons [aka 'Snot Soup']

This is probably the least looking Halloween versions of the meal but its moniker of 'Snot Soup' speaks for itself. It's probably best I don't mention our discussion of what the single cream could represent...

Ingredients

25g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
225g leeks, finely shredded and washed, keeping as much of the green as possible
225g potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1.2 litres light vegetable stock
225g fresh or frozen peas
1 small bunch of mint, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Single cream
Mint sprigs, to garnish

Croûtons:

2 slices white bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped mint

Method

Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the leaks and cook for a further five minutes. Add the potatoes and stock, bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Add the peas and mint and simmer for five minutes.

Allow the soup to cool, then liquidize in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return to a clean saucepan, reheat gently and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup garnished with a swirl of single cream, a mint sprig and croûtons.

For the croûtons: mix the mint and the olive oil together and season. Brush the bread on both sides with the oil and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Remove the crusts and cut into cubes.


Roasted Tomato and Goats’ Cheese Tart with Thyme [aka 'Road Kill']

This took some extra time in the oven due to the juices in the tomato so you may want to increase the tomatoes and remove the centre to reduce cooking time. That aside it was a tasty section of the main course.

Ingredients

725g ripe plum tomatoes
150g soft goats cheese
4 level teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus a few small sprigs
375g pack fresh, ready-rolled puff pastry
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method

Unwrap the pastry and place it on the baking tray. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully score a line on the
pastry, about 1cm in from the edge, all the way around, but be careful not to cut it all the way through.

Place the goats cheese into a small bowl, add the crushed garlic, chopped thyme and a good seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper. Then give it all a good mixing and, using a small palette or other round-bladed knife, carefully spread the cheese mixture evenly all over the surface of the pastry, right up to the line.

Thinly slice all the tomatoes and arrange them on top of the goats’ cheese in overlapping lines lengthways; overlap one line one way and the one next to it the other way. After that, season the tomatoes and then drizzle the olive oil and scatter the sprigs of thyme all over them.

Bake in the pre-heated oven on the middle shelf for 55 minutes or until the pastry is golden-brown and the tomatoes are roasted and slightly charred at the edges. If you are going to serve the tart warm, leave it to settle for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares.


Baked Potato Skins with Cheese Topping [aka 'Open Wounds']

Probably the most disgusting looking of the tonights dinner/autopsy given the red food colouring added to the potato and green colouring added to the sour cream to give that open wound/gangrene effect. Frightfully good.

Ingredients

4 Medium Russet Potatoes
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1 TBSP. Fresh Chives, snipped
1/4 Cup Margarine, melted
1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded


Method

Preheat oven 200c. Bake potatoes for 1 hour. Combine sour cream and chives. When potatoes are cook. Slice length-wise and scoop some potato from skins and save for other use. Brush entire surface of each potato with melted butter and broil for 6-8 mins. Sprinkle cheese on each skin. Broil for 2 mins. Place on small scoop of sour cream mixture on top of each skin and serve.


Butternut Squash Wedges [aka 'Dead Man's Fingers']

It's difficult to go wrong with butternut squash and talking to some people, it's a vegetable that isn't as popular as it should be - I think there is a barrier in that people don't know how to open it never mind cook it. Which is a shame, but not for us. Finger lickin' good.

Ingredients
¼ butternut squash, peeled
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
knob of butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 220C
Remove the seeds from the squash and cut into thick chip-shaped chunks.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the butternut squash for 2-3 minutes.
Add the thyme leaves, seasoning, garlic and butter and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, to give the squash some colour.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Remove from the oven and transfer the wedges to a plate to serve.


Apple Crumble

This was quite simple to make and with a little green food colouring and props it turned out to be the best looking of tonights meals in terms of style. It was a shame to break the surface on this thing. Best clicking to zoom in and take a closer look.

Ingredients

Crumble:

300g plain flour, sieved pinch of salt
175g unrefined brown sugar
200g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
Knob of butter for greasing

Filling:

450g apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces
50g unrefined brown sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit.

Butter a 9in ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling. Serve with thick cream or custard.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Skry said...

That was one of the most fun meals I've ever cooked for the weekly cook-in. It's a pity there aren't more cool holidays to give the meals a theme :P

12:13 am  

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