Delicious Delights for a Night In with Friends
Sometimes we have the urge to splurge. It’s in our blood and I find the best way to go all out is to cook a seriously good meal for my friends. You could buy a new pair of jeans but they will only be enjoyed by you, however cook your mates a meal and everyone gets a little piece of happiness. This is a winning recipe for two completely different styles of food, but somehow they work together. I have included a starter and a main, but for dessert go wild. Try some luxury ice-cream with a home-made chocolate sauce and some crumbled shortbread and fresh mint. Enjoy!!!
Starter: Thai Style Coconut Mussels and Prawns
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk of lemon grass, beaten with the butt of your knife and finely chopped
- 2 Thai green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp shrimp paste, if you can’t get this, use fish sauce
- 1 tbs palm or brown sugar
- Juice and rind of 2 limes
- A large handful of fresh coriander, half coarsely chopped and the other half for garnish
- 1kg fresh or half shell frozen mussels
- 800g prawns, 20-30s, de-shelled and deveined, keeping the tails on
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 bunch spring onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tin coconut milk
- 1/2 tin coconut cream
- 2 tbs toasted, dried coconut
- To start, combine the first six ingredient and the juice and rind of one lime in a pestle and mortar or a blender, and pulse till a smooth paste is formed.
- Heat a heavy based pot over a high heat.
- Add the olive oil and then the spring onion, fry for a minute and then add the paste you made. Fry for 2 minutes, or until the kitchen is filled with amazing smells.
- Next add the mussels and water, wait till the water is almost evaporated and then add the prawns, coconut milk, coconut cream and coriander.
- Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until all the mussels have opened.
- Serve in small bowls. Use 8-10 mussels and 3-4 prawns per portion and pour over a bit of the sauce.
- Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, the remaining coriander and some flakes of dried coconut.
Mains: Parma Ham Risotto Wraps
- 750g Arborio rice
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 400g mixed mushrooms e.g. Portabellini, brown, chantrelle, shitake
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 40g fresh basil, half chopped and the other half left whole
- 3 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
- 250ml red wine
- 3l hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 24 slices of parma ham or streaky bacon
- 180g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for the finishing touch
- Fresh rocket to garnish
- Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot.
- Add the onions and sauté for a minute or two. Next add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms.
- Fry the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Next add the Arborio rice and stir, try to coat all the grains with the butter mixture.
- Once you have mixed the rice mixture, add the red wine and a cup of stock. The rice will absorb the liquid very quickly.
- Turn the heat down to a medium heat, and add a cup of stock at a time, constantly stirring so it doesn’t stick. Continue adding a cup of stock at a time, the risotto will swell and get thicker.
- Once the risotto is almost soft, take off the heat and stir through the dill and the chopped basil, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
- Once the risotto has cooled, pre-heat your oven to 180˚C.
- Lay out 2 slices of Parma ham at a time, then place 4-5 tablespoons onto the ham, topped with a leaf of basil. Roll the ham around everything and form little parcels. Repeat this process till you have 12 parcels.
- Place your parcels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Drizzle a white plate with some lashings of olive oil, place 2 parcels on each plate, sprinkle with the parmesan and garnish with fresh rocket.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
Tip: Running out of time? Top the risotto with parmasan and fresh basil instead of using the rolling technique.
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