Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Catering for a 40th birthday party - seabass and cauliflower poached in saffron, Grilled calves liver and bacon, Pineapple tarte tatin

The dining room end of the kitchen at Wellacres had been transformed by the time we got there:

We have cooked for this family around the same time every year since 2007 when Wellacres first opened for business. This time it was for 2 meals - last Saturday night, and then this special birthday last night. Great to see them again - among my favourite people to cook for.

As we had cooked for them so many times before it was nice to try something different for them.
Seabass and cauliflower poached in saffron and white wine with  cauliflower gremolata

 Firstly cauliflower was poached in white wine and chicken stock with a healthy amount of saffron just before we left, so the saffron flavour and colour would infuse into the cauliflower. Once we got to the house, I drained that liquid onto seabass fillets (Fillets were largish so 8 did 12). This was poached just before the guests were about to sit down.

Gremolata - fine grated cauliflower, lemon zest, fine grated garlic, chopped parsley. The gremolata sprinkled on top gives you a great fresh flavour.
Grilled calves liver and bacon with creamed potato, grilled organic portobello mushrooms, vine tomatoes and bearnaise sauce

The birthday girl's favourite is calves liver and bacon - so that is what we did! 
The calves liver I started grilling on the grill pan  as they started to eat the starter - last minute is best with calves liver. Where a lot of people go wrong with cooking liver at home is they cook it for ages till it's dry and tough. Much better when it's cooked quick - after grilling I just flashed it through the oven once they had finished the starter. It did create a bit of smoke in the kitchen - but luckily the smoke alarms at that house are very well behaved and we ventilated with the windows. Makes a good bit of 'kitchen theatre' while you're eating though as well as making a better result. 
There's spinach underneath the tomato - healthy living and some chantenay carrots and bearnaise sauce was served on the side - feast!
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Pineapple tarte tatin with pina colada ice cream
While the apple or banana tarte tatin are so popular, I also like this pinepple version. So did the guests. When you hear "Wow!" "Oh my God!" and "Yum!" while everyone's eating you know things are going ok. The pina colada ice cream was a hit as well. While I've done malibu and coconut ice cream before, this version was even better. After the hass sour cocktail Ms Marmitelover made at the avocado meal I helped with I discovered a new love of cocktails. Pina colada has to be on the top ten most popular - so why not  turn it into ice cream!

Pina Colada Ice Cream

Combination of my Baileys ice cream recipe and Nigella's pina colada ice cream. The lime juice adds a neccessary zing.

400ml tin coconut milk
500ml double cream
300ml pineapple juice (ish)
200g caster sugar
Juice 3 - 4 limes. Maybe more
Toasted dessicated coconut

Heat a ladle full of the cream with the sugar till sugar melts. No combine with the rest of the ingredients and chill in fridge. Churn in your ice cream machine till it starts freezing - takes a bit longer than other ice creams because of the alcohol content.

Need an ice cream machine? See 2 I like (at opposite ends of the cost scale) here.


Related posts

Thai style seabass with pinapple and cucumber salad
Baileys ice cream
1001 Kitchen Tips #22 - Chargrilling tip - I used for the liver so it didn't stick to the pan

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