Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Christmas eve dinner (better late than never)

Last year we spent Christmas with my in-laws up in Pretoria. I offered to cook us a Christmas eve dinner at Grandpa Joe's house. I decided to go all out - downloaded loads of cheesy Christmas carols, printed out carol booklets for us to do our own signing, got bible verses ready to be read, dug out all grandpa's 'good' tableware, lit candles everywhere, prepared a center piece and the whole nine yards.   

For the meal I served individually plated salads as a starter. Nothing too complex just a bed a baby leaves, red and yellow peppers, avo, baby corn, pan fried mushrooms, cashew nuts and balsamic reduction as a dressing. 

The main course and dessert were inspired by the Fresh Living Magazine Christmas booklet, which I had read during the road trip up. Grilled salmon with gremolata, crispy roast potatoes and blanched asparagus with capers, olive tapenade and cherry tomatoes as the side veg. It was delicious! Such a winning combo! Perfect for a dinner party any time of the year. 

For dessert I made the Christmas pudding cheese cake from Fresh Living - I tweaked it a little to make it sugar and gluten free... oh my word was it delicious! That is so going to become a staple in my Christmas repertoire from now on. What a fabulous idea! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fresh, light and a little different

Ages ago I put aside a recipe I wanted to try but (as these things always happen) never got around to it. I stumbled upon it the other day and gave it whirl...it was magnificent! 

The inspiration recipe was the cover dish on the November 2008 issue of TASTE magazine. My recipe is different in many ways but the essence is much the same. 

The fresh zesty sauce makes a pleasant change from all the oily, buttery and creamy sauces we usually have with fish. There was no need to serve a starch with the meal either. It was perfectly satisfying as it was. 

I served a bowl of fresh cherries for dessert and thought this was a pretty darned fabulous meal to serve for guests, especially considering how healthy it all is. No compromises in flavour at all! 

Grilled fish with tomato papaya salsa
Serves 4

4 x firm white fish medallions about 200g each

For the salsa
3 small ripe tomatoes
1 cup of ripe but firm papaya
1 small red pepper or pimento
1 tsp of fresh garlic
A small chilli (or to taste), seeded
¼ cup of olive oil
1 Tbsp of lemon juice
Salt to taste

To garnish
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled and quartered 
Fresh basil (or coriander), roughly chopped
1 lemon or lime, quartered

Pre-heat your oven on grill and full heat. Place the rack close to the top of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil.

Place your fish onto the baking tray; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and grill for 8 – 10 minutes depending on how thick the fish is.

In a blender combine all the salsa ingredients. Don’t over blend as some texture is nice.

Prepare the garnish items.

Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it rest for 5 minutes before plating the fish as seen in the picture above.