Friday, January 2, 2015

A Summer Lunch with a Friend

Today we invited our friend Kim over for a New Year catch up over lunch. It's great to be on holidays and to have the luxury of a leisurely lunch during the week, along with a few glasses of wine and some good conversation. The weather is really warm right now, so I wanted a menu that kept me out of a hot kitchen, and that also took advantage of the beautiful Summer produce around at the moment. I managed to come up with a menu that delivered all that, as well as ensuring I didn't have to turn the stove on inside at all. Win!

I thought I'd set the tone with some lovely bright flowers in my favorite vintage vase to pretty up the dining table a bit. Red and green is also kind of festive, don't you think?

Pretty, Pretty.

On New Year's Day I really felt like cooking a French style terrine (as you do!) so that made up our first course. I love a good terrine, and this one is my version, based on lots that I tasted when I was travelling in France. Every little cafe and restaurant seemed to have their own version (Terrine de Maison) and over the years I've developed my own. It is a mixture of pork and chicken, along with bacon, capers, pistachios, juniper berries and a touch of allspice. It is really delicious and better eaten the day after you make it. I've had a couple of requests for recipe, so I will share it with you at the end of this post. Here is what it looked like on the day I made it.

My Terrine de Maison

I served the terrine today with some crisp lettuce hearts, cornichons and some beautiful Bruny Island plum jelly that I brought back from my last trip to Tasmania. We also enjoyed it with slices of crusty French bread and lashings of fabulous Pepe Saya cultured butter. 

Plated Terrine 
with accompaniments

For the main course, I visited the fishmonger this morning and decided to see what they had that looked good, and I would base a dish around that. I found some super fresh, large local prawns and some really good looking line caught Blue Marlin steaks. I cooked them outside on the BBQ, along with some fresh asparagus and some zucchini flowers. I made a simple sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, cherry balsamic, chilli, capers, parsley, garlic chives and fresh oregano from my garden. I just drizzled the dressing over just before serving. I added some grilled lime on the side and some baby chervil herbs for a bit of freshness.

The Fish Course

The dessert was super simple. I bought 3 perfect white peaches that are now in season and really beautiful and fragrant, I always like creating dishes out of what is in season, and these are great right now. I blanched them in boiling water to remove the skins, chilled them and then served them drizzled with a sweet syrup made from palm sugar - and some fresh coconut cream and lemony tasting baby sorrel leaves. Easy - and a fresh and delicious end to a summer lunch. This is great dessert for people who can't eat dairy products. The coconut cream gives a velvety richness without any dairy at all. I notice that supermarkets are stocking it now, in the chiller section next to the sour cream and other dairy based creams. Have a look for it - it has a lighter, fresher taste than the tinned coconut cream you buy to make curries with.

White Peach
With palm sugar, coconut cream and baby sorrel

We had a lovely few hours eating and chatting and drinking wine and everyone enjoyed the menu I had put together. Apart from the terrine, which was made the day before, it was a very low stress menu for a hot Summer day.

As requested, below is the recipe for my terrine. You can cook it in a traditional ceramic terrine (the rectangular dish that gives the dish its name) or a metal loaf tin, if you don't have a terrine. You will also need something to place on top of the terrine while it is cooking, to compress it. I use a small rectangular ceramic dish that works fine.

Gourmet Goddess Terrine de Maison

500g Pork Mince
500g Chicken Mince
250g Finely Chopped Bacon
15-20 Slices Prosciutto
1 Large Finely Chopped White Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
6 Crushed Juniper Berries
1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Rosemary (Don't use dried Rosemary for this recipe)
1 Tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard
1 Tablespoon Small Capers 
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cups Breadcrumbs
3 Pinches Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Olive Oil Spray


Preheat the oven to 170C. Cut a piece of baking paper to line the bottom of your terrine dish or tin. Spray the tin with olive oil. 

Carefully line the bottom and side of the tin with a layer of prosciutto. Set aside.

In a pan, heat the tablespoon of butter and olive olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until transparent. Don't have the heat too high - you don't want the onions or garlic to brown. 

In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked onion and all of the other ingredients. Using clean hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients until very, very well combined.

Fill the terrine with the mixture, taking care that it is packed in evenly. When you have finished, add a weight to the top of the terrine. I use a small rectangular ceramic dish to do this. You want the terrine to be compressed during cooking, which results in a nice, even terrine when you go to cut it later. Cover the whole dish with foil.

Cook in the over for 1 hour 20 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, take off the foil and carefully drain any excess cooking juices that you may find at the bottom of the terrine.

Allow the terrine to cool in the dish for about 30 minutes, before turning it out on a plate and putting it in the fridge to chill. You can eat it once it's cold, but I recommend waiting 24 hours, as the flavours develop really nicely given a little bit of time.

Serve with crusty bread, any kind of pickle of fruit jelly and some crisp lettuce leaves. It's also great in crusty rolls for a picnic.

Serves 8 People