Pre dinner: Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts from Nigella bites. Sourced the nuts from the wholesaler in new Street altona which has just the freshest nuts.. very moorish - I used walnuts, macadamias, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds and hazlenuts. All that nutty goodness with rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt, butter.. what could be better?
Starter: asparagus tomato and knock out sauce salad (aka christmas salad from delicious magazine)
Asparagus is awesome at this time of year. But the best bit of this is the dressing. You have to seek out the yellow soy bean sauce and the stem ginger but they give the most awesome kick! If you can't get buffalo mozarella then baby bocconcini works just as well...
Main was fillet of beef bourguignon - if you live in Melbourne and are near footscray market it's a must for this as the meat is great - and affordable ($22 per kg! for eye fillet!). For 12 I doubled the recipe and ended up cooking all but the beef on the hob until the veges were cooked. Then an hour before serving i popped the browned meat on the top of the saucy vegetables and roasted for an hour. I kept the beef whole (2 pieces each about 1.6kg) - I didn't slice it as per the recipe. So it wasn't really casserole style which means it probably wasn't a beef bourguignon at all! But what was really nice was the beef was rare and very tender rather than overcooked. There was not a single piece of beef left - it was just devoured (a good sign i think!).
Next was a real Normandy treat - Le Trou Normande (otherwise known as apple sorbet with a splash of fiery calvados) - a real palate cleanser. Apple sorbet was made well in advance and before the meal I served it up into pre cooled espresso glasses - so that all we had to do on the night was splash on the calva. This pic is from the recipe (not mine!)
On to Cheese - which was from our local deli the Pickle Barrel
Then what could be more perfect for dessert than Nigella's Brownies I got the recipe from her feast book - or was it the domestic goddess one, anyway . Made them heaps and they always taste fantastic. Had thought about steaming them as recommended in Ben O'Donoghue's column in this months delicious -but they were so gooey as they were - they didn't need this treatment. The recipe says it makes up to 48. We could have got 24 our of the tin and they are disaappearing faster than my wasteline wishes... Yum.
This was really a stress free entertaining menu. So enjoy!