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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dinner at ours: Twice baked cheese soufflé, spinach stuffed chicken roulade and coconut panna cotta.

Mr Cauliflower

The other weekend, we invited Benisa, Dany and Dany's father over for some food and a catch up.

Twice baked cheese souffle

We started with a twice baked cheese soufflé, taken from this month's issue of Delicious. In the magazine, it's a goat's cheese soufflé and served as a main (with salad), but as I'm still unsure about goat's cheese I substituted with a sharp cheddar. Also, as we were having it as a starter, I made smaller serves.

The recipe instructs you to turn out the soufflé after the first baking. When I turned one out though, it looked terribly unattractive, so I kept them in the ramekins to serve. By the way, you should've seen them in the oven! They rose very high but deflated quickly on cooling. It was a shame that they didn't reach the glorious heights on the second baking, but they were still delicious. And so cheesy.

Spinach stuffed chicken roulade

For the spinach stuffed chicken roulade, I had an idea about what I wanted to cook, so went searching for a recipe that was similar to what I had in my head. I ended up adapting this recipe from Inglewood Farms (see my recipe at the end of this post). And, am I allowed to say that it was rather good? Well, I won't lie. It was! (Gee, the modesty.)

Coconut panna cotta

And for dessert, we had coconut panna cotta with fresh strawberries. The coconut panna cotta recipe was from and not only was it a cinch to make, but it was delicious – smooth, creamy and fragrant. I was tempted to do some caramelised banana instead of the strawberries, but decided that it would be too rich and sweet. (I tried unmoulding one a few hours before dinner to make sure that I could turn them out okay – and since it was already unmolded it would've been a waste not to eat it....).

Mr Onion

Despite the expression on Mr Onion's face, dinner was a success. Don't mind him, he's such a crybaby. After dinner, Mr Onion and Mr Cauliflower came to the table for an impromptu photo shoot. Remember our visit to Blenheim a couple of months ago? I saw these in the window of a souvenir shop when we stopped in Kaikoura for some food. I'm not really a knick knack person, but I was strangely taken by them. Why? I really have no idea. I admit that they are ridiculous and kitsch! But I liked them for some reason, so on our way back down to Christchurch, we stopped in Kaikoura just so I could buy them. There were other fruits and vegetables - strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, but Mr Cauliflower and Mr Onion were my favourites. They're very silly but they make me laugh!

Twice-baked cheese soufflé

From Delicious magazine September 2008

Serves 6 (or 8 as a starter)

You can bake these in advance and reheat before serving.

60g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
350ml hot milk
100g cheese (I used cheddar, the original recipe had goat's cheese)
1/2 tsp paprika
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup (125ml) pure (thin( cream
1/2 cup (40g) freshly grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six 1 cup (250ml) ramekins or eight 1/2 cup ramekins (if serving as a starter). Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for about a minute until foaming. Remove from the heat, then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until well combined. Return pan to medium-low heat and stir constantly for 1 minute until it is a smooth paste.

Gradually add the hot milk, stirring constantly for two minutes, until smooth. Bring to the boil, then pour into a large bowl. Add the cheese and paprika, then season with salt and pepper and stir until smooth.

Using a balloon whisk, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric beater to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold one-third of the eggwhites into the cheese mixture (trying not to loose too much volume). Gently fold in another third of the eggwhites, then finally fold in the reminder.

Fill each ramekin with the mixture so that it is three-quarters full. Place in a roasting pan and fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and risen, then remove from the pan and cool.

When ready to serve, increase the oven to 220°C. If you don't want to serve them in the ramekins, line a tray with baking paper. Run a knife around the edges of the soufflé and invert them on to the tray. Pour about 1tbs cream over the top of each one, scatter with parmesan, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is golden and the cream is bubbling.

Spinach stuffed chicken roulade

Adapted from this recipe here

Serves at least 8

1 bunch english spinach
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
30 grams melted butter
Small handful of basil, chopped
8 chicken breasts, skin on
6 slices prosciutto

Preheat oven to 220ºC.

Wash the fresh spinach well. Place the spinach in a large pan/pot and cook for about 4 minutes, until wilted. Squeeze the excess water from the cooked spinach and chop finely.

Place the spinach in a bowl with the pine nuts, garlic, butter, basil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together well.

"Butterfly" cut each chicken breast. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over each chicken breast and pound it with a mallet or rolling pin until it is thin and flat.

Place a small amount of the spinach mixture on to the chicken, and roll up tightly. You should be able to roll it so the skin is on the outside. Lay a slice of prosciutto on the chicken where it is not covered by skin, and secure with cooking twine.

Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium high heat. Sear each parcel on all sides, and then place in an oven-proof dish and finish cooking in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.

When ready to serve, remove the cooking twine and slice into rounds. Serve with vegetables/salad.

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