A spot of home cooking was in order at the weekend when we entertained D&G for the evening. I’ve been meaning to get it up on the blog, but it’s very hectic being on garden leave (hard to believe, I know).
We thought we’d keep it simple but indulgent but I always have to fight the temptation to get fiddly and fussy when cooking dinner for guests, but Julie is always right to remind me of the simple stuff that we like the best, and that’s what we should cook.
In memory of Rose Grey, the starter was a River cafe recipe for Crab and fennel salad. Quintessentially River Cafe I think – simple, easy to make and all about the ingredients. I bought the crabs from Leeds market and picked them myself and had to keep Julie at bay as crab’s one of her favourites.
I tried to keep the portions small as we were eating lots, but I failed miserably and consequently we had a huge pile of tasty crab seasoned with chilli, lemon and parsley served on bruschetta.
Main course was indulgence all the way – fillet steak with dauphinoise potatoes. Julie laughed when she saw the enormous size of the steaks I’d bought and even after I’d cut them down they were still massive and the offcuts provided a further meal on Monday evening!
The steaks were grilled in the pan and finished off with butter in the oven. I know that fillet has become the most extortionately priced cut of beef but sometimes only fillet will do with it’s velvety texture and subtle beefiness. We served the beef ‘surf and turf’ style, accompanied by gigantic shrimp, butterflied in tarragon and lemon sauce. The combination of flavours worked incredibly well, with the lightness of the seafood and sauce cutting through the richness of the steak perfectly. A few green beans on the side assuaged our guilt for eating so indulgently!
Desserts was Julie’s domain this evening and she made a deliciously vanilla-fied panna cotta with balsamic berries, which was light, fresh and delicious. The bayleaf ice cream made another appearance it really was as good as I remember it – deeply savoury but creamy at the same time. The usually subtle undertone flavour of the bay brought to the fore. Sorry no pics of these, they came out a bit blurred 😉
We finished off with a selection of cheeses from Anthony’s, the pick of the bunch being Alex James’ Blue Monday (see what he did there) – a superbly creamy but mild blue that hit the spot. Coffee and home-made truffles (Julie again,deeply chocolaty) finished off a wonderfully relaxed evening in great company. Happy days.