food for lovers & lovers of food…feb 2011

Well that is our February dinners done and dusted… the theme as we were close to Valentines was loosely followed and we found we had a full house on both nights and I am glad to say the challenge of a last minute cancellation was also filled quickly… The cancellation was the first one we have ever had to deal with that close to a dinner and we had already purchased food and started our prep so this meant we had to use all our means of contact to fill the space.

This web site is self built using a template on WordPress and I am by no means an expert and it is all self taught but I have recently discovered how to place a form on the site so am now trying to use these to gather information from our followers and punters… For example if you want to be made aware of a last minute cancellation why not fill out this form below and we will create a specific mail list to let you know.

I have also recently transferred my email list of addresses to an internet mail service called mail chimp… this enables me in one click to send an email that is specific to a special list and also see statistics who might have opened the email and gauge also what formats work best… again something to play with in the future and a lot less time consuming in keeping you all up to date.

The format of this site will also change slightly and I will start using the blog aspect more as it is a much quicker and an easier way of reporting what is happening and updating you all of some exciting developments that will be happening over the next few months. The pages will be more informative of what we do but effectively our home page will be the news and musings of yours truly…

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Warm Roasted Aubergine, Red Pepper & Cumin Terrine

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Chicken Breast Roulade stuffed with Spinach, Pine Nut & Feta Cheese

served with a light sherry jus.

Pommes Lyonnaise

Green Beans wrapped in pancetta

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits

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Roasted Rhubarb Tart with Walnut Ice Cream

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Coffee with petit fours 

 

So back to this months dinner… well we kicked off the dinners with some assorted nibbles that we think went well… the Friday night guests were served some Parmesan Lollipops that are just grated parmesan thinly spread on baking parchment and with the addition of some caraway seeds then baked. Once lightly golden and removed from the parchment and cooled they crisp up nicely and look impressive on the tables…The Saturday night guests were due the same but somehow I managed to mix my cheeses and added cheddar to the mix and when I started to bake them they went all greasy and horrible!!! So a minor alteration was made and the use of some butter puff pastry turned my cheese mix into some baked cheese Palmiers… We also on both nights served a little shot glass of mushroom cappuccino, simply a homemade mushroom soup topped with a milky foam… it seemed to be well received and will see what else we can dream up for these shot glasses in the future…

So our first course was a fairly ambitious one… a warm terrine of Aubergine that is set in a red pepper egg custard flavoured with cumin. I have to admit this was not all my own idea but one gleaned from a chef demo I had seen many years ago at a cookery demo in the Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School, London. It was Moroccan inspired as this accomplished chef had spent some time cooking at the La Gazelle D’Or in Taroudant and the marriage of aubergine, red peppers and cumin is a classic north African one. It was not till I researched a bit about the Cumin a spice that I realised it had some great “lovers” connections as well. It is the second most common spice used throughout the world and this terrine for me was a challenging one to serve warm to bring out the cumin flavour. It was a long process as the aubergine required a little salting initially (having been sliced length ways) then grilling and then when cold layered in the terrine moulds with the egg custard mix added. The cumin initially dry roasted and pounded in the pestle and mortar was added to the custard mix and when baked slowly emanated a truly wonderful aroma. The terrine was then sliced last minute and reheated in the oven to warm it up and help bring out the flavours. A simple salad garnish made this a great starter that was also very vegetarian friendly as well.

Next came our main course… the roulade of chicken, here we beat out a chicken supreme (the skinless breast) thinly and then before rolling it up tightly we placed some sautéed spinach, crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts as the filling.

The roulade rolled in cling film meant the best cooking method was to then gently poach them in chicken stock so ensure the meat remained succulent. A light jus with the addition of sherry and chopped sun-dried tomatoes proved an extra dimension and the clean plates that all came back seemed to be an approval of our efforts!

Next our ubiquitous cheese course was made up of a selection… we had marinated some fresh goats cheeses in an olive oil mix of dried chilli, chopped chives and basil for a couple of days, then a small wedge of Gorgonzola was the blue addition and a soft French Pié d’Angloys. We then also included as the hard cheese our local Winterdale Shaw but this time the standard one and a sliver of their smoked version, this is the matured cheese that is then halved and taken off to the Weald Smokery and smoked naturally over oak wood chips. One guest remarked how it took him right back to an earlier food memory so it certainly did its job!!!

Finally the dessert we served was a warm Rhubarb Tart that was served with some walnut ice cream. The pink rhubarb sliced and being placed raw on the puff pastry bases was then baked with addition of sugar and cinnamon.

Finally it was coffee served with an assortment of chocolates including some rather good Spanish Turron, it was a nightmare to cut but the broken bits that kept falling off found a good home!

The atmosphere of both nights was great and first night seemed incredibly loud with a constant background chatter, then the second night guests were treated to a firework display by one of neighbours so an added bonus… at no extra cost as well!!!

So that rounded up the dinners and we now start planning our next one…it will be a fish theme and will I am sure will be over subscribed once again…menu coming soon so watch this space…

Cheers

Hari

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14 thoughts on “food for lovers & lovers of food…feb 2011”

  1. Thanks for an expertly executed meal fit for lovers!! I agree with your previous commenters that it was the overall quality and interesting combinations that really thrilled. The warm terine with cumin gave a wow start, followed for the piscetarians with a delicious and flavorsome haddock roulade beautifully presented on a green bean nest. Yum Yum!! The morsels of room temperature cheese and then Rhubarb tarts with yummy scrummy walnutty icecream……HEAVEN!!! Until the chocolate petit fours which surpassed everything….recipe needed 😉 Thanks Hari….We’ll be back if you’ll let us after the near disastrous firey start!!! Fi & T

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    1. Hi Fi
      Glad you and Terry enjoyed your underground night… thanks so much for some lovely comments and sorry it has taken some time to respond to you… been a bit busy with hols and @yourhome dinners. The firey start just added to the nights dramas and no problem!!!
      See you again soon
      Hari

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  2. Food for lovers – wonderful evening and the food was excellent! Home made soda bread was to die for, the chicken stuffed with spinach, pine nuts and feta cheese amazing and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, out came the wonderful selection of cheeses. Perfect! Thank you again for being such a great host; definitely coming again. Kat’s been talking about the evening a lot at work and she’s got at least two couples interested already. Keep up the good work! See you again soon…

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    1. Hi Luke
      Glad you and Kat enjoyed the night… it was my pleasure to feed you both… The soda bread is prooving popular and I will get round to sticking the recipe up on our recipe section. I will hopefully see you both again soon…
      Cheers
      Hari

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  3. Another triumph! You made every dish your own but in particular I loved the aubergine terrine and the chocolate ganache petit fours. The best part about your food lovers’ menu was the menu as a whole — harmonious and well balanced — not sure if that was your intention but that was what we appreciated the most. You restored my faith in going out for St Valentines AND inspired us, as food lovers, to cook our own dinner à deux on the 14th. Our menu was nowhere near as complete and complex as yours but I’d like to think we approached the food in a similar way. Mille mercis.. Vive les amoureux! Vive M. Hari Covert et à bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures…

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    1. Ah Felicity… I am glad I inspired you and Kenton to cook your own St Valentines dinner!!!
      Thanks so much for the lovely comments… I was pleased you loved the Aubergine Terrine – it turned out well and I was very pleased with the end result.
      The recipe for the chocolates will appear one day on the web site here or maybe in the Hari Covert Cookbook!!!
      Merci
      Hari C

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  4. Hi Hari
    Thank you so much for such a culinary feast – we had a great night and Mrs W, who isn’t normally a fan of aubergine absolutely loved your warm terrine! We’ll be definately be back soon!
    James

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    1. Hi James

      Glad you and Melanie enjoyed yourselves… The terrine seemed to go down well both nights… sorry you did not get the free fireworks display on your night!!!

      I look forward to seeing you sometime at a Twuddle,Twuttle or a future Hari night… don’t forget the Ice Cream night!

      Cheers
      Hari C

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  5. Just wanted to say again what a wonderful meal we had at your’s, from start to finish it was a gourmet treat. So much so, all my wife could talk about the next day was how we could do that! Our inaugural dinner is booked for end April!
    Your dinner, from the Parmigiana lollipops to the home made chocolates was a pleasure to eat, and I am really glad I didn’t save the St Emilion for a special occasion! it went perfectly with the game evening. Once again thank you, hope to invite you to one of ours one day.
    P

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      1. Hi Hari

        It seems that my post never quite made it – must have been my mistake. Either way its never too late to say how much we enjoyed dinner at yours as a precursor to my actual birthday. Who needs Valentines! SO much meticulous preparation, attention to small details and terrific taste sensations!!! You really have a great thing going so I hope more people in Kent (and even Surrey) make it to the table.

        All the best.

        See you again before too long.
        Donella

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        1. Hi Donella
          Never too late to comment and thanks for the kind words… we are now already fully booked for this months dinners so something must be going right…!!!

          I am glad you enjoyed you night with us and you felt it was a worthy celebration for your birthday!!!

          Alot of new ideas for the future dinners with some exciting prospects so will keep you posted!!!

          Good luck in the draw tomorrow as well!!!

          Cheers
          Hari

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