Saturday, November 1, 2008

Strawberry frangipane tartlets

Ah, cup day weekend. When Melbourne gives it citizen's a holiday to gamble at the races. Or in my case, to stay home and cook to my heart's content.

To start off the weekend, Ryan & I invited his parents down for an early al fresco dinner. I didn't want to spend much time cooking so I tried to find easy, simple dishes that could either be prepped ahead of time or cooked in minutes. As I wanted to serve 3 courses, I whipped out my trusty, often turned-to friend, Donna Hay's Instant Entertaining.

I normally don't cook many things twice and tend to cook recipes I haven't road tested when entertaining, this time around however I decided on two recipes that I have cooked before which were successful, and one I had not.

For starters I made a Parmesan Wafer Salad:
150g goats cheese
80g rocket
2 red apples, thinly sliced
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 1/2tbs balsamic
1tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place 8 x 1 1/2tbs of shredded Parmesan in circles on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10mins or until crispy. Whisk balsamic, oil and salt and pepper together. Slice apples and toss in balsamic with rocket. Place rocket on plate and layer apples with goats cheese. Place Parmesan wafer on top. Serves 4.

ease: 5/5. Just make sure you don't burn the Parmesan wafers.
prep time: 7mins to prep everything except parmesan.
cooking time:
10mins to make parmesan disks.
total: 10mins - you can prep everything while parmesan melts.

4/5. Great starter with classic flavour combinations. Clean and light.

would I make it again: Yes, this is the third time I have made this.

For main - Aioli, rocket & steak sandwich:
8 x 100g sirloin of fillet steak (I used 4 eye fillets)
80g rocket
4 slices ciabatta or thick wood fired bread, toasted
salt and pepper
olive oil, for frying
lemon aioli (I used Neil Perry's aioli to cut down on time)
3/4 whole egg mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2tbs lemon juice

To make lemon aioli, combine mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice.
Season steak with salt and pepper. Fry steak in oil until cooked to your liking. To serve place bread on plates and top with steaks, lemon aioli and rocket. Serves 4.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 3mins to toast bread and get ingredients ready.
cooking time:
5mins for steak for medium plus some resting time.
total: 8mins. Put steak on first and get everything ready while it cooks.

taste: 5/5. I used bio dynamic eye fillet - the steak really makes this dish. I cook mine to medium so it's tender. would I make it again: Yes. Made this one twice.

For dessert: Strawberry Frangipane Tart:
ease: 2/5. Takes hours to chill.
prep time:
6.5hours. I only chilled my dough for a total of 1.5hours, so my prep time was 2hours.
cooking time:
6.5hours. If you chill the dough as long as I did it will only take 2hours & 15mins.

taste: 3.5/5. The strawberries make this tart, without them it would be dry and boring.

would I make it again: No. Too much time for such a mediocre tart. Thank God for the tasty strawberries.


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