Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year's Feast

So, I've never celebrated New Years in a low key style, but there's a first for everything, and quite frankly, I think New Years celebrations to be a little over rated. We opted for a dinner party this year, with some of the young couples and it was fabulous!
Being a Friday, we went for seafood. Not everyone is a seafood fan, but you cant go wrong with a beautiful, buttery Salmon steak smeared in mushroom sauce on a bed of warm potato mash, baby spinach and roast capsicum. The meal is a favourite of mine to make and gets compliments every time, so if you're wanting to have the recipe! The best thing, besides the taste, is that this meal is super easy to make and looks gourmet. Cant go past it!

Hors D'oeuvres:

Photo courtesy of Marcela Saborido

Cucumber Wheels with Curried Tuna, Capsicum and Prawns

2 large cucumbers
2x 95g cans Thai Red Curry tuna
1/4 red capsicum
prawns (optional)

Scrape the fork vertically down the skin of the cucumbers until completely scored. Cut off the ends and cut the cucumber into 1cm discs. Scrape out a little of the centre of each with a teaspoon, making sure that there is still a base. Discard the removed seeds. Spoon curried tuna into the small wells and top with slithered capsicum and prawns if desired.

Main Course:


Atlantic salmon steak
Red capsicum, halved, deseeded
Mashed potato
Handful of mushrooms, chopped
Evaporated milk
Corn flour
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan on stove on high. Sear the salmon on each side for a few minutes until golden. Turn stove to low to cook the steak through, turning and checking occasionally.
Meanwhile, halve the capsicum, deseed and set under the grill on high. Remove when browned, and repeat for the other side.
Cut desired amount of mushrooms into small pieces and begin to brown in a small saucepan. While browning, place 1/5 cup evaporated milk in a small bowl and mix a little corn flour into it. When well combined, add to the mushrooms, with more evaporated milk until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange baby spinach in the middle of plate. Lay the roast capsicum on top of the spinach and scoop prepared potato mash inside. Lay salmon steak on top of the mash and pour hot mushroom sauce over the steak.

NOTE: this recipe serves one. Increase ingredients to suit.



2 Egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
3oz flaked almonds, lightly toasted
100ml cream
1/4 cup strawberries

Preheat oven to 150C.
Beat the egg whites on the highest setting until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating well in between, until sugar dissolves,  and the mixture is thick, smooth and glossy.
Draw 12 tear shapes onto two sheets of baking paper to use as guides for the swan's bodies. Pipe meringue mixture onto these sheets to fill in the shapes, making the meringue thicker at the widest part of the tear. Insert the tips of almonds at a slight angle over the tops of these tear shapes to resemble feathers. Bake for one hour, alternating the trays at the end of the first half hour. Cool with the oven door slightly ajar.

With the remaining meringue, pipe S shapes onto another lined baking tray. Pipe a few extra in case of breakage. Bake in the oven until golden, and cool with the door ajar.

Beat the cream until thick. Crush the strawberries and add, stirring through the cream.
Just before serving, wedge two teardrops together with cream to assemble the body and insert the S shape to form the swan's head.

NOTES: do not assemble swan and then store in the refrigerator, as the meringue will soften and the swan will not stand.

 After dinner Nibbles:



125g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup pure icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour

Using an electric beater, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flours, and stir until well combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll with a rolling pin and press our 20 circles. Place each in the bases of a  muffin tin, taking care to centre the dough so that each forms a pastry case. Bake for 25-30 minutes  until golden. Cool.


2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. cornflour
40g butter, at room temperature

Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, combine yolks, sugar and cornflour and whisk over a low heat. When the milk has boiled, add a few tablespoons into the yolk mixture and whisk. Gradually add the remaining milk and whisk vigorously on a medium heat. Custard will thicken. Continue to whisk until boils, and remove from heat. Scrape into a small bowl and sit in a tray of ice, to cease the cooking process. When cooler, add the butter in 3-4 installments, stirring until combined. Add essence, mix and refrigerate. Stores for 2-3 days.

Pipe custard into shortbread cases and drizzle with melted chocolate. De-lish!


  1. Oh gosh, these look sinfully delicious! I have never made custard before and is looking forward to trying this out.

  2. I'd like to invite you to join our site . I really enjoy your blog and recipes and I think the over 8,000 unique daily visitors to Easy Recipes will too.
    By joining Easy Recipes, we will provide the Nutrition Facts for every recipe you post in which you could customize and add to your blog. Viewers need and love to know the nutritional facts. Its a free service that we offer to blogs and recipes we really love. It looks professional and your members will love it. Simply visit or contact me at We look forward having you in our network!


Give me some sugar, Sugar...