Terrine with olives, pine nuts and prosciutto

Serves: Plenty as a starter

My father’s birthday was last weekend and right on cue, my mother served an amazing French lunch to celebrate. Tapenade to begin, a wonder goats cheese souffle, a four-hour lamb with pan-fried potatoes and mushrooms, beans tossed with caramelised onion and crepes suzette.

Wowser.

And all we brought was Champagne!

But it was this terrine that I thought won the show.

Sure, the lamb was amazing… indeed, it all was smashing.

But for effort and presentation, sophistication and wow… this terrine was just awesome.

Today, we spent the day packing boxes ready for our big house move in a week and I found our bread tin in the corner of one kitchen cupboard where it has been since who knows when.

But as soon as we’re in to the new place, no kidding, first Saturday afternoon, I’m doing this again.

House move complete, some toasts, some music, sun in the courtyard and a bottle of Champagne, this will be bloody heaven.

Ingredients

500g lean pork (mince)
125g veal (mince)
125g pork fat
⅓ cup pine nuts
¼ cup soft white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp dry vermouth
90g prosciutto, cut in one slice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup black olives
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
½ tsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 slices, fatty bacon, rinds removed

Method

  1. If not minced, cut the pork, veal and pork fat into small pieces and then mince together in a food processor.
  2. Lightly toast the pine nuts. Soak the breadcrumbs in the vermouth. Cut the prosciutto into small dice. Crush the clove of garlic with the salt.
  3. Combine all the prepared ingredients with a large bowl with the olives, basil, thyme, a grinding of black pepper and the egg; mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  5. Line a 5 – 6 cup loaf pan with 3 slices of the bacon. Turn the meat mixture into the pan and push down firmly. Cover with the remaining bacon.Bake the terrine for 1¼ hours. Pour off any excess fat or juices. Put a plate on top and weigh it down: you want it to be as tight and compact as possible.
  6. Cool and then chill for 12 hours.
  7. To serve, unmould onto a platter allow to come to room temperature.
  8. Toast some thin breads, open some good french, send the kids to their room, enjoy.

Anne Burrell’s Gnocchi

Serves: 4 – 6

This is an exceptional dish.

Visually beautiful, restaurant quality.

My mother gave me the recipe and we cooked it last weekend; my mother said it was the best gnocchi I would ever cook and hands down, she was right.

An essential key to it is the gnocchi, where instead of mixing through the flour when the gnocchi is hot, in this recipe, you allow the gnocchi to cool completely. The result is a light and fluffy gnocchi, completely unlike the hard, floury gnocchi we are so used to eating.

It is almost as if they are not there.

The sauce is fabulous; rich, warm, filling.

With some shaved pecorino to serve, this is a dinner party keeper where everyone will ask you for the recipe only a few bites in. It just comes together.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

5 large baking or mashing potatoes
2 eggs
Grated parmesan
2+ cups flour
Salt and pepper
1½ cups frozen peas, defrosted
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch of chili flakes
125gm prosciutto, cut into lardons
2 cups Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
½ bunch chives, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C and bake the potatoes for 1 hour or until tender.
  2. While the potatoes are still hot peel and pass them through a ricer or food mill on to an oven tray lined with baking paper, and then refrigerate until very cold.
  3. Beat together the eggs, ¾ cup grated Parmesan and 1+ tbsp salt and pour on to the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with 2+ cups flour and mix all together with fingers until the dough is homogeneous and slightly moist, adding more flour (and salt) if necessary.
  4. Form the dough into long ropes about 3cm thick, cut into 2 cm lengths, cover generously with flour, place in a single layer on paper dusted with flour and either use or freeze immediately.  [NB: once frozen the gnocchi can be stored in plastic bags indefinitely, and can go directly from the freezer into salted boiling water.]
  5. Sauté the garlic and chilli flakes in some olive oil and then discard the garlic when it becomes golden brown.
  6. Add the prosciutto and sauté until it begins to become crispy.
  7. Add the mushrooms, sauté, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the stock and simmer until it has reduced by half.
  9. Add the butter and peas and correct the seasoning.
  10. Drop half the gnocchi into boiling salted water and cook until they float and become puffy. Drain the gnocchi and add to the sauce.
  11. Add 4 tbsp grated parmesan and the chives, and serve with more grated parmesan or pecorino if you have it.

Not as good as Ellen’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Serves 4

Nothing beats my mother’s Caesar Salad recipe though pretending you had eaten it for 10-days straight – which I believe you could – then this is not a bad alternative for a day.

I adapted it by adding the poached egg and seriously, why shouldn’t you?!

Stop worrying about Caesar Salad being so bad for you and focus on the positives: life is short and so eat well.

Ingredients

650gm chicken breast (skinless)
8 slices prosciutto
Quarter to a third of a baguette, cut into largish croutons
4 eggs
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste (chopped anchovies)
2 baby cos lettuce (the recipe asked for Romaine which would be better)
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan)
Pepper and Salt

Method

  1. Blend garlic, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, pepper and salt in a blender until combined. With motor running, add 7 tbsp of olive oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified.
  2. Heat a large pan with oil over a medium-low heat, add enough olive oil to barely cover the pan and cook the croutons until lightly golden: the croutons should have absorbed the oil, and oil should be added if too dry.
  3. Poach the eggs, drain and reserve.
  4. Heat a large pan over a medium-low heat, and cook the prosciutto until slightly crispy. Tear.
  5. Pat the chicken dry and coat with 1 tbsp oil, and season. Heat lightly oiled grill pan (or BBQ grill) medium high and grill the chicken. Cut into ½ inch slices and let cool slightly.
  6. Toss the chicken with two tbps of the dressing in a large bowl.
  7. Add the lettuce, cheese, remaining dressing, croutons, prosciutto and toss. Serve in bowls, placing an egg over the top of each.