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Want a dinner party but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen?
Here are a couple of favourite dishes which can be prepared in advance and then whipped out, finishing touches added, and enjoyed with many compliments. Next time you’re having guests over (or if you just want to enjoy a really yummy meal at home) why not give this menu a go… For main, it’s Easy coq au vin and for dessert, White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse.
Easy coq au vin
This recipe is from Delicious Magazine’s “Faking It” cookbook – it’s on high rotation in my kitchen, being choc-full of quick and easy recipes that look and taste great. This is one of my current faves – perfect for a chilly night!
what you need
8 eschalots (french shallots – little onions)
1tbs olive oil
60g sliced pancetta, cut into strips
8 chicken thigh fillets, each cut into three pieces
2 tbs plain flour
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup (250ml) good quality chicken stock (I use Moredough Kitchens Premium Chicken Stock – it isn’t cheap but it makes such a difference when the stock is a large component of the dish)
1 cup (250ml) dry red wine (I used Tatachilla Reserve Shiraz, stolen from husband’s wine shelf…ssssh)
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
Chopped flat leaf parsley and some yummy fresh baguette (ours was from Silo, baked that morning…I had to be restrained from eating the whole lot with butter while it was still warm from the oven)
what to do
Peel the eschalots and cook them in a small saucepan of boiling water for five minutes, then drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan (I used my old faithful Chasseur pot – a gift from my fantastic Mum-in-law, who is also a keen cook).
Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until starting to crisp. Season the chicken with a little salt (you won’t need much) and pepper and then add to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add the flour and store to coat the chicken, then stir in the garlic, mushrooms and tomato paste.
Once everything is combined, add the stock, wine, thyme, bay leaves and eschalots. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Serve the coq au vin in large, shallow bowls with either an accompanying salad or (like I did) some steamed green beans. Plonk a generous bowl of chunks of baguette in the middle of the table for guests to mop up their sauce with.
White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse
This recipe is one of my Mum-in-law’s most requested recipes. It looks uber-impressive but is so quick and easy…give it a run!
what you need
240g white chocolate
5 ml water
4 eggs separated
5 ml almond essence
45 ml amaretto
250ml pure (pouring) cream
100 g slivered almonds, pan roasted til golden brown
100 g strawberries, quartered
what to do
Whip the cream using an electric beater until stiff peaks form. Do the same to the egg whites.
Melt chocolate and water together in the microwave (on high for about a minute should be about right). Beat until smooth and shiny.
Add yolks and beat again.
Add almond essence and amaretto and beat again.
Fold in whipped cream in two batches, then fold in egg whites in two batches.
Spoon into serving glasses and refrigerate for at least three hours.
Top with nuts and strawberries and maybe some crostoli to serve.