Souffle suspense – Come Dine With Me Dubai (part 3)
The bar had been set to vertigo inducing heights by H‘s asian fusion restaurant-style presentation menu and S‘s exotic multi-layered spicy menu. Now it was my turn to host Come Dine With Me. Oo-er!
Normally when planning to have friends over for a meal, I sit in a comfy chair with a stack of cookbooks and take my time to get the right balance of tastes, textures and outright yumminess of the food. For reasons which now escape me, I planned my Come Dine With Me Dubai menu in about five minutes flat and once it was submitted there was no going back. Apart from the fact I had never cooked two of the recipes before (and got them randomly from the internet) I forgot to think whether they would be photogenic. Argh – school girl error – I was cooking for FOOD BLOGGERS!
This was my menu:
Fish wrapped in banana leaf with coriander, chilli and coconut milk (served with rice and sugarsnap peas)
Mango, raspberry and passionfruit trifles
I also made two types of bread rolls (one with mustard seeds and one with basil and rosemary) and some rose creams.
Thinking I should not walk too perilous a tightrope I tried the soufflés earlier in the week. They tasted great but two out of four on the same baking tray collapsed to pancake proportions. Not reassuring. In fact my anxiety mounted because of this – if they flopped there would be close-up photographic evidence. Argh once more.
My house was not the oasis of calm that the other venues had been; KP was leaving for golf, the dogs were giving their usual waggy, licky welcome and the teens were coming in from various activities and started foraging. Avid Masterchef and CDWM watchers, they kept whispering “how’s it going?” and “do you think you’re winning?” When I replied negatively to the latter they urged “come on Mum – this IS a competition”!
The kitchen god was watching over me and the soufflés not only held their shape but looked rather nice. I put a little truffle oil in salad dressing for the rocket to go with the mushroom flavour. I breathed a huge sigh of relief at this point and started to enjoy myself a lot more. The CDWM-ers are such good company and it’s such a luxury to natter over a long lunch.
To be honest, I would have used a different fish for the next course but local sole was the best I could get, however it was sparklingly fresh (sadly hammour stocks have declined so much it seems impossible to get now) . This mixture of Thai flavours with coconut milk (including lemongrass from my garden) steams the fish inside the leaf and as you unwrap it the aromas are released in a burst of ginger, coriander and lemongrass. I personally love this combination so I hope my Come Dine With Me-ers did too (although the camera did not love it!).
S had to travel out of the country unexpectedly – we all missed her but it did mean I could sneak a bit of marsala into the trifles. I used fresh mangoes in the pudding as they are in season right now but wondered at my sanity as I was making custard – my culinary bête noir. Once more the fates were in my favour – after spooning most of the creamy vanilla custard over the trifles I couldn’t resist scraping the bowl.
As it’s my house this week sadly you don’t get to snoop – I’m not going reveal my own dark secrets am I? A did spend quite a bit of time taking photos in odd places though.
Next week we lunch at A‘s. All the menus have been strikingly different and A always puts her own unique twist on recipes.