Showing posts with label chocolate for dinner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate for dinner. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crab Pasta with a Gin and White Chocolate Sauce

I know that I suggested that you ‘cook’ a ceviche brulee for Valentine’s Day dinner, but I thought I’d also give you a second option. Also seafood. Also containing gin. And this one is a little more Valentine’s Day traditional in that it also contains chocolate! I’ve dabbled with savoury chocolate dishes a few time. This, so far, is my favourite. The sweetness of the crab pairs with the sweetness of the white chocolate and the red peppercorns provide just enough spice to temper against the sweetness. You’ll possibly have noticed I’m also really into gins at the moment. The one I used in this one is made in West Australia, so it might be a little harder for you to find. You can sub it in for a gin of your choice, but the citrusy hit that “Sabre” has is really suited to this dish. If you can get it, definitely give it a go, it’s really nice!

Given that Valentine’s Day is also soon – if you can’t find crab meat by Friday, I’ll also allow you to sub in prawns.

In the photos you’ll see I served this with a salad of leaves and sour cherries. The tartness of the cherries really pops with the richness of the pasta and makes it a complete meal. And given the gin and citrus, harks back to the Aviation cocktail that I’m a big fan of. That would be this dish’s perfect pre-dinner cocktail!

Crab Pasta with Gin and White Chocolate Sauce
200g crab flesh
¾ cup The West Winds“Sabre” Gin
Zest and juice of one lime
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp pepper corns
½ tsp sea salt
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 big cloves garlic, minced
50g white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
250g pasta

Cherry Salad
Mixed salad leaves
12 cherries, roughly chopped
½ zucchini, thinly sliced into rings
Assorted toasted nuts/seeds (I used pepitas, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds)
Salt & pepper

Put a pot of salted water on to boil. When boiling, add the pasta to cook at the point where the garlic is cooked.

In a dry frypan, toast the coriander seeds for 30 seconds or so on medium heat until fragrant. Grind with the peppercorns. Set aside.

In the same pan, gently warm the olive oil and sautee the shallots for 5 minutes or so until translucent. Do not allow to colour. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and coriander seeds. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the lime zest, juice and gin, stir through really well and allow to reduce by about half – another 5 minutes or so.

Add the crab, stir well. Then mix in the white chocolate and butter, stirring frequently to allow everything to come together as the chocolate and butter melts.

At this point, the pasta should be al dente. Drain, then toss into the crab sauce. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Comfort Food - Parsnip, Potato and White Bean Soup with White Chocolate

As promised in my Chocolate Chilli Dressing post, I experimented with another one of the chocolate recipes I discovered on the Hershey website - Potato-Parsnip Bisque with White Chocolate. Autumn has well and truly set in and the nights are brisk and chilly. The days waiver between warm and cooler, but all in all I am starting to crave comfort foods. Soups and stews and roasts and pudding and chocolates. So I was excited to try this soup with white chocolate, combining two of those things! I'm a bit strange in that I like both dark chocolate and white chocolate. Milk chocolate I can take or leave. So the idea of some white chocolate melted through a parsnippy soup sounded perfect. I am eating a bowl of this for a late lunch as I type, ugg boots on, watching Mad Men. It's creamy and thick and peppery and perfect for this cooler weather. Truly comforted.

The initial recipe was a bisque, and passed through a fine china cap. But I wanted mine thicker, so I skipped this step. Not to mention that I don't own one of those. It also called for heavy cream, but I wanted it to be a bit healthier, so I added a tin of white beans for extra fibre and used milk. I served it with some crispy bacon bits, but I actually would've preferred some crispy fried chorizo or salami bits. The fennel in these sausages would've taken it to another world of yum!

Parsnip, Potato and White Bean Soup with White Chocolate
serves 6
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 leek, quartered then finely diced
1 big clove garlic, diced
1/2 tsp salt
2 parsnips,  peeled, then medium diced
1/2 cup sweet white wine
6 small potatoes, peeled then medium diced
750mL vegetable stock
250mL water
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups milk
40g or so of white chocolate - 16 sqaures of Dream, finely cut
pepper, to serve

Place a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and allow to heat. Add the leeks, garlic and salt. Allow to cook until the leeks become translucent. Add the parsnips and mix well, coating in the leeks. Add the wine, stir it through then reduce it by half.

Add the potatoes, stock, water, bay leaves and nutmeg. Turn the heat up, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes or so until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Add the white beans, and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.

Turn off heat, allow to sit for 5 minutes or so. Remove the bay leaves. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Return to the stove top and heat to medium. Add the milk, stir through and allow to heat to just below boiling.

Add the white chocolate at this point, stirring carefully, but briskly to allow it to mix through completely. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve with fresh pepper.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mixed Greens, Pear and Goat's Cheese Salad with Chocolate Chilli Dressing

I wish I'd come up with this idea on my own, it's something I'd be super proud of. It's a weird, but elegantly simple idea. After all, salad dressings are basically a mix of oil, acid and sugar - why shouldn't that sugar be chocolate? But I'll be honest and say that this recipe was adapted from an idea I saw on the Hershey webpage. As part of that holiday I mentioned in my last post (the one that means this photo is also a phone photo - so bad I'm almost ashamed to put it up, but the salad was so delicious I'm willing to put it out there), my husband and I are taking a quick trip out to Hershey, PA. That's right, a whole town built by a chocolate company. With a theme park. Chocolate and roller coasters! Perfect, right?

So anyway, I was doing a bit of browsing on their website and came across a recipe section with a chocolate and chilli salad dressing. I simplified their recipe down to the basic 3 ingredient rule, then added chilli. I figure easier is better for a weeknight, and it'll give me a good base to start experimenting with. And it was awesome. Seriously. Awesome. I used Cottees chocolate sauce because of availability in Australia and price point. But feel free to use Hershey's, or a more natural, virtuous chocolate sauce.

I served this as a side salad for dinner, but I'd definitely serve a larger portion with a big juicy pork steak to turn it into a main meal salad. And, at the risk of getting sick of my own'd also be really good with crispy bacon bits. Vegetarian dish improved by bacon. In fact, so many things would go well with this dressing!

The dressing is also pretty strong, you only need a drizzle of it, rather than to full-on 'dress' the salad. For two people, I used 2 tbsps of the dressing. The salad ingredients all depend on how much you intend to serve.

There was also a recipe for a savoury chocolate soup I'm keen to try when the weather cools down further - I'll keep you posted!

Mixed Greens, Pear and Goat's Cheese Salad with Chocolate Chilli Dressing

3 tbsps chocolate sauce
4 tbsps coconut oil
3 tbsps apple cider vinegar
1 tsp chilli powder

Mixed salad greens
1/2 buerre bosc pears, very thinly sliced
pine nuts
1/4 brown onion, diced
2 tbsps corn flour
oil for frying
goat's cheese, crumbled

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake!

Toast the pine nuts in a medium hot pan. Toss the onion in corn flour, then heat the oil in the same pan, and fry until brown and crispy. Put on paper towel to drain and cool.

Arrange greens, pear slices and goat's cheese in salad bowl, top with crispy onions and pine nuts, then drizzle the dressing over the top.