May 20, 2011

ladies nite

every few months or so, three of my friends and i get together to share news, gossip, laughter, pain... and food. we ve known each other since our children were in kindergarten. but i hadn t seen them for a while until about two years ago, and we decided to meet up again more often.

usually we d go to a restaurant, but last night i cooked us a dinner, since one of us had had another baby, and it was just easier and more relaxed this way.

it would have been easy to opt for a pasta, but i just felt i needed a lot of veggies, prepared different ways. recently i d seen a few recipes that just clicked for me: James Martin s grilled scampi with a coriander marinade, Jamie Oliver s courgette salad with bocconcini (mini-mozarella to you & me), Gordon Ramsay s chocolate fondants (or moelleux, as they often say here).

as a starter, i went easy and just flamed a few different colored paprikas until blackened, then rubbed the skin away and was left with softly smoked strips of pepper. these i dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and some chopped chili and basil leaves.

another starter was a charentais and a honeydew melon, just cut into chunks and served with prosciutto, sprinkled with lime zest and some lime juice.

had to adjust the recipe for the scampi, one of us is not really into coriander, but hey, tastes differ and that s the fun part. so i opted for a marinade of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, grated garlic, grated onion and parsley. just combined these and tasted for extra seasoning, then marinated the little creatures with their heads still on for about 4 hours. the scampi were then griddled and brushed with some chili jam that my mother-in-law had made (which reminds me, i still have to get that recipe from her).

to go with the scampi i thought the green of Jamie s courgette salad (from his book 30-minute meals) with the little soft balls of mozarella would work perfectly.

and for dessert, i just had to try and make this, a chocolate fondant or moelleux! never made it before, and i d seen it fail so many times on different cookery programs, so i was very apprehensive. but my girlfriends, bless them, they would have gone for anything as long as it was something with chocolate ;-)

phew, they came out perfectly... and i really have to thank Gordon Ramsay for his recipe.
i just halved the ingredients and that was just right for four ramekins. all i needed to do was to add some warmed raspberries and a little whipped cream.

once in a while, it s good to get together... and share...

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