Dinner Party

I had a small dinner party on Saturday night. It successfully broke in my newly refinished table. I served a Lemon, Leek and Mushroom Risotto with Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pastries and Baked Apples for dessert. Wines served were Trimbach Alsacian Gewurtztrameiner, Caymus Conundrum and Woodbridge Pinot Grigio. I really liked the risotto, I’m going to have to make it with fish in the future. The recipes came from this book, which turned out to be an awesome surprise Christmas gift from my mom. Recipes past the jump.

Lemon, Leek and Mushroom Risotto


8 ounces trimmed leeks
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
scant 1 ¾ cups Arborio rice
5 cups hot vegetable stock
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mixed chopped fresh chives and flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley to serve

Serves: 4

1. Wash the leeks well. Slice in half lengthwise and roughly chop. Wipe the mushrooms with paper towels and roughly chop.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic for 1 minute taking care not to burn it. Add the leeks, mushrooms and plenty of seasoning and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until softened and browned. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until golden and soft.

4. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladleful of stock to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5. Gently stir in more liquid as each ladleful is absorbed, this should take 20-25 minutes in all. The risotto will turn thick and creamy, and the rice should be tender but not sticky or gluey.

6. Just before serving, stir in the leeks, mushrooms, remaining butter, grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the juice, half the Parmesan and the herbs. Adjust the seasoning and serve, sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan and the herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.

Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pastries


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried plus a few fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-pound packet ready-rolled puff pastry
½ cup goat cheese, cubed
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
mixed green salad leaves to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the onions and fry over gently heat for 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent them browning. Add the thyme, seasoning and balsamic vinegar, and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the from the heat and leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Unroll the pastry and using a 6-inch plate as a guide, cut four rounds. Place the pastry rounds on a dampened baking sheet and, using the point of a knife, score a border, ¾ inch inside the edge of each round.

3. At this point I usually spread the bottom of the rounds with pesto, before adding the rest of the filling. Apparently you can use tapenade as well.

4. Divide the onions among the pastry rounds and top with the goat cheese. Brush the edge of each round with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Garnish with thyme, if using, before serving with salad leaves.

Baked Apples

Core 4 cooking apples and stuff with a mixture of dark brown sugar, dried fruits, and nuts. Score the skin around the apple to keep them from bursting. Put them in a baking dish with a little water.

Top with a pat of butter, and bake for around 40 minutes or until soft. Serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with a small amount of honey.

6 thoughts on “Dinner Party

  1. Sounds VERY yummy 🙂 I will have to try out that risotto recipe.

    Another way to make the apples is in a slow cooker/crock pot. I used to do this every so often. basically the same recipe, except in the slow cooker for a few hours.

    Speaking of food, did you notice @ the WSM how corn must be now in season? I got 12 ears for $2.00 (the guy tried to sell me a bag that was almost as wide as my armspan for $5.00, but I just don’t know what I’d do with that much corn. It was great though. I love ohio corn. I served mine up topped with sour cream and chili powder. mmm…

  2. Nah I wasn’t paying any attention to the corn. I’ve had so much corn on the cob this summer I’m about wore out. That sounds tasty though.

  3. Ah, but corn on the cob up to now has been out of season stuff, now is when it’s the best. Well worth stuffing your face with 😉

  4. um, are you the same guy that risks total gastrointestinal collapse by grazing at your workplace vending machine?

    and that which should be knee high by july should be in high season now…which means it should taste especially good. watch for roadside stands – that is where you will often get the best corn.

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