As is Cowie. Although with Cowie I think she likes them because it gives her a chance to serve food on dangerously hot plates and draw up a seating plan. The poorer we all get, the less often we'll eat out and the more often we'll find outselves entertaining at home. But then again cooking for 14 is never cheap anyway!
Cowie took control of the beginning and end of the meal, leaving me to cover the interval.
Cowie, inspired by a certain Jamie Oliver, served up a quite brilliant starter. It ticks all the boxes for a dinner party: the wow factor comes with relatively little effort. Simply wrap some asparagus spears in parma ham and grill unitl cooked. Meanwhile, soft boil some eggs. Remove their lids and serve the eggs in their cardboard box and pretend the spears are soldiers. Celery salt in a ramekin was a good idea too. If people don't gasp I'll be shocked. It's such a winner.
Great start from Cowie. Over to me. Sweating and already slightly pissed I took over gleefully.
I'll have to wind you back 3 days to when I made the marinade for the miso cod. Simply follow the Nobu recipe on Epicurious and you can't go too far wrong...
"For Nobu-style Saikyo Miso
* 3/4 cup (150 ml) mirin
* 2 cups (450 g) white miso paste
* 1 1/4 cups (225 g) granulated sugar
Make Nobu-style Saikyo Miso:
1.Bring the saké and the mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
2. Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, mixing with a wooden spoon. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon to ensure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature."
Once the mixture is cooled simply pour it over your cod fillets and let them marinate in a non reactive dish for 2 or 3 days before grilling to perfection and garnishing with a stalk of bright red hajikami. Rest the cod on a bed of miso risotto (recipe is here). Some stir fried pak choi and oriental mushrooms is a good accompaniment.
I have to say I've had a few disasters on my road to perfecting the art of miso cod... but I'm getting closer to my goal. This time the cod flaked. The skin crisped up. And lips smacked with joy. And as for the risotto... well the fact that some of the girls had thirds speaks volumes! Victoria even asked for the saucepan and a wooden spoon so she could get every last grain of rice.
Feeling redolent with pride and probably insufferably big headed by now, I handed the batton back over to Cowie who brought us home with her brilliant lime and cardamom mousse that is fast becoming as famous as the guy who wrote the recipe (Gordon Ramsay). In case you are wondering, it was a mouse sized mousse and Jelfy is a dwarf. The spoon is a perfectly normal size!
It was a brilliant party. The more we cook and entertain the more we love hosting dinner parties. The Devil's work? I think not.