Easy dinner for 8

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Easy dinner for 8

It’s all about hearty rustic (read: simple!) dishes that look gorgeous and can feed a small army

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Published: Fri 20 Sep 2013, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:33 PM

Chocolate Tart

(Makes a 24cm tart)

Ingredients

FOR THE HAZELNUT SHORTCRUST PASTRY

200gm flour

Pinch of sea salt flakes

100gm hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

125gm cold butter, cut into cubes

2 tbsp iced water

FOR THE FILLING

2 cups cream

140gm castor sugar

200gm 70% dark chocolate, cut into chunks

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla essence

Figs for garnishing

Method

1. For the pastry: Place flour, salt and hazelnuts in a blender and blitz to combine. Add butter and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough iced water while blitzing to allow pastry to come together in a ball. Remove, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge, roll out and press into tart tin. Allow to rest in fridge for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and cover with baking beans. Place on an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking paper and beans and bake for 12 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC.

3. For the filling: Place the cream and castor sugar in a pot over low heat; stir to dissolve all the sugar. Increase heat and bring the cream to almost a simmer — just below boiling point. Remove from heat, add the chopped chocolate, allow to melt. Whisk to combine.

4. Whisk egg yolks and vanilla in a bowl, slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking 
constantly. Allow to stand for 20 minutes, until the bubbles have subsided.

5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked tart shells, return to the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate until set.

6. Dust with cocoa powder; serve with ripe figs.

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Roasted red pepper and prawn soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

6 shallots, sliced

2 cups tomato cocktail juice

6 red & orange peppers, skins removed, chopped

1.5L chicken stock

2 tsp light vinegar

Pinch of saffron in a little boiling water

20 prawns, deveined, tails intact

½ cup cream, optional

Sea salt and black pepper

Croutons and olive oil for garnishing

Method

1. Heat a large pot; add the butter and olive oil and allow butter to melt.

Toss in the shallots and cook until golden. Add the tomato juice, peppers and chicken stock and simmer for 10minutes. Stir through the vinegar and saffron. 
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place half the mixture in a blen-der and blitz until smooth. Return the blitzed mixture to the soup in the pot and bring to a simmer.

2. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, then stir through the cream, if using. Season well.

3. To serve: Divide soup and prawns between eight serving bowls, garnish with croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cannellini bean & garlic dip

Ingredients

2 heads of garlic

Olive oil for drizzling

3 x 400gm tins cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

¼ cup Parmesan, grated

10gm fresh thyme

¼ cup olive oil

50gm walnuts, toasted, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

Truffle oil or extra virgin

olive oil

Fresh thyme to garnish

Toasted ciabatta slices

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Cut off the tops of the garlic bulbs, drizzle the bulbs with olive oil, season and wrap individually in foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap, allow to cool. When cool, squeeze garlic paste out of bulbs and into a small bowl.

2. Blitz beans until fairly smooth. Add to a large bowl along with Parmesan, thyme, olive oil, walnuts and garlic paste. Season well, stir to combine.

3. To serve: Divide into bowls, drizzle with truffle or olive oil and serve with toasted croutes.

Beef Braciole

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 anchovies, mashed

400gm baby spinach

6 slices topside beef (about 1 kg), thinly sliced & pounded

6 slices prosciutto

150gm Gruyère, grated

Extra olive oil

FOR THE SAUCE

1 cup unsweetened white grape juice

1 cup beef stock

500gm pasata

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Sea salt and black pepper

Fresh bay leaves to garnish

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and sauté until soft. Toss in the garlic and sauté until golden; add the anchovies and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts.

2. Lay 3 beef slices on a surface slightly overlapping each other; top with 3 slices of prosciutto, and sprinkle over half the grated cheese and half the spinach mixture. Repeat with the remaining 3 beef slices. Tightly roll up slices as you would a Swiss roll, and wrap snugly in clingfilm. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then remove clingfilm and secure the roll with string.

3. Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Heat a large ovenproof pot, add the olive oil and brown the meat on all sides.

4. For the sauce: Mix together grape juice, beef stock and pasata and pour over meat. Add the rosemary and season well. Cover the pot and roast for 1 hour, remove cover and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Remove beef from pot and allow to rest for 
10 minutes.

5. To serve: Remove string, slice into medallions. Serve with pan juices, and garnished with bay leaves.

Salsa Verde Baked Fish

Ingredients

8 x 200gm hake portions

For the topping

20gm parsley, chopped

20gm dill, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 anchovies, mashed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp capers, finely chopped

Juice of ½ a lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Method

1. Place the hake portions on a lined baking tray and season.

2. Place all salsa ingredients except oil in a bowl; stir well. Slowly whisk in oil.

3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Spread a generous dollop of salsa verde onto each portion; bake for 10–12 minutes.

4. To serve: Serve warm with polenta.

Soft Polenta

Ingredients

2 cups water

2 cups milk

2 cups instant polenta

½ cup Parmesan

½ cup cream

Sea salt and black pepper

Extra butter and Parmesan to serve

Method

1. Place the water and milk in a large pot over medium heat. Add the polenta and stir constantly until mixture has thickened. Cover, cook for 10–15 minutes over a low heat, stir through Parmesan and cream and season well.

2. Serve polenta warm with a dab of butter and Parmesan for sprinkling over.

Roast Baby Vegetables

Ingredients

200gm mini asparagus

400gm mixed baby carrots

300gm baby leeks, halved

350gm baby beetroot, halved

300gm Brussels sprouts

Olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Place all the baby vegetables on a large oven tray; drizzle with olive oil and season.

3. Roast for 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Roast Baby Vegetables

Ingredients

200gm mini asparagus

400gm mixed baby carrots

300gm baby leeks, halved

350gm baby beetroot, halved

300gm Brussels sprouts

Olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Place all the baby vegetables on a large oven tray; drizzle with olive oil and season.

3. Roast for 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

RECIPES: JUSTINE KIGGEN/ PHOTOS: DAWIE VERWEY



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