Sunday, 6 January 2013

Full Fat Spread

Now, I promise this will be the last post with 'Fat..' ( or even Big Boned) as it's title.

Posts in 2013 will henceforth be leaner, meaner and moodier.

But as the party season has ground on relentlessly for the last month, there is just one more feast to fit in before we wobble to a halt with Twelfth Night upon us.

Since December 6th - when it all kicked off with the Work Christmas Do- I have eaten and drunk my way through parties, birthdays, Pub get-togethers, dinner dances, Christmas, soirees de raclette,
restaurant lunches and dinners, Boxing Day Dinner, New Years Eve and now at last the final buffet.

The Final Buffet

Despite the blog title, I did try to make this a reasonably healthy and frugal affair- inspired by the thirteen gorgeous nibbly desserts from my French Christmas, and supplemented by the generosity of le Papa Noel Provencal (who gave me the tapenade, the caviare d'aubergines, the almond biscuits and sweets and the lovely soft nougat which made up some of the dishes.)

There was some full fat there though- such as these vol aux vents (filled with mushroom and aubergine.)

Mushroom and aubergine vol aux vents
 4 large button mushrooms are finely chopped in the food processor with parsley and then dry-fried in a pan for a few minutes before adding two heaped tablespoons of caviare d'aubergine ( aubergine puree, seasoned with garlic). Add a capful of white vermouth or wine to the mix and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Fill cooked vol aux vents cases with 2 teaspoons each of the mixture.

(I use the same mushroom/aubergine mixture as the base for a vegetable lasagne later on.)

Also naughty but nice are these retro cheese and pineapple/Brie and grape sticks:

Home made toasts with tapenade or smoked salmon pate (made from smoked salmon trimmings blitzed with 1/2 tub low fat cream cheese), olive cakes, and home made cheese biscuits made from wholemeal pastry and grated cheddar- topped with reduced fat liver pate.
Smoked Salmon toasts

Other  buffet dishes were kinder to the waistline though- crudites (raw vegetables) with a curry dip (made from 1/2 carton low fat natural yoghurt mixed with 1 teaspoon jalfrezi paste), home made tortilla chips with tomato dip, and radishes with fleur de sel.

The centre piece of the desserts was- alas- a chocolate moelleux - a soft chocolate cake similar to a chocolate brownie (recipe in blogpost' The Other Half of the Egg'- or use the search option for it.) But I did only add 3 eggs and 100 g of butter, rather than the recommended 4 eggs and 150 g butter. I substituted skimmed milk and the end result was just as good.

Chocolate moelleux
Other desserts were simpler- dried fruits and dates, nougat, calissons (marzipan sweets), shortbread and - the surprise hit of the evening- almond croquants dipped in sweet Muscat dessert wine. These biscuits were from my Papa Noel Provencal but are actually simple to make (and a good use for leftover egg whites from the freezer.)

Almond croquants
Mix 2 egg whites with 200g icing sugar, 60 g of flour and 125g of coarsely chopped almonds. Form the mixture into sausage shapes, place on baking parchment and bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

My guests joked about what I would do with the buffet leftovers- wondering if it would all blitz up to make some exotic soup. Oh they of little faith!

First off, lunch the next day (once a good portion of leftovers had been taken round to my elderly parents. whose daily feed is part of my routine these days).

No need to mess around- this made a lovely lunch with little effort:

Leftover lunch

For evening meal- a vegetable lasagne with garlic bread (using up the French bread, peppers, mushrooms and aubergine puree)

I used a tip I'd seen on the TV ('Hairy Dieters') and replaced the top layer of lasagne pasta with a layer of steamed leeks for added flavour and a softer texture. It worked.

Vegetable lasagne

Top layer of leeks

Final topping

There is still chocolate cake (and now 4 more portions of vegetable lasagne left.)

Dessert is sorted for the rest of the week - and lunch too (once the lasagne is portioned up and frozen.)

Well. the Christmas tree has gone now, my bag is packed ready for work tomorrow and the holiday season comes finally to an end.

It's time for New Year's Resolutions. I'll share mine with you next post (but you can be sure it is food related!)

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