Free to Choose

To continue this month’s theme, Free to choose, a three course menu of your own choosing.

We live in a part of the world where we can go to the supermarket or local shop and buy what we want to eat or even have a take away meal. In some parts of the world they don’t have this luxury.
Why not prepare this meal and  share it with some less fortunate.

Asparagus with Boiled Eggs

400g white asparagus (green will do)
5 large hard boiled eggs
50 ml olive oil
10 ml wine vinegar
15 g seed mustard
Seasoning ad lib
4 slices of tomato and cucumber
Some fresh parsley

1. Discard the wooden part of the asparagus approx 5cm, making sure they are all the same length
2. Bundle them and loosely tighten with string
3. Using a deep pot, plunge in boiling salted water, standing with the uppermost tip out of the water
4. When the tip of the asparagus feels soft, plunge the bundle in cold water until cold
5. Peel and crush 4 boiled egg s with a fork in a flat bowl, and gradually add the oil, vinegar, mustard, chopped parsley and seasoning thus making a loose paste
6. Place the asparagus either in a large serving, flat dish or in individual plates, cover the top half with the egg paste
7. Slice the peeled 5th egg and decorate with the sliced tomato and cucumber plus a sprig of parsley

Best served with crusty bread rolls or white toast

Guinea Fowl Breast with cumin

4 guinea fowl breasts
20 g finely chopped shallots
20 g finely chopped celery
20 g cumin seeds
15 g tomato purée
70 g butter
30 ml olive oil
100 ml dry white wine
100 ml strong stock
50 g seasoned plain flour
500 g of new potatoes

1. Boil the new potatoes and keep them warm. In the meantime:
2. Lightly dust the guinea fowl breasts with the seasoned flour
3. Fry them in the hot oil and half of the butter without colouring them
4. Set them aside to rest for 5 minutes saving the frying fat, where the potatoes will be quickly fried for 1 or 2 minutes.
5. Roll the breasts well in the cumin seeds and place them on an ovenproof dish, put in a hot oven (180ºC, gas mark 4) for 10 minutes with the potatoes around them
6. In the meantime place the remainder of butter in the frying pan and when melted, add the tomato purée, the remainder of the flour, the cumin seeds stirring well
7. Moisten first with the wine, reduce it and then add the stock
8. Quickly boil to make a sauce of pourable consistency
9. Retrieve the guinea fowl breasts from the oven, place them on a warm serving dish and pour the sauce over it
10. Decorate with bouquets of watercress at each end and serve with the new potatoes arranged all around the meat.

“Once when I prepared this dish, I made a crisscross of small asparagus over the meat and served with a mixed leaf salad “dressed” with yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt, but
how you choose to present the dish at the table, is a personal choice.”

Gooseberry Crumble

500 g washed, top and tailed Gooseberries
½ litre water
50 g white sugar
70 ml of sweet sherry
250 g self raising flour
130 g of soft butter
100 g soft brown sugar
1 pinch of salt

1. Using a suitable mixing bowl place in it the flour, brown sugar and butter saving a little for another use. Mix together to a fine crumble
2. Using a 2lt saucepan, place the gooseberries in cold water and sugar and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes
3. Drain the fruit and place it on a well buttered oven proof dish, sprinkle with the sherry
4. Cover the fruit with the crumble mix and place it in hot oven (160ºC, gas mark 3) for 20 minutes
5. Remove the dish, keep it warm until required
6. Serve it with pouring cream or custard as desired

“Buon Appetito” –  Giovanni Fontebasso

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