No risk, no fun
My dinner motto is usually “no risk, no fun”. The reason for this motto is that I have quite a vast recipe collection, and I don’t keep that just for fun. I want to cook this stuff. All of it. But who to cook for? I certainly won’t cook a three course meal for myself just to try out the recipes. Too much work, and too boring. So I invite guests. Choose something from my collection, send out invitations and cook – no dry run. Both myself and the guinea pigs [sorry past and future guests!] always liked it.
In the past, there were quite a few things I cooked on such occasions that were perfectly alright – visually and taste-wise – but were kind of boring, something that was nice to have tried but that I knew I wouldn’t need to have again.
This time something went actually wrong – not in a disastrous way, but I was quite miffed, because I had made this starter twice before, and the main course and dessert were new but easy recipes: mixed leaf salad with goat’s cheese wrapped in bacon for starters, pork roast with sage potatoes for main course, and prosecco creme with pomegranate for dessert.
The salad recipe asked for little goat’s cheese rounds, and I have no idea why this time I chose the creamy fresh goat’s cheese instead of the one I usually use. I nicely wrapped it in bacon as required, threw it into the frying pan and watched it all melt to a gooey mass. I sort of rescued it, it was totally edible, tasted yummy, but it wasn’t how it was supposed to be – the visuals were so not up to my expectations (here we go again with the expectations, I think I detect a pattern here…).
The pork roast, although I strictly followed the recipe, turned out a little too dry (for my taste), and the dessert was originally for 4 people, but I had 6 guests so I doubled it. For one, the original amount would have been way enough, and then the doubling of ingredients caused the gelatine to create (albeit very tiny) lumps in some places. Oh well, main course and dessert pages are not going back into my recipe folder! As for the starter, here’s the recipe if you want to try it yourself. Doubling the ingredients works fine here. I found this recipe a couple of years ago in an issue of Living at home.
Mixed Leaf Salad with Goats’ Cheese Wrapped in Bacon
Preparation time: 30 minutes
250 g mixed salad leaves [I usually use Lollo Rosso, romaine and iceberg]
2 stems sage
½ bunch basil [leaves ripped, torn or shredded – your choice]
200 g raspberries
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 – 2 tsp sweet mustard
white pepper [I use black]
4 tbsp oil
4 rounds goat’s cheese (~ 60 g each)
4 – 8 thin slices bacon
Wash and shake dry the salad leaves, then tear into pieces. Wash sage, shake dry and pick leaves from stems. Clean raspberries.
Stir together vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and a little sugar (approx. ½ tsp), then stir in 3 tbsp oil.
Put a sage leaf on each piece of goats’ cheese, then wrap with a slice of bacon. [This is what the original recipe says. My variation is to cut each round of goats’ cheese into 4, put ½ – 1 sage leaf on each piece depending on the size of the sage leaves, then wrap with ½ a slice of bacon. I find 60 g of cheese in one piece too large for a salad, and by cutting it up it looks nicer, is easier to distribute among the salad and is easier to eat.]
Loosely mix the salad leaves, basil, raspberries and vinaigrette. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick frying pan, and fry the wrapped goats’ cheese for 1 – 2 minutes on each side. Mix into the salad.