Last Friday I hosted my first Dining at the Foot of the Hills event. It was a great opportunity to see how the dishes worked and understand what needed tweaking. Speaking to my guests afterwards, it looked like I made only one mistake: there was too much food! I really took this on board and from now on I will pressure myself to cook smaller portions. Fear of leaving people wanting for more always plays with my head when I buy and cook for a dinner. With this event I fell in the very same trap and five days later I just finished working my way through the leftovers. Less is more, even when buying. This will be my new motto.
Promoting my nights will be this exciting new platform, Eatabout. Their slogan is ‘Eat beyond the restaurant’: meet the cook, dine at their house, have a more intimate experience than just choosing the same dish from a menu. They are a new company striving to promote themselves (hang around Chancery Lane at lunchtime if you want to get a juicy steak for just a fiver) and they managed to assemble an exciting mix of cooks: Persian to Japanese, via French, Swedish and even two different vegan feasts.
One of the dishes on the night I was most happy with was the celeriac and apple flan. Definitely a non traditionally Italian combination, I wanted to try it with a light Fontina and Parmesan fondue. It is so easy and it worked so well I am determined to make it a staple in my winter menu.
Here is the recipe
Makes 8 flans
1 knob of butter
700g celeriac, peeled and cut in small chunks
a pinch of salt
2 apples, peeled and cut in wedges
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 small to medium eggs
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
a handful of chives
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan or wok and fry the celeriac on low heat, covered, until soft. Stir in a pinch of salt to draw out the natural moisture in the root, then add the apple and garlic, cover and cook until the apple is soft and melting.
Transfer the mixture in a food processor and add the eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, chives, salt and pepper. Blitz the mixture together until well blended.
Divide into your 8 previously buttered ramekins, and place them in a oven tray with about 2 cm water. Cook for about 50 minutes in the oven.
For the cheese fondue
1/4 pint whole milk
4 tbsp Parmesan
200g Fontina cheese
Heat the milk in a pan in a water bath. You can easily achieve this by placing the milk in a small saucepan and the saucepan inside a larger pan filled with water. This method of cooking will ensure heating is distributed to the side of the saucepan and not just the bottom.
When the milk is close to boiling point, lower the heat and stir in the parmesan and fontina cheese. Carry on stirring continuously until all the cheese has dissolved. In case is a bit lumpy, blitz with a hand held blender.
Serve by spooning over the flan and enjoy!
Health score: 7 … if you don’t overdo the cheese 🙂