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A Valentines Dinner at Home.

Millefeuille of Smoked Salmon
With Cream Cheese and Chives
(for Two)

175g (6 oz.) Smoked Salmon (Thinly sliced)
60g (2 oz.) Cream Cheese
60g (2 oz.) Fromage Frais
Juice Half Lemon
Generous grating Black Pepper
Good bunch Chives finely chopped.
Some Cherry Vine Tomatoes for garnish

Beat the two cheeses together and mix in the lemon juice and pepper.
When they are light and well blended fold in the chopped chives.(Keep some for decoration.)
Cut the smoked salmon into rough pieces about half the size of a postcard.(they don’t have to be intact as they can be patched together.)You should have at least 3 pieces per person.
Lay a piece of salmon on a plate and spoon over a tablespoon of the cheese mixture.Spread with a knife and then another piece of salmon, another layer of the cheese and top with the salmon.
Sprinkle over the reserved chives.
To accompany this you can make a tomato salad with sweet ripe vine tomatoes dressed with a little olive oil and even less balsamic vinegar.
This is an American rather than an Irish take on Smoked Salmon, they were the people who recognised the affinity between smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Get it all ready in advance, in the fridge and then at the last minute just dress the tomato salad.

Chicken, Scallop and Mushroom Pie
(for two)

2 Chicken legs (or breasts)
110g (4 oz.) Mushrooms
30g (1 oz.) Butter
30g (1 oz.) Flour
125 ml. (4 oz.) Cream
4 small or 2 large Scallops
110g (4 oz.) Puff Pastry

Put the chicken pieces in a pot and cover with water.Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 25 mts. until cooked through.
Drain the chicken out of the stock and continue to boil this until reduced by a about a half.
Remove all the skin from the chicken and take it off the bone.(This is best done while the chicken is still warm- wear rubber gloves to protect your hands) and chop into rough pieces.
Melt the butter in a pot and fry the sliced mushrooms in this until soft.
Stir in the flour, and then about 175 ml (6 oz.) of the reduced stock.
Cook these together to make a sauce then add in the cream. Bring back to the boil and taste, season with salt and pepper.
Cut each of the scallops into 2 or 3 pieces.
Mix the chopped chicken with the mushroom sauce and then stir in the scallops.
Pour this mixture into a pie dish, moisten the edges and roll out the pastry and use to cover the top.
Paint with some egg wash and cook at 180C, 350F, Gas 4 for 25 to 30 mts. until nice and golden at the top.

Passion Fruit Pavlova
(for two)

60g (2oz.) Egg Whites (Whites from 2 large eggs)
Pinch Salt
Pinch Cream of Tartar
110g (4oz.) Caster Sugar
Half tsp. Cornflour
Half tsp. Vinegar
Half tsp. Vanilla Extract.
200ml(8oz.) Cream
4 Passion fruit.

Make sure that you remove all traces of yolk from the egg whites, and that the bowl and the whisk are perfectly clean.
Whisk the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until stiff.
Continue beating and add in the sugar spoonful by spoonful, until the mixture is glossy and holds a peak when you lift out the beater.
Stir the cornflour,vinegar and vanilla together to dissolve the cornflour and,still whisking add to the meringue mixture.
Line a baking with baking parchment and draw two circles roughly the size of the inside of your dessert plates, spoon the meringue into these circles and smoothen the top to make even.
Bake this at Gas 2, 150 C, 300 F, ( lower if you have a fan assisted oven) for about 45 mts. The outside will have gone pale beige and crisp while the inside is still soft. Peel off the parchment and leave to cool completely.
Whip the cream until stiff and spoon over the Pavlova.
Cut the passion fruit in two and with a teaspoon scoop out the contents, seeds and all , over the cream. The sharpness of the fruit is an ideal foil to the sweetness of the meringue.
Get this all ready , but keep separate, in advance, then, at the last moment put the cream and the fruit on the meringue.

For Wine?
A nice bottle of Alsace, 'Cuvée Les Amours' by Hugel should fit the bill.

February 10, 2009 02:30 PM | 0 Comments
  Martin Dwyer
Consultant Chef