Monday, March 26, 2012

Dinner Party - Amouse Bouche

Stuffed Peppadews
Dinner Parties are great (not the 'Come Dine with me' style). You sit with friends around the table and time just flies by. Last Saturday Frederic and his lovely wife Edyta came over for dinner and that gave me the perfect excuse to get my pots and pans out and do some serious cooking. I have a very specific way of giving dinner parties - first you get an aperitif (in this case a glass of pink bubbly) and some canapes or Amouse Bouche to kick-start the evening. I like to have everyone relax and get the conversation going.

Throughout the week I will write about the dinner party and give the recipes for the dishes I served up and give tips on how to set the table.

The menu:
  • Stuffed Peppadews
  • Marinated Goats Cheese 
  • Leek Soup with Feta
  • Stuffed Loin of Lamb with Pommes Dauphinoise
  • Trio of Dessert (rhubarb soup, apple crumble tart & cinnamon ice cream)
 Today I will show you a very simple canape - can be done in a matter of minutes. You can buy peppadews almost everywhere these days. Iago in the English Market has them loose while Tesco & Aldi sell them in jars. The Olive Stall in the English Market sells them already stuffed with tuna - nothing wrong serving them. Aldi sells the peppadews also stuffed with feta cheese - so you are spoilt for choice. As I love making things from scratch, I bought the peppers and stuffed them with Labhne (Lebanese cheese) which I made as well.

Courtesy of Washington Post
Making Labhne is very easy. Take a tub of Greek Yogurt and mix in a teaspoon (or more - up to taste) of salt and stir well. Line a sieve with a muslin (I am using a white handkerchief) and pour the salted yogurt in (by the way, I am using my own herbed salt for this dish). Gather the ends of the muslin and squeeze excess water. Bind the ends and leave to hang over a bowl for up to 3 days. The salt is drawing out the water in the yogurt, leaving a cream cheese consistence. Your Labhne is ready to use. To keep Labhne, roll small amounts into walnut size balls, roll them in dried herbs and store in a jar filled with olive oil (keep the jar in the fridge - the olive oil will set but will become liquid again when taking out of the fridge).

Take a piping bag with a star nozzle, put the labhne in the bag and pipe the cheese into the prepared peppadews. Arrange nicely on platters and your canapes are ready to use.

If you don't want to make labhne, you can fill the peppers with goats cheese, tune, crabmeat etc. Your imagination is the limit.

Bon Appetit

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