Anyways, my good friend and I made many a meal together in that kitchen. Some turned out great...others not so hot. My favourite would have to be the time we tried making spanish rice. Her new boyfriend was coming over for dinner for the first time, so we decided to go all out. We followed the recipe verbatim: put the rice, chicken broth, raw bacon, minced onion and all sorts of bits and pieces into a pyrex casserole dish. The recipe told us to put it on the stove, bring it to a boil, and then put it into the oven. So, we did as they asked. As we pop it on the oven and start up the gas burners (that's right...it's a gas stove), my friend says "won't glass break in hot heat?" My response? "Pyrex doesn't break. It's built not to break." My friend is still concerned, so our third roommate chimes in saying at most it would bend, it definitely wouldn't break. The sentence is barely out of her mouth as we hear what sounds like a gun shot...our casserole dish had shattered and all of the liquidy contents had fallen down into the abyss of our stove top! I started laughing so hard I was crying, my friend was mortified so much that she was actually crying...it was priceless!
Fast forward to my birthday last year and this good friend gave me Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook, with a very kind note saying that she loved our time cooking together and then she had tagged some recipes she thought would be nice to try together. Which brings us to our night with Jamie!
To Start - Ultimate Mushroom Bruschetta
For those of you with Jamie at Home, you'll find this keeper on page 291. For those of you who don't, I've included my version below:
- olive oil
- 300g mushrooms (wiped clean and sliced)
- 2 cloves of garlic - 1 minced and 1 halved lengthwise
- A small handful of thyme, leaves picked off
- A small handful of parsley leaves
- 1/2 of a dried chili, crumbled
- a pat of butter
- 1 lemon
- 4 slices of sourdough bread
Such yummy goodness! I wish I could have some more right now.
Main - Smoked beets with grilled steak and a cottage cheese dressing
This combination was amazing! However, I'd also split them up and mix them in with other meals as well. I wasn't so sure about the cottage cheese dressing but it was unbelievable! I loved it so much that I ended up slathering everything in it, just to get more of it. For those of you with Jamie at Home, you'll find this recipe on page 109. I've also included my version below for your viewing pleasure.
- 8 small beets, tops trimmed and peeled
- small handful of rosemary, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- small handful of Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- small handful of basil leaves, chopped
- 2 steaks, size of your liking
- 4 heaping tablespoons of cottage cheese
- 1 lemon, halved
- a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
Cut the beets up, sprinkle with the rosemary and a couple drizzles of olive oil. Place them into tinfoil BBQ boats and pop on the BBQ. Note, they'll probably take 30-40 minutes to cook, so start these puppies early!
Next, make the dressing. Put the cottage cheese, lemon juice, finely grated lemon rind, couple glugs of olive oil, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a bowl and gently combine. Taste test to see if your taste buds are satisfied and, if not, add a little more of whatever they want!
Now, Jamie suggested rubbing a bit of this dressing onto our steaks. We did as requested and it wasn't bad, but I found that the steaks stuck to the grill and it didn't add much flavour. Next time I'd probably season them normally with a bit of salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash, and save the dressing for eating time.
Once the beets are cooked, put them into a bowl and add the red wine vinegar, a small glub of olive oil, salt, pepper and half the parsley and tarragon. Mix gently to combine, taste test and adjust the ingredients as desired.
To serve, place the beets on a plate, place the steak on top, add a solid dollop of the cottage cheese dressing on top of that and then sprinkle with the remaining herbs. (Serves 2)
For Dessert: professionally-made chocolates from Cocoa Nymph, and my own Cocoa Nymph creations
I know, I couldn't tell the difference either. Nice and simple end to a scrumptious meal.
But serious props go to our friend that kept our taste buds happy while we were creating. Johnny Q was very tasty and went very nicely with all of our creations.