Festive two course meal and Happy Easter


Easter is here and like me you might be wondering what to cook this weekend, especially if you are expecting guests. I would like to share a two course menu with you:

Starter:

Red beet carpaccio with arugula nest, goat cheese crumbles and walnut dressing

Main course:

Mediterranean roast with celery potato mash and honey glazed carrots.

~

Last Easter, we had a big family gathering and made a festive spring inspired meal for the entire family (12 people!). Not that we cook for such a big group on a regular basis but with the right piece of meat which can be parked in the oven it is actually not so difficult. The one thing you have to plan for is time though: I suggest roughly 3 hours for preparation and cooking. If you are not going to host such a big group, simply reduce the amount of ingredients, with 800g of meat you will succeed in making a nice meal for 4-5 people.

Happy Easter!

Starter: Red Beet and Aragula with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Red beet carpaccio
Ingredients:
4 pickled red beets
2 packs of arugula (rucola) salad, equals roughly 250-300 g
1 pack goat cheese crumbles or 1 piece creamy goat cheese (150g)
1 cup walnuts
olive oil (2 parts), walnut oil (1 part), dark balsamic vinegar (2 parts)
salt, pepper
crostini sticks for decoration
Preparation:
1) Use a sharp, long knife to very thinly slice the red beets. Your slices should be transparent. Place a layer of slices on a large plate.
2) Wash and dry the salad, put a small handful in the middle of the plate.
3) For the dressing, combine the olive and walnut oil with balsamic vinegar and season with salt & pepper. Pour over the salad. Do not forget to add the dressing only when you are ready to start serving, otherwise the salad will be squishy.
4) Chop up the walnuts with a knife. For a little extra, heat up the goat cheese crumbles. Now sprinkle the salad with the goat cheese crumbles and walnut pieces. Decorate with crostini sticks and serve.
DSC07746
DSC07749
Mediterranean beef roast with celery mash and honey glazed carrots
Ingredients (serves 12 people):
2 kg beef or veal roast
1 glas sun-dried tomatoes in oil, use a blender to turn them into tomato paste
2 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
1 l milk
100 g butter (3.5 oz)
1 pack spinach leaves (preferably fresh)
2,5 kg (5 pounds) potatoes
1 celery head
2 kg (4 pounds) carrots
1 lemon
honey
salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
Mediterranean beef roast
1) Preheat the oven to 80 degrees Celsius.
2) Cut open the piece of meat in a spiral form as you want to fill it and roll it back together. Alternatively ask for about a 1 cm  (half inch) thick piece of meat. Put it on a flat, clean surface and season with pepper. Spread the dried tomato paste over the meat. Then put a layer of creme fraiche on top of the tomato paste and finally the spinach leaves. If you use fresh spinach leaves, blanche them in hot water for about 2-3 min until they are soft. Roll the roast and use a cooking thread to keep the roll together.
3) Preheat a large pan and add a layer of cooking oil before you add the meat roll. As soon as the pan is hot, sear the meat from all sides for about 2-3 minutes. Make sure that you sear the meat at very high temperature.
4) Place the meat in the oven, same temperature as before, for at least 1,5 to 2 hours. We additionally placed fresh rosemary bunches on the meat for more flavor. You want the meat to remain tender and not dry. It helps a lot to use a food thermometer as the meat needs to heat up to at least 60 degrees Celsius while baking.
5) Before you serve the meat, take it out of the oven, let cool off a little bit and cut it into finger thick slices. You can use the sauce that is left in the baking pan for the meat.
Celery potato mash
1) Peel the potatoes and the celery and cut both into mouth big pieces. Then boil both in salted water. With this large amount of potatoes and celery, preview at least 40 min.
2) Next drain the water, add about 500 ml of milk, the butter, salt, pepper, and a pinch nutmeg and mash the potatoes until smooth. Little chunks of potato or celery are totally fine. If you feel that the texture of your mash is not smooth enough add more milk and maybe also butter.
Honey glazed carrots
1) Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks or slice them. Then boil them in salted water for about 10 min until they are crispy soft.
2) Drain the carrots and add a few spoons of honey. Stir at low heat for a few minutes until all carrots are covered with honey and season with salt and drizzle with lemon juice.
Tip: How to arrange the plate
I recommend to use a geometric arrangement on the plate. As you see on the picture above, we put the potato mash into small glass bowls. If you grease small bowls with butter, you can turn them upside down on the plate and remove them for a nice little scoop on the plate.
If you use a squared plate instead of a round plate you can arrange the three ingredients in a horizontal row (e.g. carrots – meat – potato mash).
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