Select from these dishes to create an intimate meal for two or a special dinner for a small group of dear friends
Seared Salmon with Scallops and Minted Pea Paste
If you're looking for easy and impressive, this provides the perfect solution.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juice and finely grated zest
1 small clove garlic, finely crushed
2 x 150g portions fresh salmon fillet
(boneless, skin on)
Mint sprigs or pea shoots for garnish
1 cup frozen minted peas
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh mint leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon basil pesto
Heat a medium, non-stick frypan. Add oil, butter, lemon zest and garlic and cook gently for 1 minute to flavour oil.
Add salmon, flesh side down, and cook 2 minutes until seared and golden. Turn over, add scallops and sear these on both sides until just coloured and plump. Squeeze lemon juice over and season with salt. Set aside to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Pea paste: Simmer peas in 1/2 cup boiling water for 2 minutes until bright green. Drain and mash with a fork. Mix in oil, mint, pesto and pepper to taste.
Serve salmon and scallops alongside pea paste, garnished with mint or pea shoots.Serves 2
300g thickened cream
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
4 medium nectarines (or other stone fruit), firm but ripe
1/2 cup sweet dessert wine
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip orange peel
1/4 cup honey
Flaked coconut for garnish
Beat thickened cream and condensed milk for about 5 minutes on medium speed until thick. Fold in vanilla and coconut. Spoon into a container, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Makes about 1 litre.
Nectarines: Heat oven to 180 degC fanbake. Place fruit in a small roasting dish and pour over wine and water. Add cinnamon stick, orange peel and honey. The liquid should be a third to halfway up the sides of the fruit.
Roast 15 minutes then baste fruit or turn over and cook 10-15 more minutes until they are tender when pierced and the skins are nicely coloured.
Serve fruit with ice cream, garnished with coconut flakes and a little pink roasting syrup poured around the side.Serves 4
Dark Chocolate Fudge Puddings with Chocolate Cream and Praline
Take care not to over-cook these fudgy puddings, otherwise they will be dry.
200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/2 cup muscovado or brown sugar
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/4 cup cream
200g dark chocolate
1-2 teaspoons Frangelico or similar liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon flaked almonds or chopped pistachios
Heat oven to 170 degC. Lightly grease mini cake tins or a six-hole Texas muffin tray.
Combine chocolate, butter and coffee powder and heat gently in a microwave, or heat over a double boiler while stirring, until melted and smooth. Set aside 15 minutes to cool.
Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour cooled chocolate mixture into egg mixture and mix gently. Fold in flour.
Pour into prepared tins and bake
15-20 minutes until puffed and cooked at the edges but still slightly soft in the centre. Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes before unmoulding.
Chocolate cream: Gently heat cream, chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Add liqueur, if using. Cool then refrigerate until thick and spreadable.
Praline: Place sugar and water in a small pot over very low heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook until deep golden. Swirl in nuts then pour onto a foil-lined tray. When cold, crush or smash into fine crystals.
Serve puddings warm or at room temperature with a dollop of chocolate cream and a sprinkle of praline crystals. Heat about 1/4 cup chocolate cream until liquid and drizzle over the puddings just before serving.