Friday, April 4, 2008

Miniature dinner part 1 - watercress salad and glassy shepherd's pie

For those of you who had been following this blog, I decided to repost this under two parts.

Inspired by a cocktail event I had at the Hilton last week where they served it in tiny shot glasses, I tried out a couple of recipes in a similar way - although i used larger dessert glasses. They're perfect to impress when you're hosting a proper sit-down dinner for a small group (psst... although not that filling and a pain to wash all those glasses once your guests are done). But to hell with it, as with all things mini - they make up with their cuteness and awwwwws...

1) Shepherd's Pie
Minced lamb meat
Tomato Paste
Italian Herbs
Carrots - shredded
Onions - chopped finely
Garlic - chopped finely
Celery - chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Topping (all mashed together):
Potatoes - boiled till soft and skin peeled
Grated cheese
Evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic butter

Cook filling first. In a pan, brown onions and garlic. Add in mincemeat, carrots, celery and stir. Add tomato paste, herbs, salt and pepper and a wee bit of water. Cook till sauce is thick. Leave aside to cool. Once cooled, spoon filling into glasses 3/4 full. Fill mash potato mixture into a piping bag and pipe swirl on top. Brush a bit of butter or oil. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or till potato is golden brown on top.

2) Simple watercress salad
Watercress is a bit pricey over here in Malaysia as they're exported and not a leaf Asians use in our dishes. However, it's one of the food "vices" I picked up on my short winter hols in Europe and I love the fresh taste of the leaves. I've read that it doesn't go so well with other salad leaves and is best paired with non-greens like citrus fruits, fennel, beets, feta cheese etc.

Onions - sliced finely or chopped (Use white onions and not the purple ones as they are sweeter and less "sharp" raw)
Orange - Cubed
Watercress leaves

Olive Oil - A generous slosh
Balsamic Vinegar - half the amount of the oil
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste

It's a salad - just toss everything togetherlah!

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