Sunday 16 September 2007

That other favourite meal of the day

M and I hosted a brunch at our place yesterday for several of our friends. It was the first time that we've been entertaining properly in our new digs since it was only about 3 weeks ago that our new arm chairs arrived and completed our living room set up. It was also the first time that we've tested having 6 people around our dining room table and to our pleasant surprise, it worked quite well. It was cosy without being too crammed and in a city like London where space comes at a premium, that, in my opinion, counts as a small luxury.

As I alluded to in a previous post, brunch is one of my favourite meals of the day (that is if it truly counts as one meal, not two). When else can you get away with eating just sweets and count that as your balanced meal for the day? I'm thinking of favourites like French toast, pancakes and waffles... you get the picture. In addition, since there are so many recipes that I want to try and not enough people in this household to eat, it was also a perfect excuse to test out a few new recipes.

I spent a fair amount of time prepping for the brunch but it was well worth the effort to be able to share a nice meal with a group of great people. In fact, I hope to make the brunch a monthly event. All in all, we served:

Tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic honey dressing

Salmon rillettes with home made wheat bread

Roasted vegetable tart

Oyster mushroom and bacon bit quiche

Fig pound cake and lemon poppy seed muffins

Altogether, I managed to test out a grand total of 4 new recipes! My favourite was the salmon rillettes and M's favourite was the oyster mushroom quiche. I plan to share all the new recipes with you but to start, here's the recipe for the quiche.

Oyster Mushroom and Bacon Bit Quiche
From Sweet and Savory Tarts

400g fougasse dough
3 large eggs
200ml heavy cream
200ml whole milk
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
100g chervil, finely chopped
350g oyster mushrooms
200g bacon bits
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

One day ahead, prepare the fougasse dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs together with the cream, the milk, the chopped garlic, and the chopped chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

On the day of baking, preheat the oven to 350F.

Line the baking pan with the fougasse dough and pre-bake for 20 minutes.

Wash the mushrooms and dry them. Arrange them in the shell. In a skillet, saute the bacon bits until they turn golden brown. Add them to the cream and herb mixture.

Pour the mixture over the mushrooms and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve hot, accompanied by a dandelion salad dressed with mixed fresh herbs.

Makes one 9 1/2 inch square or one 10 inch round tart

Fougasse dough

500g cake flour
250ml olive oil
12g salt
10g yeast
10g Herbes de Provence
5g granulated sugar
50 ml tap water

Place all the ingredients in the mixing bowl of a food processor. Knead for 10 minutes.

Line a baking tray with parchment or waxed paper and roll out the dough to a thickness of just under 1 inch. Allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.

Makes enough dough for 3 tarts

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