David’s resolution

We had dinner with David’s sisters and cousin from out of town the other night and the topic of the new year came up. We went around the table and each one of us shared our new year’s resolution. David’s was to spend more time with his friends. He’s notoriously bad at making time to hang out with his buddies, even if it’s just going to grab a coffee. So last night, we had them over to ring in the new year. The evening was full of good conversation, laughter and some enlightenment.

Of course there was also a bit of indulgence. The menu for the night consisted of:

1. Cheese platter.

2. Hot spinach and artichoke dip. Yummy!

3. Sausage rolls which were delicious and devoured before I was able to take a photo.

4. Prosciutto, sage and Parmesan puffs.

5. Honey-lime and buffalo wings.

6. Decadent chocolate cream cheese cupcakes with buttercream frosting for dessert and lychee martini to quench our thirst.

David is well on his way to fulfilling his resolution. Mine on the other hand may not be so easy and best saved for another post.

Happy New Year!

(*Special thanks to my sister, the best sous chef ever, for helping prep for the night.)

Recipes:

Hot spinach and artichoke dip (adapted from closet cooking)

  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach (thawed, drained and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts (drained and coarsely chopped)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella (grated)
  • salt
  1. Mix everything and pour it into a baking dish.
  2. Add salt to taste and mix.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20-40 minutes.

Prosciutto, sage and Parmesan puffs (from Gordon Ramsay’s Family Fare)

makes about 35

  • 6 1/2 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  • 3/4 cup (100g) all-purpase flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • 4 oz (100g) prosciutto, minced
  • 4-5 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 1/2 oz (40g) Parmesan, finely grated
  1. Set oven to 400°F.
  2. Put the butter and scant 1 cup (220ml) water into a heavy pan.
  3. Heat slowly to melt the butter, then turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Meanwhile, sift flour and salt together.
  5. As soon as the liquid comes up to a boil, tip in all the flour and salt and take pan off heat.
  6. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together as a paste and leaves the sides of the pan.
  7. Spread on a plate and let cool.
  8. Return the paste to the pan (or place in a bowl) and beat in the eggs, a little at a time, unitl soft, shiny and smooth. The mixture should have a dropping consistency (you may not need all of the egg).
  9. Beat in prociutto, sage and cheese until evenly incorporated.
  10. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  11. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (1-1.5 cm) plain tip and pipe into small 1 1/4-1 1/2-inch (3-4 cm) circles on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches (5cm) apart to leave room for expansion.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or unitl the pastries are well risen and golden brown.
  13. Serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven.

Lychee martini (from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

makes 1

  • 1 canned lychee
  • 1 oz vodka
  • ice
  1. Add lychee to glass.
  2. Pour 2 oz syrup from can and vodka into cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake over ice.
  4. Strain into glass.

Notes and Tips:

Using light sour cream and light mayo for the dip tastes just as good.