Perfect Summer Dinner


I would like to think I should appreciate the glorious summer days in Perth. But it’s hard when it has been almost 40 degrees a few days in a row. All I want to do is having air-conditioning on, sipping on cold drinks and watching some movies at home since I’m not a beach person. When it comes to cooking, I do not want to stand in front of hot oven or stove on hot days like this >.< I had my in=laws over for dinner last night and had to come up with something easy to put together, supper healthy, impressive and packed with flavour. I’ve cooked for them a number of times, which means a menu planning is getting harder since I need to introduce new ingredients and new flavours  to them. To me, it is the exciting part of dinner parties coming up with good dishes that guests would enjoy and have good memories on.

Anyways it took me about 1 1/2 hours to prepare trio bruschettas, pumpkin and quinoa salad, balsamic braised red cabbage and orange salad, Spanish chicken and Rice pudding for dessert.

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Balsamic onion jam, roast beef and blue cheese on home-made rosemary bread.
I sealed 300g of lean beef cut in hot pan for about 5 minutes, then transferred to 180 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven and rest the meat for 20-30 minutes. Meat should be pink in the middle and so tender melting away in your mouth. I used onion jam that I made last week underneath and topped with slices of blue cheese. You can add horseradish cream instead which is also a great combination with roast beef, of course.

Roasted red grapes, brie cheese, walnuts and honey on bread
Sweet grapes and creamy brie cheese goes well here. Drizzle of honey really tops it off. Simply assemble roasted grapes and thyme, slices of brie cheese, toasted walnuts and honey. Easy peasy:)

Grilled mushrooms and brie cheese on bread
Earthy flavour of mushrooms and brie also creates a great combination. I drizzled truffle oil on top as well, which is quite subtle but enhances flavour even more.

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Moving on to salads..

Balsamic braised red cabbage and orange salad
Braise shredded red cabbage in a splash of balsamic until it gets tender (cook less if you want more crunchy salad). Garnish with orange, basil, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds. More balsamic reduction on top if you wish!

Roasted pumpkin and quinoa salad
Mix roasted pumpkin, cooked quinoa, green salads and goji berries. Season and dress with e.v.o.o.

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Hero of the table is Spanish chicken.
Cook one chopped onion and 800g chicken breast in the casserole dish until they are brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, potato, green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, preserved lemon, tomato passata and smoked paprika. Braise for about 30 minutes in low to medium heat. Garnish with chopped green spring onions.

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Dessert was vanilla rice pudding with mango and toasted coconut.
Cook arborio rice in milk, sugar, vanilla extract for 20-30 minutes until rice is well done. Top with slices of mango and toasted coconut to serve.

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I hope they all enjoyed it x

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