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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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Have a posh night in: Dishes to make when you want to feel fancy (but you've got less than an hour)

From a decadent chocolate mousse, to a simple but delicious main course.

Image: GastroGays

START WITH DESSERT.

If you’re poor in time but rich in heart and want to impress your loved one (or someone who you hope will become your partner in crime within time) we suggest making a seriously simple chocolate mousse for afters. Everyone loves chocolate, right? But because it requires a tiny bit of effort and some chilling, we suggest prepping it before you start the main course.

Then, we’ve got a dish that’s always a ‘wow’ but is unbelievably easy. Pork saltimbocca looks great, tastes even better and offers the satisfaction of being cooked in essentially one pan in a couple of minutes. As Ina Garten would say: “How easy is that?”

Your Jeffrey, whoever they may be, is gonna love this!

Source: GastroGays

Chocolate, Coconut and Raspberry Mousse

Serves 2 indulgently, but stretches to four

This is a cinch to make, with a little effort, and what’s more it’s actually accidentally (almost) vegan too! You can swap out the honey for another sweetener to make this vegan, but this mousse is not tricky whatsoever.

It’s very simply chocolate and coconut water, heated together and then cooled in a process (attributed to French gastronomist Hervé This) that creates a light yet rich mousse. Isn’t science delicious?

Many premium chocolate ranges also have different flavoured versions – including raspberry, orange etc. – so for extra flavour, you could use those. However, if you’re after the pure, rich flavour of dark chocolate (we particularly like 70%), then keep it plain and simple with just a little added sweetness and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt. To cut right through the rich chocolate, we’ve put some gorgeous fresh raspberry coulis at the bottom, and raspberries and mint on top. Enjoy!

For the mousse

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 175ml coconut water from a tin of coconut milk (just the water, not the cream)
  • 2 pinches of flaked sea salt
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the raspberry coulis

  • A punnet of fresh raspberries, reserving one or two for garnish
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Method

  1. Chill the coconut milk in the fridge before us – this will separate the thick cream from the water. Open, scoop out and reserve the cream (wonderful addition to morning smoothies!) and only use the water. If you need to top up with filtered water to get 175ml that’s fine. Set to one side.
  2. Make your coulis by mashing the sugar with the fresh raspberries and allowing to sit and macerate in their own juices for a few minutes. Then add the lemon juice, stir together and strain through a sieve if you don’t want any seeds. Add to the bottom of your glasses or ramekins that you’ll serve in and put in the freezer while you make the rest of the dish.
  3. Break up the chocolate and add to a pot with the honey and a little bit of the coconut water. Then over a medium-low heat allow the chocolate mix to slowly melt. Add the rest of the water when the mixture is halfway to melted. Finish by stirring in the flaked salt and taking off the heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add a handful or two of ice and a little cold water, then sit a smaller mixing bowl in the larger one. Scrape the chocolate and coconut mix into the smaller bowl and with a balloon whisk, whisk vigorously over the water and ice (don’t let any water get in or it may seize). This process can take up to five minutes, but it will go from watery and pourable to thick and aerated. Once the chocolate mixture begins to get thick and you can make a figure ‘8’ with the mix and it doesn’t dissolve into itself, you’re ready.
  5. Take the coulis in your serving receptacle out of the freezer and, working quickly, halve your mixture between the two (or four) portions. Smooth out on top and keep in the fridge to set.
  6. Take out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to serve and top with fresh raspberries and mint.

Source: GastroGays

Pork Saltimbocca

Serves 2-4

Salty prosciutto; soft, sweet, lean pork; intensely savoury, earthy sage – this is an impressive dish for the combination of flavours alone. Hailing from the romantic city of Rome itself, this recipe is our idea of a delicious, simple but exciting dish to serve to the apple of your eye on Valentine’s Day.

Traditionally made with veal, pork loin is far easier to come by – but if you don’t like either, try this with butterflied chicken breast or thigh.

  • 450g pork tenderloin, sinew removed and sliced diagonally to make between four and eight pieces
  • 6/8 slices of Prosciutto di Parma
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp flour (a gluten-free flour will make this recipe GF)
  • Green beans, tops removed (halved, if you like)
  • Cavolo nero, washed, stems removed
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced
  • 75g butter

Method

  1. Prepare the pork tenderloin into 1” slices and then bash with a rolling pin to half their thickness.
  2. Arrange a large sage leaf or two on the top of each pork slice (3-4 if using smaller leaves) and then wrap tightly in the prosciutto (it helps if it’s been out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes beforehand).
  3. Dredge each pork piece in flour on both sides and shake off the excess.
  4. Pan-fry the pork for 2 minutes a side in bubbling butter on a medium-high heat, until the prosciutto is crispy and the pork cooked through (firm to the touch).
  5. Meanwhile, blanch the green beans for a minute in boiling water and then shock in ice water to keep their colour. Pan-fry the garlic for a minute until just coloured and soft, then add in the cavolo nero for two minutes or so until it wilts. Introduce the green beans to warm through.
  6. Serve together with beurre noisette (simply a large chunk of butter melted until it gets a darker, golden brown colour and a toasted, nutty fragrance).

Spice up your kitchen: Easy make-ahead dinners to keep you warm all week>

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