Thursday, July 19, 2007

All white on the night

And yet again I've left it to the last minute to cook and blog my canapés for the latest blog party. When Stephanie said that this month’s party could be the last I gasped, what am I ever going to do with my expanding collection of little forks and cocktail sticks? Well I guess I just need to make more party nibbles. I am fairly positive that M would happily live off a pure canapé diet as she really only likes little tastes of everything so maybe I'll have to do the same. And then Stephanie also said that the theme was of our own choosing. This seemed a good idea at first but then I just couldn’t decide. Should I go for a regional theme? Or maybe something inspired by my exhaustive and dare I say teetering crockery collection? Perhaps I could be inspired by Stephanie’s Blogging by Mail theme ‘Some of my favourite things’? In fact I started with that idea but it was all getting a little wayward. In the end I decided that as one of my favourite themes from a previous month was black & white, I would go even more minimalist and have all white.

Okay now I’ve decided on the theme I just needed to formulate the menu. My mind lurched in that gastronomic butterfly way from cauliflower risotto to potato soup, to scallops; white chocolate ice cream (which was a discovery when I did the black & white party), white truffles and quail eggs. And because I was so indecisive I ended up with too many ideas and then too little time to put it all together. But dismissing some of the more unseasonable options I ended up with a four course (nearly five courses until I realised that I was just overreaching myself again) canapé meal. I can guess what you’re saying; I just don’t know when to stop!

So for the amuse gueule of this white feast I opted for the unusual option of Pizza Bianco. And being incredibly pushed for time I chose not to make my own pizza base and bizarrely decided to adapt some supremely fluffy part-cooked garlic bread by covering it in the thinnest rounds of sliced mozzarella. I guess it was similar to a pizza bianco if you are rather partial to garlic! The resultant cheesy garlic bread was cut into one to two bite squares and of course placed on a white plate. Despite M thinking that you wouldn’t be able to see the white food on a white plate, but of course none of the food appears entirely white in the photographs.

Next it was the fish course. The scallops were an obvious choice, I never miss an opportunity to use scallops, and these were exceptionally lovely, and I forgave their ‘not with the theme’ caramelised tingeing as it tastes too good. And don’t they fine impaled by my new glass and white pearl cocktail sticks? I’d been pondering using for them and the day has come! I have inadvertently acquired quite a few sets of cocktail sticks, all due to eBay, since joining in this monthly fun. At least they don’t take up as much space as the plates do!

To accompany the scallops I thought a little nibble of fish pie on a spoon would be both white and tasty. I used some un-dyed smoked haddock (not that I wouldn’t have done even if I wasn’t going all pale and interesting tonight). I kept the sauce fairly cheese sparse and mustard free to preserve the lightness, and wasn’t too liberal with the butter in the mash potato for the same reason. A fish pie works in any quantity and bite-sized morsels works very well nestled in the white spoons.

For the meat course I pondered poached chicken but after a peculiar conversation with the multi-brothered J about the horrible things his staff used to inflict on mountains of poached chicken breasts in a previous life whilst running some sort of hostelry, I decided to rethink. Poached chicken can look so incredibly flaccid, so I opted to roast the chicken breasts instead and then tear it into chunks to stab with the pearly cocktail sticks again. And as someone in this family should eat vegetables, I sliced some white of leeks and sautéed with some double creamy, well would one of my meals be really complete without creamy leeks?

Dessert was alternating white china egg spoons either loaded with cold creamy vanilla risotto and even colder Waitrose white chocolate ice cream. Both very nice indeed!

I had my usual quandaries regarding the obligatory drink to serve alongside the burgeoning plates of tasty morsels so I just plumped for a martini glass of milk, well a girl got to use a little style! I even thought I'd try some, I used to happy guzzle a glass for breakfast before school each day and I'd also much less happily drink the mandatory little warm bottle at school later the same day. My main problem is that I can't bear milk if it tastes creamy and this was full fat milk for my fish pie béchamel and the mash and it was horrible, well to my taste anyway. I shouldn't have been surprised. I haven't drunk milk for maybe twenty years and I don't even like creamy cocktails. I liked the crystal cocktail glass though.

Even today I came across an interesting recipe in Lyndsey Bareham's new Dinners in a Dash book for white gazpacho soup, with garlic, lashings of white bread, white grapes and white wine vinegar. I ambitiously bought the bread on the way home but unfortunately ended up being overwhelmed with work deadlines, blog party deadlines and too much Patrick Dempsey. Can you have too much Patrick Dempsey? And the bread is supposed to be a day old anyway. So the white gazpacho will have to live for another day.

I think I've probably gathered enough gorgeous little white things for one pale party anyway. Cheers!

And to check out what everyone else brought to the party...

1 comment:

Brilynn said...

Those are all so pretty! And tasty...