Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Hosting (salmon and cranberry orange cake recipes)

I have people round for dinner all the time... I love socialising that way. It's so personal, so comfortable and much more intimate and special than hanging out in a bar or restaurant after restaurant. Even that gets boring. I normally make nice but not overly complicated food... my Moroccan dish, perhaps some salmon, roast chicken.

But until this Christmas, I'd never really hosted a celebration meal before. On the 25th I invited Marc's parents round. His mother is a fabulous cook and always hosts us so beautifully so I wanted to give her a night off. Whilst I love cooking I have to say was hard work! I have to improve on the hostess front.

Do you have any hostess tips to share? If so please do: I'd love to hear them.

The most difficult thing for me was the timing: having so many dishes to prepare using just one oven, and keeping everything warm. I made salmon stuffed with vegetables and garlic butter, roast chicken and roast potatoes, roast vegetables, fennel in red peppers and broccoli with breadcrumbs.

I definitely think that I'm better at dessert!

I made Katie's Cranberry and Orange cake, and I have to say that she is a genius because she made that recipe up herself and it is completely and utterly sublime. Everyone loved it. And it's a lovely centrepiece cake, so definitely one to tab in your books. I also made peanut butter biscuits and gingerbread biscuits. Yummy!

Here's the recipe for the cake. NB: I omitted the orange liqueur (couldn't find any) and added half a cup of orange juice in addition to what the recipe calls for and it made for a lovely moist cake.

Cranberry Orange Cake

3 c. flour, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. oil
1 2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp orange liquor
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 c. fresh cranberries

for icing:
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-6 tsp fresh orange juice


-Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare basic bundt pan.
-In bowl of stand mixer, add sugar, butter and oil and beat until light and fluffy in texture as well as color, about 5 minutes.
-Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine 2 1/2 c flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
-Whisk to combine well and set aside.
-To sugar mixture, add orange zest.
-One at a time, add egg and beat to combine well.
-Add liquor and vanilla, beating to combine well.
-Add orange juice and buttermilk, mixing to combine well.
-Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl.
-With mixer on lowest speed, add flour mixture and mix until almost combined.
-Stop mixer and remove bowl.
-In bowl flour was in, add remaining 1/2 c. flour and cranberries.
-Toss to coat and add to batter.
-Using large spatula, fold cranberries and extra flour into batter just until combined.
-Pour batter into bundt pan.
-Tap on counter to remove air bubbles, smooth top of batter away from center of pan.
-Place into preheated oven on rack in center of oven and bake until toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean, about 1 hour.
-Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes.
-Turn cake out onto wire rack and cool completely.
-Once cake is cool, in medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract and orange juice, 1 tsp at a time until medium consistency is achieved.
-Drizzle icing over top of cake, decorate with orange rind and fresh cranberries and serve.

Salmon Recipe

1 whole salmon, boned and skinned
2 carrots
1 courgette
a few stalks of celery
1 parsnip
1 glass of white wine
(add any other vegetables you like)
1/2 (apprx) cup butter to smear
4 tablespoons butter
whole head of garlic
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
food string

1. Place salmon half down in a baking tray covered in aluminium foil, with the cut part facing up. Place strings under the piece of salmon every few inches. These will tie this half to the half that will be placed on top.
2. Crush garlic and blend with butter.
3. Smear onto open half of salmon
4. Using a mixer julienne the vegetables
5. Fry the vegetables in a small amount of butter, salt and pepper to taste, until they are soft but not brown.
6. Place vegetables on open half of salmon, ensuring they do not spill over the sides.
7. Place remaining piece of salmon cut side down on top of the vegetables
8. Tie the strings together so that the two halves of salmon and vegetables are held in place.
9. In a bowl, crush the remaining garlic, add wine, 4 tablespoons of butter, squeezed lemon, salt and pepper and pour over the salmon.
10. Cover in tin foil and bake in the oven at 180 ceklcius for about 30 minutes, but ovens vary so do check.

This was a yummy light addition to normal holiday food. It can look elegant and was enjoyed by all.


Anonymous said...

Sooo glad you liked it. I'm particularly fond of that cake. And that slamon looks just sublime! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow - that looks amazing! A whole salmon is such a treat. Try Grand Marnier or Cointreau as your orange liquors - and then make little shots of the left over alchohol and baileys and pour over icecream, or eat as is! Heaven. A bottle of either also is a useful asset come Pancake Tuesday!