Getting it right on the night

Inspiration can and should stem from customers likes, dislikes, allergies and intolerances and influence what we are cooking. It can be a great challenge.

I have just had to rise to the challenge of creating a dairy free anniversary dinner and dairy free breakfast the following morning.Oh joy, I thought where do I begin, I want to make it special for them but the menu I was creating gradually dwindled as the almondegas starter had cheese in it.
the watermelon could not be served with Feta cheese. No pastry could be part of any course.I could not even be tempted to grease the cake tin with butter.
My main course offering was to be

Roast Quails with Moroccan cous cous and carrot puree

Everything seemed fine until I realised the carrot puree had butter in it as well as olive oil. I was determined not to give up at this point, It was a perfect choice for a special occasion. Milk could not be a substitute for the butter either so I had to decide what could be used to achieve the right texture and at the same time keep the desired flavour. Incidentally I normally serve a dollop of greek yoghurt on the side to temper the curry-like spiciness of the cous cous. Not in this instance. The inspiration came from Tunisia and would be a perfect foil to the cous cous that was seasoned with a Ras Al Hanout spice blend. Here is my answer.

Tunisian carrot puree
This is equally moorish, ( excuse the pun ) served cold as a dip
some warm bread and green olives

Serves 6

750g organic carrots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon of harissa, chilli sauce or sambal oelek
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil

Peel the carrots, chop into large chunks and cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes
or until soft. Drain well and whizz in the processor with all the other ingredients.
serve immediately or allow to cool if you are using it as a dip.

Keeping in the in same global gastronomy I thought I would offer an Orange and Cardamom cake as the pudding.

Orange and Cardamom Cake

1 large navel orange
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 180F.
Boil the orange in a pan of water for 1 hour, changing the water every 20 minutes to remove the bitterness from the skin. Drain the orange and chop roughly. Blend to a puree in a food processor.
Grease and flour a 20cm spring form cake tin. Line the base with baking parchment, Beat the eegs and sugar together until pale and thick. Mix in The almonds, baking powder and cardamom. Fold in the orange puree. Pour the batter into the tin and bake 1 hour until golden.

This one is great for wheat intolerance diets as there is no flour in the ingredients and perfect on this occasion as it is dairy free - no butter. Stumped again though as no creme fraiche or cream could be served on the side, so what better for an accompanying anniversary tipple than a glass of home made Casa Rosada Orange Licore. Phewwww got there in the end and looking in our visitors book this morning we had made their anniversary "one to remember."- and they weren´t getting the recipe for the Licore, that secret lies in our garden.


  1. I'm thinking of doing a slow roasted stuffed shoulder of lamb on Sunday - stuffed with herby, spicy couscous . . . I think this, slightly warm, would be the perfect accompaniement. Thank you!


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