Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cranberry and walnut brie

Hello everyone, I've managed to meet friends for lunch four work days out of five this week, all in different cafes in the city, and all have been really good lunches (as well as delightful company, of course!) On Monday I went to Bacco, a great Italian cafe on the ground floor of the Chifley Plaza, which does a roaring trade, and when you try their gorgeous salads and super fresh sandwiches, you can see why. They also get a big tick from me for their yummy hot chocolate. Order the large and it is like a soup tureen the cup is so large.

On Tuesday I went to the cafe in the Kinokuniya bookshop at Galeries Victoria. I have to say that my expectations were low and there was only a very small selection, but I had a really lovely vegetable frittata.

On Wednesday I went to Salon on the ground floor of Governor Macquarie Tower where they also do fabulous sandwiches and salads. I had two salads, one of which was the most beautiful combination of rocket, shredded carrot, grilled haloumi and lovely plump sultanas, in a tahini dressing in which you could see and crunch the sesame seeds. It was so good I went back and had the same salad the next day as a takeaway!

Finally on Friday I went to Taste on Sussex Lane, as I have had a yummy baguette there before. This time I had a baguette with roasted vegetables and bocconcini and fresh tomato and rocket. Again, it was very good. So unusual to have consistent quality all week! Of course all of this means that this coming week I will have to eat in at my desk, taking in my own home made salads and sandwiches...

This week's recipe was something I made to take to a Christmas party. It comes from the December/January issue of delicious magazine and is so yummy! Everyone loved it. And best of all, you actually get two treats out of it! I found that there was so much cranberry sauce I was able to freeze half of it and serve it as the most divine (and pretty) granita. The alcohol in it saves it from freezing to a solid block of ice, so when you want some you can just pull it out of the freezer and scoop into bowls to eat or drop some into your champagne flute!

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

Cranberry and walnut brie

(The recipe is a huge quantity as it's for a crowd, so adjust as required to your own crowd)

What you need (for a crowd):
  • 1 cup port
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups (240g) frozen cranberries (in the freezer section of the supermarket)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 300g soft goats cheese
  • 150g gorgonzola dolce
  • 1 large (3kg) wheel of ripe brie
  • 2 cups (200g) toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Watercress and toasted baguette slices, to serve

What you do:

  1. Place port, sugar and 1 cup of water in a pan over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy.
  3. Add the berries and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring, until the berries start to burst.
  4. Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a smooth paste.
  5. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, for one minute until thickened. Cool. (This sauce can be made up to four days ahead and stored in the fridge).
  6. Whiz the goats cheese and gorgonzola in the food processor until smooth.
  7. Split the brie through the centre (horizontally) into two rounds and place the bottom half on your serving platter.
  8. Spread with half the goats/gorgonzola mix, sprinkle with half the walnuts and pour over as much of the cooled cranberry sauce as you think works.
  9. Top with the remaining round of brie and repeat with the goats/gorgonzola mix, walnuts and berry sauce.
  10. Garnish with the watercress and serve with the toasted baguette slices. It really is spectacular and will be devoured.