We had a slightly smaller gathering on this occasion (8 diners) for “A Taste of the Sea”, making it easy for everyone to get to know each other. My lovely guests made for a convivial dinner party, each very knowledgeable about food and all very encouraging and appreciative of the dishes with which they were presented.
Apart from the ‘welcome drink’ (a tall glass of Pimms) the menu was kicked off with a Basque Style Crab Gratin (known as Shangurro) taken from one of Rick Stein’s earlier books – ‘Fruits of the Sea’ (1997).
The main course – Squid Ink Risotto with Marinated Langoustines – was a creation of my own, albeit the topping was in reality a mixture of tiger prawns and squid rings as I was unable to get hold of langoustines. To cook risotto for 8 was something of a challenge, and so I decided to part cook the risotto (about halfway) cool it as quickly as I could on a large open tray and then finished it off (after the first course had been cleared away) in a mixture of squid ink and hot fish stock, whilst sautéing off the marinated prawn topping – taking around 10 – 12 minutes.
The meal was completed by a pudding of Vodka & Buttermilk Panna Cotta and Summer berries that had been macerated in a little sugar and some Creme de Cassis.