Cookbook:Perfect Three Course Dinner
I welcomed my guests with an aperitif of their choice: a Bellini or an Aperol Spritz. With the aperitif I served mouth-watering appetizers: Greek feta cheese wrapped in cold ham or beef served with home-made white bread and extra virgin olive oil. It tastes fabulous and at the same time it is easy to prepare. The only thing you have to do yourself, besides wrapping the ham around the cheese, is to bake the home-made bread:
- 1 kg or 8 cups strong white bread flour
- 625 ml or 3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 x 7 g sachets or 1 ½ tbsp of dried yeast
- 30 g or 2 tbsp salt
- 30 g or 2 tbsp sugar
Put the flour in a heap on a clean work surface and form a hole in the middle of the heap. Pour half of the water into this hole and add the yeast, sugar and salt. Take a fork and start stirring, gradually bringing in the flour from the sides and swirling it into the liquid. Keep stirring and add the water little by little. Be careful not to pour too much water into the flour hole at a time, otherwise you might get your clothes stained. As soon as all the ingredients are mixed together, knead the dough, which becomes really sticky by then. People used to make glue from flour and water and you will certainly find out why. When you have a smooth ball of dough, put it into a bowl, let it rise in a warm place and wait until it has doubled in size. That will take about half an hour. Next you shape it to a loaf, wait until it has doubled in size again and put it into the oven at 200°C or 390°F, for about 15-20 min. Your bread is ready if it sounds hollow when you knock on it.
The first course
- Carpaccio of beef on chicory leaves and olive oil topped with Parmesan cheese and Provençal herbs decorated with grissini (breadsticks) and served with white bread
Again, a teeny tiny effort with a tremendous effect. Make sure you buy good quality carpaccio. You need about two or three slices of it per person. Put the carpaccio on the chicory leaves. You can use any other kind of lettuce if you find chicory too bitter. Grate Parmesan over it and sprinkle some olive oil on top. Now sprinkle the herbs over the top and decorate the plate with two grissini. While you are busy preparing the food, do not forget to keep the drinks coming. Red wine goes very well with the first course.
The main course
- Salmon fillet on green ribbon noodles with lemon-chives-sauce and florets of broccoli
At this point, I have to admit, it gets busy in the kitchen; but do not worry, as this is a foolproof recipe, just do what I tell you and nobody will get hurt. First of all you need to get the ingredients ready.
- 4 salmon fillets of about 125g
- 300 g or 10.5 oz green ribbon noodles
- half a broccoli
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 lemons
- 125g or 9 tbsp melted butter
- a bundle of chives
Since the most difficult part is making the sauce, I advise you to begin with it. Mix the egg yolks with the lemon juice in a glass bowl. Then boil some water in a pot and put the glass bowl over the pot. Now add the melted butter little by little and heat the mixture carefully, while constantly stirring until the sauce thickens. Next chop the chives finely. Add the chives to the sauce and season it with salt and pepper. That’s it. Cooking noodles is not that difficult. Just take the noodles out as soon as they are al dente, which means firm to the bite. It will take about 8 min. Boil the broccoli florets for about 10 min. Make sure you take them out when they are still firm to the bite and do not cook them too early because they get cold very quickly.
Believe it or not, cooking the salmon fillets is quite simple. All you have to do is put some flour on the skin of the fish, pour some olive oil into a pan and put in the fillets flour side down. Drizzle some lemon juice over the fillets and season with salt and pepper. Then fry the fillets until they are crispy. Do not be intimidated by the sizzling and spluttering of the fish, just beware of the splattering fat. It will take about 12 min until the fish is ready.
Last but not least: the dessert
- Mousse au Chocolat
Often Mousse au Chocolat is considered to be extremely difficult to prepare, which is wrong because if it were so, I would not have made it!
- 3 eggs
- 200 ml ¾ cup whipped cream
- 40 g or 3 ½ tbsp sugar
- 100 g or 3.5 oz dark chocolate
- 100 g or 3.5 oz milk chocolate
Separate the eggs and whip the egg whites. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Then let it cool down until it is lukewarm. Now whip egg yolks with 2 tbsp of hot water. Gradually add the sugar and whip the mixture until it is creamy. Then quickly add the melted chocolate and mix in the whipped cream and the egg whites. Finally, put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Done!
That is how the perfect foolproof three course menu is prepared by all the non-Martha-Stewarts out there. So, have fun and most important: enjoy your dinner!