I've just started a new job which is exciting but also rather tiring, particularly as we've had guests staying every weekend recently. I feel like I'm permanent sheet-washing duty! Anyway, I haven't had much time to blog but we are excited to have finally got our Aga working. We haven't quite got the hang of the re-fuelling as yet - my husband seems able to keep it going but as soon as he goes away with work it mysteriously goes out. I do my bit - riddling and emptying the ash pan, filling it up with anthracite and hoping for the best. But it seems not to like me much...!
It was so simple that I hardly feel it requires a recipe. I used a 'cheaty' ingredient which was a jar of dill and mustard sauce I had in the fridge - the sort that you serve with gravadlax. I'm addicted to it and love it with all smoked fish too. You can make your own very easily too - there are plenty of recipes on the web, such as this one. To make your starter look attractive, use a big biscuit/cookie cutter or a timbale mould.
I use the word timbale in the loosest sense possible. I think it really refers to things that are baked in a circular mould. I find a regular round biscuit cutter can make all sorts of things look dinner party-ish. Rice, mashed potato, ratatouille, mousses all look strangely accomplished when served in a neat little shape like this!
This starter is the base for many. You could use leftover salmon, for example. Or try cooked chicken bound together with a little mayonnaise, curry powder and mango chutney. Smoked mackerel with creme fraiche and horseradish perhaps? The world is your oyster!
Here is the basic recipe...
Timbale of trout and dill
half and avocado
1. Halve cucumber across the middle and scrape out the watery seeds. Chop into smallish cubes.
2. Peel avocado and dice.
3. Combine trout, sauce, cucumber and avocado in a bowl with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you think it needs a little more acidity (depends on the sauce). You may need a little more or less sauce in order to bind the ingredients together.
4. Push the mixture into a circular mould or biscuit cutter on a serving plate and refrigerate for half an hour if you have time.
5. When ready to serve, remove the mould carefully. You should be left with a nicely shaped mixture. Arrange some salad leaves on the plate, if desired. Garnish with dill or chives.