Thursday, 30 May 2013

My Aero 'Perfect Pairing' Three Course Menu

I love cooking but find it difficult to make time for anything different or time consuming, so I generally stick to recipes I know or things that I know will be quick so when I was challenged by Aero to come up with my ultimate flavour combination, I knew that this would be a good excuse to get in the kitchen and cook something a bit different. The challenge was in honour of Aero Bubbles being given a makeover so that the two toned taste is now reflected on the inside and outside!

I was sent a fab cooking cookery kit which included a book that I've coveted for a while - The Flavour Thesaurus - a mine of information about combing flavours - what works, what doesn't, with all manor of crazy suggestions. 

As I don't get a lot of time to cook I decided to go with a Flavour Pairing Menu rather than one dish as I thought I would treat me and the OH to a night of feasting! First up:

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon with a Mixed Nut Dressing

8 Asparagus Stems
4 rashers of streaky bacon

For the Dressing, combine the following:
Big Handful of Mixed Nuts (Roasted Almonds, Blanched Hazelnuts, Cashews and Pistachio) - crushed with pestle and mortar
3 tbspn Lemon
2 tbspn Soy Sauce

Take 2 asparagus stems, wrap in bacon, season and drizzle with olive oil. Repeat another 3 times for 2 each. Put in the oven at 200C for 12 minutes 
Drizzle over enough dressing to taste

The flavour pairing here being the Asparagus and Nuts (not so much the bacon as that's a pretty standard coupling!). I very rarely make home made dressings - very lazy I know as they are so quick to whizz up - but this was delicious. I wouldn't have thought to put Asparagus and Nut together before but they really did complement one another, it brought out the woodiness of the asparagus and the saltiness of the bacon and soy sauce was lovely.

Next Up:

Chicken Stuffed with Banana, Wrapped in Bacon in a Butter bean, Sweetcorn, White Wine, Chili & Cream Sauce. 

2 Chicken breasts
4 rashers of streaky bacon (I know, I know more bacon - but we love it!)
1 banana
1 tin Butter Beans
Half a tin of Sweetcorn
1 small glass of white Wine
300 ml Double Cream
Large Nob of butter
1 teaspoon of lazy chili


Slice down the side of the chicken and insert half a banana
Wrap around with bacon to secure banana inside
Season and place in the oven at 200C (fan) for 40 minutes

For the sauce:
Put the butter beans, sweetcorn, butter and white wine in a pan on the hob and cook off for about 5 minutes.
Add the double cream and simmer for a further 10 minutes and then stir in the chili - we only used a teaspoon but I would perhaps go for a bit more next time.

I served it with mash, slicing the chicken, with the sauce around it.

The flavour pairing was the chicken and banana. I wasn't totally sure about this one but my OH liked it. I feel like it needed a bit of greenery with it. Bananas aren't my favourite fruit but I was so interested to see how it would go with a savoury meal that I wanted to try it. I would say that chicken, bacon and bananas do go together but I found it so filling! The chili with it gave it a nice kick though.

And finally:

Raspberry, Lemon Thyme and Goats Cheese Fool

1 punnet of Raspberries
Half a Teaspoon of fresh Lemon Thyme
200ml Whipped up Double Cream
125g Goats Cheese
1 tablespoon of Icing Sugar


Blitz up raspberries with hand blender
Whisk Double Cream until there are soft peaks
Mash up goats cheese and combine with raspberries and double cream
Add teaspoon of lemon thyme and tablespoon of lemon thyme
Decorate with loose raspberries and thyme

This was delicious. I thought that the goats cheese would be over powering but it wasn't - it was all creamy and smooth. The thyme gave it a little bit of zing. It was rather like eating cheese cake topping and I think that's what I would do with it next time. I might also serve it with meringue if I do it again. 

So that was our flavour pairing meal and we were significantly full and fat after all that I can tell you. Most of it was enjoyable - just the chicken and banana that I wasn't totally sold on, but not inedible!  

What flavour pairing would you like to try?

I received a cookery kit, a heap of chocolate and a fabulous book in order to complete this challenge. If I win the challenge I will have a whole load of chocolate to give away to you lovely people!

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