We had not done a bag in a while and in the meantime, Christmas had filled our bellies. As a consequence, my eyes did not really seek out the large pieces of pork or beef when I went to the super market to get the content for Hazel’s challenge. Nor was I tempted by the last turkeys on sale. But organic trout from the Ardennes caught my attention. Would Hazel be able to make the light airy dishes I clearly needed according to the scales in our bathroom, or would she will turn it into a savory Christmas pudding? Let’s see.
As soon as I saw the mushrooms and the goat's cheese, I had the idea of making some kind of tart as a starter (bringing back memories of the Festival Theatre Cafe in Edinburgh, which in my student days advertised its snack lunches to passers-by under the unforgettable heading "Moist Tarts and Well-Filled Baguettes").
I started off by making a short-crust pastry and putting it to chill in the fridge, then getting some leeks on to stew in some butter with nutmeg and thyme. I then fried off some of the wood mushrooms separately with salt and pepper. Rooting about in the cupboard for some appropriate dishes to make the tarts in, I found two of the nice bowls that come with St Felicien cheese and got the pastry in to blind bake at 200 C for 10 minutes or so. Once it looked ready I added a base layer of leeks, some mushrooms, then a round of goats cheese and then some salt with flowers and herbs on the top. I put them back in the oven for about 20 minutes, and made a salad of the lamb's lettuce, coriander, basil and spring onions, with the idea to balance the richness of the tart with quite a sharp salad.
On to the trout. I found a recipe for trout with leeks and riesling which sounded nice and light: it also seemed quite low on the effort scale, so ideal for my post-Christmas laziness. The basic idea is to line a baking dish with chopped leeks, then put the trout on top, season, then slosh in some Riesling. To give it a bit of extra kick I also made a herb stuffing of coriander, basil, chives and spring onion to flavour the trout from inside. After the 20 minutes in the oven specified, the trout was done (possibly slightly overdone, in fact, for Him Indoors) but the leeks were not. I took the leeks out and gave them another 10 minutes in a pan with some butter and more wine, after which they softened down nicely. The recipe recommended a reduction of the cooking liquid as a sauce - I made that, but also a tomato, radish and orange sauce to liven it up a bit.
Result: the tart was quite good, I thought (I will try it next time we have vegetarians round), the fish was nice, although despite my attempt at a tangy sauce I thought it was slightly cloying, and would have needed a bit more lemon or something to cut the flavours. (For dessert, by the way, we had oranges. Not prepared in any way, just oranges: a month of heavy eating has taken its toll on the waistline, and desserts will remain fruit-based for a while yet....!)