Dinner party 1.1

Today’s masterclass is the first of two, where we demonstrate a deceptively simple but stunning dinner party menu. It’s suitable for vegetarians, but should be enticing and indulgent enough to satisfy dedicated meat eaters too.

4 sheets of filo pastry
knob of butter brushing
300g brown button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped
2 quail eggs
Pinch of smoked paprika
Small truffle, sliced (optional)
Large knob of butter for cooking
Glug of oil for cooking
For the pink onion:
1 small red onion, finely sliced into strips
200ml white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Truffle oil for decoration
For the pickled mushrooms:
2 handfuls of wild mushrooms, whole
400ml white wine vinegar
250 water
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of of pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
150ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
Salted peanuts
Pop corn (we used salted caramel popcorn)

Serves 2

Chop the garlic, onion, shallot, button mushrooms and herbs
Slice one clove to go in the mushroom cup, then cross chop. Crush and peel two more for the pickled mushrooms.
Slice the red onion thinly and neatly.
Place in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt and brown sugar, then cover with white wine vinegar and leave to stand for at least an hour.
Chop the shallot finely
Slice and cross chop the button mushrooms finely
Chop the herbs finely
For the filo cups: preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade, and melt a knob of butter in a small pan, ready for brushing.
Cut the filo into squares, roughly 10 by 10 centimetres. We’re using a muffin tray to shape them into cups.
Push these into the muffin cups, one sheet at a time, brushing butter on top of each one
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave to one side to cool.
To pickle the wild mushrooms, pour the vinegar and water into a pan, adding the sugar and aromatic ingredients (pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaves and garlic cloves), plus a hefty pinch of salt.
Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, and simmer for a few minutes.
Add the mushrooms and leave on the heat for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and leave to pickle.
The longer you leave this, the less harsh the vinegar will become – ideally, make it a day in advance.
If you don’t have time for that, just remember to squeeze the vinegar out of the mushrooms before serving, otherwise the dish may be too tart.
Heat a large knob of butter in a large pan with a glug of oil for the button mushrooms.
Once it is bubbling evenly, add the diced shallot and season with salt.
When the shallot cubes are turning golden brown, add the garlic and fry briefly before adding the mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms are a rich golden brown along the edges (this could take between 10 and 15 minutes), add the tarragon and chives
Stir through, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
These mushrooms go inside the filo cup, and are best served warm rather than hot.
Fry the quail eggs on a medium high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until the egg white is set but before the yolk is cooked through.
We cut the egg with a small cookie cutter for an extra special finish.
Arrange the pickles around or next to the filo cup, then assemble the cup itself.
Fill it with the fried button mushrooms, then top with a single slice of truffle (if you are using it).
Place the quail egg on top and sprinkle with the smoked paprika
Sprinkle the pickles with chives and drizzle with truffle oil

Now for the dessert:

Pour the chocolate and cream into a bowl and melt in a bain marie.
Once it’s completely incorporated, leave to cool at room temperature, then chill in the fridge until set.
To serve, just rough chop the peanuts and pour some into each bowl, with a generous spoonful of ganache on top.
Sprinkle with popcorn – we’re using salted caramel popcorn for extra flavour, chopped into chunks.

Note: You can make your own popcorn
You will need:
100g good quality corn kernels
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
100g light brown sugar
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons agave syrup or golden syrup
2 tablespoons double cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 150C
Place the oil and kernels into a heavy based saucepan and pop on a high heat and cover with a lid
It will take a minute or so for the corn to start popping
The pops will be regular
When they start slowing down to 1 pop per 3-4 seconds, remove from the heat
Do not take the lid off, there will still be a few un-popped ones and let them cool
In the mean time make the sauce
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and bring to boil
Add the water and double cream and salt, stir and let cool
Combine with the popcorn and bake for 30 minutes
Stir a few times and make sure it does not burn
Leave to cool and serve