This Easter was all about celebrating with friends and showcasing some Bulgarian traditions alongside the British ones. It was lovely to be able to host some of our good friends this time around. All together we were 11 people and that’s the most I’ve had for a ‘sit-down’ lunch so far. We’ve had bigger groups for other occasions but it’s always been buffet-style food and people helping themselves. I put together the following menu and I’m sharing some of the recipes from it here on the blog. I’ve picked out the more notable dishes which will give you a good basis of a meal for a slightly bigger group. At the end of the post, I will also add some tips of what you can do in advance and rough timings to help you with planning. At the bottom of each recipe, I have included details of where I got the recipe from and a link to the original one where possible. This menu made for a lovely late lunch which wasn’t too heavy. In big lunches like this, we are often too full by the time we get to dessert but in this case, everything felt just right.
My Spring Menu for 10 includes:
- Canapes: Borscht blinis with smoked salmon and lime Crème fraîche;
- Starter: Lime, chilli and coriander crab with avocado and rocket;
- Main: Poached salmon with dauphinoise potatoes and peas with pancetta.
Canapes: Borscht Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Lime Crème fraîche
Makes 26-30 | Prep 60 mins| Cook 30 mins | Some effort
I got this recipe from the recently published charity book “A Taste of Glasgow“. It’s a fantastic cookbook which features a large number of recipes from Glasgow based restaurants and chefs. The book is no longer on sale but if you plan on using the recipe below, I would like to ask you to make a donation to Children’s 1st – the Charity that the book donated all its proceeds to. No donation is too small and you can donate here.
- For the Beetroot Pancakes:
- 120g self-raising flour;
- 1 large egg;
- 1 cup (250ml) semi-skimmed milk;
- 1 small beetroot, cooked;
- Olive oil
- Sea salt;
- Lime Crème fraîche:
- 100ml Crème fraîche;
- 1 lime zest and juice;
- 200g smoked salmon;
- Samphire, blanched for 10 seconds then refreshed in ice cold water;
- 1 small raw beetroot, sliced wafer thin into discs – halved if necessary.
For the beetroot pancakes. Firstly, incorporate all of the beetroot pancake ingredients (except the olive oil) into a blender and blitz until a smooth, consistent, lump-free texture is reached. Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes. Add a little olive oil to a pan and place on a medium heat. Using a teaspoon, take a spoonful of batter and drop into the pan to cook – the pancakes should be about 3-4cm wide. When bubbles begin to appear on the top of the pancakes, turn them over and cook for 1 more minute. Cool on a cooling rack.
For the lime Crème fraîche, mix well the Crème fraîche and lime zest and juice. Chill until you need it.
To assemble and serve – start with placing the blinis on a serving plate. Add a little of the lime Crème fraîche, a small rosette of smoked salmon. Place a disk of raw beetroot and a small piece of blanched samphire.
This is a recipe by Campbell Mickel, one of Scotland’s best private chefs. I don’t have a link to the original recipe but do please donate to Children’s first when using this fantastic recipe from A Taste of Glasgow.
Starter: Lime, Chilli and Coriander Crab with Avocado & Rocket
Serves 10 | Prep 15 minutes | Quick and Easy | Gluten-Free
- 300g crab meat (I used 50-50 brown and white);
- 3 tbsp coriander, chopped;
- 1&1/2 red chilli, chopped;
- 1&1/2 lime juice and juice of 1 lime for the mayo
- 3 handfuls of rocket;
- 3 sliced avocados;
- 150ml mayo.
For the crab, mix the crab meat with the coriander, red chilli and 1+1/2 lime juice. Leave to chill until you are ready to serve. Make the zingy mayo by mixing the mayo and remaining lime juice and zest. Leave to chill until you are ready to serve. To serve, divide the rocket and avocados between 10 plates or small glasses. Top with the crab mix and serve with the mayo on the side.
Original recipe from Olive magazine, issue April 2011, available here.
Main: Foil-Poached Salmon
Serves 10 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 1hr 30 mins plus cooling | Some effort | Gluten-free
I bought this beautiful whole salmon to use in this recipe from my local fishmongers, The Fish Plaice, who are just fantastic. They have two locations in Glasgow and an online store. You can find more information about them on their website.
Tip: There is a helpful step by step guide in the original recipe on BBC Good Food website.
- Olive oil;
- 3kg whole gutted and scaled salmon with the head removed;
- bunch of dill;
- 1 shallot, halved and very thinly sliced;
- 5 tbsp dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc;
- 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced (optional).
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Place a large piece of double-width foil on top of a large baking sheet an and brush it with oil, then put the salmon in the centre. Tuck a few generous sprigs of dill and the shallots in the body cavity, then season. Carefully bring up the sides of the foil to surround the fish, season well inside and out, then pour over the wine. Seal the foil all the way around, but not too tightly on the fish – you need to give it a bit of space within the parcel. Bake for 1hr 30 mins.
Once the salmon has cooked, carefully unwrap the foil parcel and pull the dorsal fin on the spine of the fish. If the salmon is ready, it should come away very easily. Reseal the parcel and leave to cool – it will carry on cooking a little more as it cools. If you are not sure that the salmon is cooked sufficiently, return it to the oven for 10 mins more.
When the fish is slightly cooled (or cold if you are serving it cold), carefully peel away the skin from one side of the salmon. You may need to use a knife to get you started, but it should peel away easily after that. Leave the dill and shallot in place, as you may damage the flesh of the salmon if you try to remove them. Carefully turn the salmon over onto a plater and remove the skin flesh from the other side.
To serve, carefully remove the fillets from one side of the fish, leaving behind the bones. You will see that the fish has a natural divide of 2 long fillets on each side. Insert your knife along the centre and carefully ease off each fillet. Transfer the fillets to a platter, bone side up. Lift up the central bone from the remaining whole fish – it should come away in one piece – and remove the dill and shallot. Ease the 2 remaining fillets apart and remove any pin bones. Serve the 2 fillets decorated with the cucumber slices and with lemon wedges.
Original recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue May 2013, available here.
Side dish: Potatoes Dauphinoise
Serves 8-10 | Prepare 15 minutes | Cook 1hr 15 mins | Easy | Gluten-free
- 15g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing;
- 1 onion, thinly sliced,
- 1 garlic clove, crushed,
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves,
- 170 ml single cream;
- 170 ml double cream;
- 100 ml whole milk;
- 1kg king edward potatoes, peeled and finely sliced.
While the salmon is cooking, start prepping the potatoes. Grease a 1.5 litre baking dish. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, until foaming. Stir in the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and thyme, cook for another 3 minutes. Add the creams and milk to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer and season.
Tip the potatoes into the pan and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Transfer everything to the baking dish. Place in the oven with the salmon about half way through it’s cooking time on a shelf below. When the fish is out, place in the middle of the oven and increase the heat to 170C fan, and cook for another 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through, while the fish is resting and you are preparing it for serving.
Adapted from a recipe from myWaitrose Magazine, issue May 2016.
Side dish: Peas & beans with pancetta & mint
Serves 8-10 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 15 mins | Easy | Gluten-free & Vegetarian
- 1 tbsp olive oil;
- 100g wafer thin smoked pancetta rashers;
- 480g pack frozen soya beans;
- 200g broccoli;
- 500g frozen petits pois;
- juice of 1 lemon;
- food handful mint leaves, roughly chopped.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the pancetta until it turns golden, taking care not to burn it. Lift from the pan, then tip the soya beans into the pan juices and arrange the broccoli on top. Add 6 tbsp water; cover tightly and steam for 10 mins, or until the broccoli is tender. Meanwhile, strip the pancetta into pieces with scissors.
Stir the petits pois into the pan and cook for 2 mins more, then remove from the heat and toss in the lemon juice, mint and crispy pancetta pieces.
Original recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue April 2011, available here.
If you’d like to get ahead, you can prep quite a few of the elements the day before or get them started first so you free up more time for the salmon. The day before, you can prep the following:
- Canapes: You can make the beetroot blinis for the canapes the day before and seal them in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can make the pancake mix the day before and let it sit in your fridge until the following day. You can also make the zesty Crème fraîche in advance.
- Starter: You can make the crab mix and the mayo for the starter the day before and let them sit in your fridge. Your crab will be flavoured even more that way so that’s a bonus too! Just make sure you bring to room temperature before you plate up.
- Main: You can make the potatoes dauphinoise up to the point before they go in the oven. Just bring to room temperature about 20 minutes before you put in the oven.
Tip 1 – Quicker & Simpler Main: For a speedy and slightly simpler solution, you can use 2 boneless, skinless salmon sides, then stack them on top of each other with some finely chopped dill and basil and the sliced shallot. Wrap in foil with the wine and seasoning and cook for 10 minutes less time. Then you can serve straight away without having to peel the skin and prep the fish after cooking.
Tip 2 – make a stock of the fish remains – head, bones, skin: I cut the head and tail from the fish at home and used them to make homemade fish stock. All you need to do is put them in the pan, add 150 ml white wine, 2 peeled and quartered onions, a couple of carrots very roughly chopped, a handful of parsley with the stalks and cover with water. Season really well. Boil for about 30 minutes, then remove the fish and veg, and reduce further. Place in an ice cube trays and transfer to a ziplock bag once frozen.
I hope you enjoy this fantastic fish based menu for 10. Let me know in the comments if you make this or elements of it and what you’d do differently!