Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day / Happy Birthday Dad!

Dad's birthday was on Saturday. Mother's Day is today. Dinner tonight just had to be special.

360. Sole with Chanterelles (Fast Food)
361. Apple Butterscotch Tart (Weekend Lunch)

The justification behind putting these 2 recipes together is that Dad loves apple pie, and Mum loves mushrooms. The sole only takes about 20 minutes in total, so I started by making the tart.
This tart has pastry on the bottom, then a layer of thinly sliced apples (I used granny smith), then a butterscotch paste on top. Nigella stipulates ordinary unsweetened shortcrust pastry, which is a doddle to make. The butterscotch paste contains light muscovado sugar, flour, eggs and cream, and looks like this...

walnut-coloured paste

Given the occasion, I went for dinky presentation and used these super-cute heart-shaped pie tins that my aunt gave me for my birthday.

pastry with apples

w paste

They need to be baked for about 30 minutes in total, which gave me just enough time to make the fish.

Now, even though the recipe is called "sole with chanterelles", I could find neither sole nor chanterelles. When I went to Prahran market on Friday, I went to Damien Pike's wonderful mushroom stall, and got these pine mushrooms, which are yellow like chanterelles. The lovely guy running the stall (which I'm pretty sure was Mr. Pike himself) said they'd intensify in colour when cooked and be lovely with fish. FYI, chanterelles are only available in Australia in August, imported from Scotland. Mr. Pike at the stall says they're his favourite kind of mushrooms in the whole world.

But back to the pine mushrooms.

ooh mushrooms!

You have to cook the mushrooms down in a lot of butter, remove them to a plate, and cook the fish fillets in the mushroomy butter. Another substitution, I used flake instead of sole because I couldn't find sole at Box Hill at 5:45 on a Sunday afternoon. I figured it didn't matter as long as the fish was white, to contrast with the mushrooms.

So, when the fish is cooked, you remove it to a plate, and return the mushrooms to the pan, sizzling it down with white wine and a squeeze of lemon. The mushrooms and their delicious thick yellow sauce go on top of the fish, with parsley to garnish.

Flake with pine mushrooms

This dish was delicious! I really can't fault the mixture of flavourful mushrooms, a buttery brown and yellow sauce and fish. It requires a bit of specialised shopping, but it's just so easy and fast to make! It simply must be tried.

Here are the little tartlets, fresh out of the oven. One thing I noticed was that even though the filling was cooked, the pastry wasn't completely cooked. I had to cover them with foil and put them back in the oven until the pastry was ready. I'm not sure if this is because of the individual tins, but at any rate, I'd definitely blind-bake them next time.

baked pies

apple pies - this was Dad's idea for presentation. Cute, huh?

One heart, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream

These pies were delightfully cute, adorable even. Despite the name, they weren't sweet at all. Add more sugar if you want it to be properly sweet and butterscotch-like, although I found that vanilla ice-cream added sufficient sweetness.

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Birthday Dad!


Frances said...


Those pine mushrooms are called 'rydze' in Poland and you can pick them in pine forests around Victoria around Easter time (eg. near Bright).

So let's make a deal for the future: you drive me to the country and i'll show you an endless supply of rydze!

PS. Chaterelles are available dried in delis but they freak me out becuase they are porous and look like dried sponges! Bet you they taste awesome though!


Lisa said...

Awww, what a nice meal you made, it all really does look very pretty & special.