Luke Mangan's Sunday Lunch
Barramundi and orange couscous with feta, dates and mint.
The key to a successful party is to do as much preparation as you can beforehand, and these delicious dishes are perfect for that.
With these dishes, you can be well organised before your guests arrive.
BARRAMUNDI AND ORANGE COUSCOUS WITH FETA, DATES AND MINT
My version of a Moroccan fish dish includes feta, mint and orange couscous.
3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
400g instant couscous
1 cup dates, pitted and finely sliced
1/2 cup marinated soft feta, crumbled
1 cup mint leaves
extra virgin olive oil
good splash white wine vinegar
4 x 160g barramundi fillets, skin removed
Bring orange juice to boil in a saucepan. Place couscous in a large bowl and pour juice over it.
Tightly cover bowl with a lid or cling film and leave for 10 minutes. Fork couscous through until light and fluffy.
Add dates and feta to couscous. Finely slice two-thirds of the mint and add to couscous.
Drizzle with olive oil and white wine vinegar and mix well.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Pan-fry barramundi in a little olive oil until lightly browned on both sides, then bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or until done to your liking.
Serve couscous warm or cold in bowls garnished with remaining mint leaves and roasted barramundi on top or on the side.
ITALIAN APPLE FLAN
The marmalade is also delicious with French toast.
5 apples, peeled and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
150g butter, melted
1 vanilla pod, scraped, or 2-3 drops vanilla essence
300g self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
50g pine nuts
icing sugar, to dust
6 oranges, quartered
3 sticks cinnamon
8 star anise, bruised
80g icing sugar
2 vanilla pods, scraped
For flan, preheat oven to 170°C.
In a bowl, combine apples, lemon juice and 50g sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and remaining sugar together. Add butter, vanilla, sifted flour, baking powder and spices, and mix well. Add apples.
Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. Pour batter into tin, sprinkle pine nuts on top and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool, then dust with icing sugar.
For marmalade, place oranges in a pot and cover with 500ml water. Add sugar and spices and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until oranges are very tender. Set aside to cool. Remove oranges from pot and strain syrup. Return syrup to heat and simmer until liquid reduces by half. Add oranges to syrup, then blend to a smooth consistency.
For vanilla cream, place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
Serve flan with marmalade and cream.
ONION TARTLETS with HONEY-THYME DRESSInG and GREEN ASPARAGUS
At home, we would make a large onion tart and serve it in the middle of the table.
2 large onions (500g), thinly sliced
150ml double cream
1 bunch thyme, plus extra leaves
salt and pepper
350g ready-made puff pastry
150ml olive oil, plus extra
12 spears green asparagus
4 small eggs, soft-poached and kept warm
100g shaved parmesan
For tartlets, melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add onions and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add cream and a few thyme leaves and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Cut out
4 x 12cm-diameter circles and place on a baking sheet. Rest in fridge for 20 minutes.
Prick pastry discs with a fork. Divide onions among discs and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bottom of pastry is well cooked and crisp.
For honey-thyme dressing, place honey, bunch of thyme, chardonnay and 200ml water in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by a third. Whisk in 150ml olive oil in a steady stream. Set dressing aside.
Cook asparagus in a little olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until tender. Set aside and keep warm.
To serve, on warm plates, place a warm egg on each onion tartlet, and asparagus alongside. Drizzle with honey-thyme dressing, top with parmesan, and finish with extra thyme.