Do you feel like pretending, just for a day that we are back in 2004 with all that self-confidence, ebullience and inflated sense of our own wealth? Well you can pretend in the kitchen at least with this fast and cheerful meal – what Catherine Cleary (@Catherineeats) called “a happy meal without the fries” when she published it in her Food & Drink column in the Sunday Tribune on 18th January, 2004.
I love recipes cut out from newspapers, the memories they evoke, and they way they remind you how life has moved on in the meantime. I found a treasure trove of them at the back of a cupboard the other night, some going back to the early 1970s and I look forward to re-discovering some old favourites.
Meanwhile I promised to post the starter and desert from Catherine’s 2004 menu so that you too can re-create the full dinner menu including her Chilli steak with just-cooked greens and a dessert of Warm Chocolate Puddings. There’s nothing the least bit Asian about the starter and desserts but the 3 dishes work well together for easy entertaining or a family dinner.
Don’t you just love the reference to the old pound coin below? Any chance we could have it back please??
Mango goats cheese and Parma melts
When I used to make this starter back in 2004, I struggled with getting the “towers” to stay upright during cooking. This time I used Good Food Ireland member Ardsallagh Soft Goats Cheese from Carrigtwohill close to Cork City in Ireland (@Ardsallaghgoats). it was the perfect consistency for the dish – smooth and creamy but sufficiently firm to hold together for 20 minutes in the oven, even without the benefit of cocktail sticks.
The quantity below could serve 4 people but I like to serve two goat’s cheese towers per person so feel free to double the quantities.
- One large mango
- 100g fresh soft goat’s cheese
- 4 slices of Parma ham
- Olive oil
- Fresh rocket or watercress to serve
Preparation and cooking:
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (or 180 degrees C if a fan oven), gas mark 6.
- Peel the mango and cut it into slices about 1 cm thick.
- With a shot glass, napkin ring or cookie cutter, cut the mango into 8 disks about the size of the old pound coin. (If you don’t have a suitable cutter just slice them into rough circles with a knife).
- Using a knife, put about 3 cms height of goats cheese on top of four disks, smoothing the edges. Add another disk on top of each and pierce with a a sharp knife down through the cheese and mango from the top.
- Drizzle some olive oil over the disks. Arrange on a baking dish then wrap a length of Parma ham around each cheese and mango tower.
- Secure with a cocktail stick or just keep an eye on them as they cook for about 20 minutes, to prevent them from collapsing.
- Serve warm with the rocket or watercress drizzled with a little olive oil.