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

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.

Mango disks with Ardsallagh goat cheese

Ingredients:

  • 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:

Piling on the goat’s cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (or 180 degrees C if a fan oven), gas mark 6.
  2. Peel the mango and cut it into slices about 1 cm thick.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Secure with a cocktail stick or just keep an eye on them as they cook for about 20 minutes, to prevent them from collapsing.
  7. Serve warm with the rocket or watercress drizzled with a little olive oil.
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