Cookbook 184: Miguel Maestre’s Feast: 100 Generous Recipes to Share

Who doesn’t like the idea of cooking for a stack of people (most people, I know)? I like the idea of cooking for a stack of people, and cooking interesting recipes that are specifically to share with other people sounded like a great idea, so I picked up Miguel Maestre’s Feast: 100 Generous Recipes to Share in the hope that it’d have some amazing recipes and I was not disappointed.

It wasn’t easy selecting which recipes to make, and I know that there will be readers out there who will roll their eyes at the “hummus”, I did too, but overall I liked this book and want to come back to it and try some more things. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Whole Baked Cauliflower with Sweet Potato Hummus (serves 4 – 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 250g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g canned corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp shredded basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus extra to serve
  • 65g grated parmesan
  • 20g panko breadcrumbs
  • 125ml thickened cream
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 80g butter, melted
  • 60g mozzarella, grated

Sweet Potato Hummus

  • 1 large golden sweet potato
  • 5 thyme springs, leaves picked
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, plus extra to garnish
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 180g drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method:

  1. To make the hummus, preheat the oven to 250C or as high as your oven will go. Halve the sweet potato lengthways and score the cut side in a criss-cross pattern. Place, cut side up, on a baking tray, then sprinkle with the thyme leaves, season well and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove and reduce the oven temperature to 200C for the cauliflower.
  2. Scoop the sweet potato flesh out of the skin into a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, cumin, tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice and remaining oil and blend to your preferred consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and scoop into a bowl. Finish with an extra sprinkling of cumin and a drizzle of olive oil, then set aside.
  3. While the sweet potato is roasting, trim the outside leaves and some of the inner stem from the cauliflower, taking care to leave it whole and without disturbing the florets. Place the cauliflower, stem-side up, in a large heatproof bowl or saucepan and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes to soften slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, strain the spinach, pressing well to remove as much liquid as possible. Combine the spinach, egg, corn, basil, chives, half the parmesan and half the breadcrumbs, and mix in enough of the cream to make a loose mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Line a roasting tin with baking paper
  6. Drain the cauliflower well and place on a board, stem-side up. Spoon the spinach mixture a little at a time into the cauliflower, using your fingers or the back of a spoon to push it between the florets. Place the cauliflower, stem-side down, in the prepared tin.
  7. Combine the melted butter with the remaining parmesan and breadcrumbs. Spread all over the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until tender. During the last 5 minutes, sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and set the oven to grill to melt and brown the cheese.
  9. Remove and stand for 10 minutes, then serve with the sweet potato hummus.

Notes on this recipe:

  • There is a lot of “meanwhile” in this recipe. You really need to ensure that you have read through the whole thing before cooking so you don’t end up waiting interminably for the next step.
  • There is WAY more stuffing than will fit in the cauliflower. So as you can see, we stuffed the cauliflower, then mounded the remaining stuffing up on the baking tray and then plonked the cauliflower on top. The stuffing is incredibly tasty and we didn’t want to waste any of it.
  • I didn’t eat this dish, because cauliflower, but apparently it was very tasty. I did try the hummus which was odd. Apparently the hummus and the cauliflower did not really go together, but the hummus on some bread was quite good.

Meatball Bolognese (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • olive oil, for pan frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 leek, well washed and finely chopped
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 400g spaghetti
  • grated parmesan, basil and oregano leaves, to serve

Meatballs

  • 200g chorizo sausage, roughly chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp thickened cream
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red chilli (optional)
  • 500g beef mince

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. To make the meatballs, place the chorizo, mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, cream, salt, pepper, oil and chilli (if using) in a food processor and blend to a coarse paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the beef mince and mix well with your hands. Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs, place on the prepared tray and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until browned.
  3. Heat a good splash of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, carrot, leek and thyme and cook for a few minutes until softened. Pour in the passata and stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the packet instructions. Drain.
  6. Toss the spaghetti through the meatballs and sauce, garnish with the parmesan and herbs, and serve.

Note on this recipe:

  • I didn’t stir the pasta through the sauce (as you can see) because I was using linguine and that makes it a bit harder for me at least
  • The meatballs were quite oily due to the chorizo and cream. You can get away without including the oil if you want.
  • The dish was tasty and much better than the last meatball dish we cooked.

Lemon, Thyme and Vanilla Apple Crumble (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1.25kg pink lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 nutmeg freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of two lemons
  • vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)

Crumble

  • 110g plain flour
  • 110g almond meal
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g chilled unsalted butter, chopped

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the thyme and vanilla bean and seeds and cook, stirring for 2 minutes to infuse the butter. Increase the heat to high, add the apples and cook, tossing regularly, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg and good for 1 – 2 minutes until aromatic. Add 3 tablespoons of water, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly for another 5 – 6 minutes until the apple starts to soften. Take off the heat and remove the vanilla bean pod.
  2. Lightly grease a 28cm x 18cm baking dish with butter. Spoon in the apple mixture and scatter over the sugar and lemon zest. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190C
  4. To make the crumble, place all the ingredients in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.
  5. Spread the crumble evenly over the apple mixture, then place in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.
  6. Serve warm with ice cream, if you like.

Notes on this recipe

  • I get the impression that he really really likes thyme. That said, this apple crumble was absolutely delicious, and as I was using lemon thyme from my garden, it paired really well with the lemon zest.
  • This is a nice, relatively easy, dish to make, and I do recommend it to impress your guests.

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