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Food fit for a president

Last update - Sunday, May 15, 2011, 16:29 By Metro Éireann

Guest food blogger Renata Poccia presents a summery three-course meal to celebrate the visit of Barack ObamaFollowing in the vein of Michelle Obama’s healthy food campaign, here’s a meal plan for four with a selection of recipes featuring the best of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Feel good and be healthy!

Creamed egg with asparagus and cheesy wafers

8 stalks of fresh spring asparagus
A handful of young spring lettuce
8 oz puff pastry dough
2 tbsp grated parmesan
5 tbsp medium cream (25% fat)
3 eggs
Black pepper and salt to taste

Carefully rinse the asparagus, peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler and remove the too-tough bottom parts. Parboil the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Cut off the tops and save for decoration; cut the remaining asparagus into strips.
Roll out the pastry dough, wet the surface with some water and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cut out disks (a bit smaller in diameter than an appetizer glass) and bake them in a wafer pan for 2-3 minutes.
Next beat the eggs together with the cream and salt and pepper. Boil the eggs in a bain-marie (continue to stir thoroughly) until the batter is dense, but still creamy (not hard).
Take four glasses and fill the ends with asparagus strips, topped with some lettuce. Season the salad as you wish. Then place the wafer and spread some creamed egg on the top. Repeat to make 2-3 layers in each glass, then garnish with the asparagus tops, some chopped dill or chives. Serve promptly.

Main course
Rabbit cooked three ways

For the marinated rabbit:
1 rabbit leg
3 tbsp light brown cane sugar
7 fl oz red wine
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove
2 potatoes
Black pepper and salt to taste
For the breaded rabbit:
1 rabbit leg
1 sprig of rosemary
1/2 cup white wine
2 lrg tbsp of wheat flour
1 egg
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
Black pepper and salt to taste
For the stuffed rabbit:
2 fillets of rabbit
1 handful of fava beans (unshelled, parboiled and peeled)
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
Black pepper and salt to taste

Rabbit marinated in cara-melised red wine: Melt the sugar in 1 tbsp of water and boil for 2-3 minutes until it is a light brown colour (caramel). Add the red wine and wait until boiling before adding all herbs and spices, and continue to boil for 10 more minutes.
Debone the leg and chop into chunks. Then pour the marinade over the meat and leave for one hour (see third method for further instructions).
Next, boil or steam the potatoes in their jackets for about 15 minutes (not fully boiled). Cool and grate with a coarse grater. Be sure to wet your hands (otherwise the potato will stick to your fingers) and form four palm-sized pancakes. Fry them in a pan with a few drops of olive oil until brown on the surface.

Boiled and breaded rabbit: Place the remaining leg of rabbit in a pot or saucepan. Pour over the white wine, add the rosemary and boil on a low heat for about 30 minutes. When ready, debone the meat and cut into strips.
Beat one egg. Coat the meat first with wheat flour, then roll it in the egg batter and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
In a deep frying pan, preheat the oil and butter and fry the meat until golden brown.
Place the meat on the paper napkin (to eliminate the excess oil) and sprinkle with some salt to taste.

Rabbit stuffed with fava beans and ricotta cream: Preheat the oven to 250°C temperature. Butterfly the fillets of rabbit and beat them gently.
Shell the beans, parboil and squeeze them out from the waxy shell coatings. Place the beans into a food processor, adding the ricotta cheese with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and purée until blended. Add some black pepper and salt to taste.
Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with some olive oil. Place a half of butterflied and beaten fillet on the paper. Spread the fava bean cream in the middle. Cover with the other fillet and wrap all in the parchment paper.
Place the roulade into a casserole dish alongside the marinated meat, and bake both in the oven for 35 minutes. If the chunks of marinated meat dry too much, sprinkle them from time to time with the remaining marinade.
To serve, place a piece of roulade with some boiled fava beans (or other boiled vegetables) and a drop of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve the marinated meat serve on top top of the potato pancake, and the breaded meat serve on top of some fresh seasonal vegetables (such as courgette or spring onion).

Vanilla mascarpone mousse with lemon strawberries and crispy homemade biscuits

7 oz fresh strawberries
1/2 lemon (juice and rind)
4 tbsp blond cane sugar
2 tsp of gelatine
7 oz of mascarpone cheese
7 fl oz whipping cream (30% fat)
1/2 vanilla pod
4.5 oz icing sugar
2 oz butter
1 egg white
2 oz wheat flour
1 oz millet flour

Soak the gelatine in the cold water. Rinse and clean the strawberries and cut into halves. Place the fruit, sugar, lemon juice and grated lemon rind into a pot or saucepan and boil for 3-5 minutes. Add half the soaked gelatine and stir until melted. Leave to cool.
Using an electric beater, combine the mascarpone, 2 oz of icing sugar and scraped vanilla seeds until smooth. Melt the remaining gelatine in 1 tbsp of liquid cream and add in the previous batter. Whip the cream in the other bowl. Thoroughly and gradually fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mix and combine until the batter is smooth.
Fill four dessert glasses about 1/3 of the way with the lemon strawberries. Place in the fridge to sit for around 10 minutes. Then finish filling with the vanilla mascarpone mousse and place in the fridge again for two hours.
Combine together the melted butter, remaining icing sugar, egg white and both flours until the batter is smooth. Place the batter in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and, using a teaspoon, spread on the batter thinly, making a shape of elongated strips (or other shape you wish) and bake for 6-7 minutes.
Serve the dessert with some freshly baked crispy biscuits, fresh strawberries and mint leaves.

Wine suggestions:
For the appetiser, a well-structured, tonic, elegant and long champagne such as Mumm Cordon Roug
For the main, an affable, light, well balanced wine with supple characteristics like Lacrima di Morro d'Alba.
For dessert, Brachetto d'Asti: naturaly sweet, aromatic with delicate characteristics.

Soft drink suggestion:
Light natural sparkling mineral water – fresh and flavourful.

Renata Poccia is a food blogger who writes on the web at

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