Given the choice between Continental cuisine and Subcontinental cuisine, 9 out of 10 times I'd choose the later. For the simple reason that it's the sort of food I find more appealing to the eye and more exciting to the palate.
But, every now and then I realise that sometimes simplicity has its perks and two of the biggest are dramatically pared down ingredient lists and speedier preparations. For anyone looking to make quick, delicious and elegant appetizers, Continental cuisine definitely comes out on top.
So it was with the aim of adding to my repertoire of easy appetizer recipes that I picked the Modern German masterclass with Chef Diyan from Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek at the ongoing Treat food festival at BurJuman yesterday evening.
On the menu - Smoked Salmon Roulade. Sounded just like the sort of dish I could whip up quickly and stick into the fridge before having friends round for a drink. Turns out it was :)
I'd attended one of the masterclasses at the inaugural edition of Treat last year (check out the post on making Za'atar Crusted Lamb Chops with Crushed Lemon Potatoes here) and just like the last time, the compact little Teka stands were neatly set up with the mise en place for the dish, the participants were handed out their Treat aprons (which we got to keep, bonus!) and we were ready to go.
First step, beat 60gm of white flour, 120ml milk, 1 egg, salt and pepper to a smooth batter. Add a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds and fry up a few thin crepes. That was super quick and easy.
While the crepes were cooling down, we beat together some cream cheese and chives and seasoned the filling with a little salt and pepper.
In a small hot pan, we then sprinkled a thick layer of grated cheddar cheese which we left to melt into a little cheese pancake. We then overturned the pancake onto a small bowl and moulded it around the bottom to make a small cheese basket. I'd seen this being done several times on TV but had never actually attempted it. Happily it turned out just like the one on Chef Diyan's counter so was quite pleased with myself and will definitely be making more of those :)
Next, we dressed a small bowl of salad leaves with a balsamic vinaigrette made from half a cup of reduced balsamic vinegar, a cup of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of mustard, all beaten together and seasoned to taste.
To make the roulade, we placed the pancakes on a clean board, spread a generous layer of cream cheese and chive filling, placed thin slices of firm, pink smoked salmon on half the pancake and rolled it firmly into a log. In ideal circumstances, Chef Diyan advised us to then place the rolls in the fridge until it was time to serve to allow the cheese filling to firm up. We skipped this step during the class but the results turned out pretty neat anyway.
Then it was time to plate up! To begin, we created a zig-zag pattern on the plate with some cocktail sauce (half mayonnaise-half tomato ketchup). Next, we sliced off the ends of the roulade to neaten the edges and cut each roll into two on a slant. The roulade pieces were placed in a row on the plate with the cheese basket at one end, filled up with the dressed salad. Ta da! Smoked salmon roulade all made in less than 20 minutes.
There are free masterclasses and demos galore at Treat - the BurJuman World Food Fest every evening until May 19th, with Arabic, Continental, Italian and Indian cuisine still to come in the days ahead. Check out BurJuman's website for more details and its facebook page for the daily schedule of classes available. There were also some amazing chocolate displays (check out the gallery below) and audience competitions with great giveaways taking place all across the mall. I might be paying it another visit this weekend :)
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