Let’s party!

Bart Beek | VOLUME 30, ISSUE 1
Potato gateaux cubes with smoked salmon and caviar
For an event that everyone will remember, try this selection of easy-to-prepare party favourites that will have your guests asking for more.

To achieve perfect, crispy, golden skin on the barramundi use a hot, oiled pan and maintain contact of the skin with the pan. Hold it down firmly with a pallet knife until it relaxes and stays flat.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8

500g chat potatoes, washed and cubed

200g cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tblsps golden eschallots, finely diced

2 tblsps Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

800g baby barramundi fillets, skin on

1 small lemon

30g unsalted butter

¼ cup micro coriander sprigs

Boil the cubed potatoes until just tender. Strain and allow to cool to room temperature. Combine with the chopped tomatoes, eschallots and mayonnaise. Season well.

Heat a heavy non-stick frypan and add in the olive oil. When hot, place in the barramundi portions – skin side down – and hold down flat with a spatula. After two minutes, turn them over and cook until just done.

Remove from the pan and wipe the frypan clean with kitchen paper. Place the pan back on the heat and add in the lemon juice and butter. Stir quickly until the butter has just melted and the sauce becomes creamy and yellow. Season well and keep warm.

Place small portions of the potato/tomato mix onto individual plates, top with the grilled barramundi and finish with a little sauce and the micro coriander sprigs.

Fabulous roast pork can be purchased from most Chinese barbecue restaurants and makes for a quick meal. The contrast between the soft bun and crunchy pork crackle is amazing with the dressed herbs and mayonnaise adding a delicious flavour.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Serves: 6

600g Chinese roast pork belly

6 small white dinner rolls

40g Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

½ tblsp mirin

½ tblsp rice wine vinegar

1 tblsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 sprigs Vietnamese mint

6 sprigs garden mint

½ cup coriander sprigs

½ cup Thai basil

1 cup carrot, finely grated

Cut the roast pork belly into 4mm slices. Cut the bread rolls into halves and spread them with the Kewpie mayonnaise.

Combine together in a bowl the mirin, vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Add in all the herbs and toss lightly.

Place some sliced pork onto one half of the roll, top with the grated carrot and finish with the lightly dressed herbs. Finish with the roll tops and secure with a small skewer.

The key to successfully cooking scallops is to use high heat and short cooking times. Make sure you can see a light smoke haze coming from the pan before you begin cooking.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Makes: 12

12 scallops on shell

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

20ml extra virgin olive oil

10ml lemon juice

1 small ripe tomato, quartered, seeds discarded and flesh diced

1 small golden eschallot, finely diced

2 spring onions, white part, sliced thin

1 tblsp micro parsley sprigs

Make the dressing by combining 20ml olive oil with the lemon juice, tomato, eschallot and spring onion. Season well and set aside.

Remove the scallops from their shells, wash and scrub the shells and dry with kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a frypan and when lightly smoking, add in the seasoned (salt only) scallops.

Grill for one minute or until a golden crust is produced on the first side. Flip over and cook the other side for one minute. Quickly place a scallop onto each shell and top with a spoonful of the dressing. Present with several micro parsley sprigs.

The rich, buttery pastry cases that make these tarts so delicious take less than a minute to make. Use a 12-portion muffin tin to produce perfectly sized individual tarts.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes: 12


270g plain flour

¼ whole nutmeg, grated

½ teaspoon salt

150g cold, unsalted butter, cut into large cubes

4 to 6 tblsps ice-cold water


1 cup diced, roasted pumpkin

1 punnet mini tomato medley, cut into halves

1 cup fetta, broken into pieces

150g cream

1 large egg

6 basil leaves, shredded

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the pastry, sift together three times the plain flour, nutmeg and salt. Place into a food processor and add the butter cubes. Blend quickly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the cold water. Process for several seconds until it combines together, then remove from the processor and form a ball. Flatten, wrap with cling film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Roll out the pastry and cut into circles to fit pre-oiled individual flan tins or muffin moulds, making sure the sides are at least 15mm high. To cut circles to fit a standard muffin tin, use a 90mm pastry cutter. Blind bake the pastry cases for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Place equal amounts of pumpkin, tomato and fetta amongst the pastry cases.

Combine the cream, egg, shredded basil and seasoning. Pour the mix into the filled pastry cases, being careful not to spill any between the pastry and the tin. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until set.

Creamy potato, crème fraîche and smoked salmon are perfect partners and a party favourite. The sweet potato layer looks and tastes amazing while the butter puff pastry adds a delicious crunch.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Makes: 16

1 tblsp butter, melted

2 sheets butter puff pastry

250g crème fraîche

½ cup parmesan, grated

1 tblsp thyme leaves

500g waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

100g sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 egg, beaten

8 slices smoked salmon

1 tblsp salmon caviar

¼ cup mustard cress sprigs

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Brush a tin loaf pan with the melted butter and place in the fridge to set. Remove from the fridge and line completely with a sheet of the pastry.

Combine in a bowl the crème fraîche, parmesan, thyme leaves, seasoning and the sliced waxy potatoes. Place half the potatoes into the pastry lined tin, and then cover with a layer of the sliced sweet potato. Finish with the remainder of the potatoes.

Cover with half a sheet of puff pastry, trimming excess away. Brush the top with the beaten egg and seal all the edges well. Make several deep cuts into the top.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for one hour, then turn down to 160°C and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until just done. When fully cooked a metal skewer should go through without any resistance.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove from the pan and cut into small single-portion cubes. Present with half a slice of smoked salmon, some caviar and a little cress.