Suppers run late during the Great Edinburgh Festival, and with company around, hosts and hostesses can be overworked. And it must get pretty warm, as cold dishes are favored. Salads, antipasti, and warm or cold soups are good. Two recipes for good dishes follow...
SMOKED CHICKEN TERRINE
This combination of smoked chicken and curried mayonnaise, set with gelatine, can be kept in the fridge for up to two days. Serve with a mixed leaf salad or one including melon and tomato, or mango, and warm bread.
4 skinned smoked chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/2 pint/285ml chicken stock
4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water for five minutes
1/2 pint/285ml mayonnaise, preferably homemade; if not, go for one made with olive oil
2 teaspoons medium curry powder
1 teaspoon runny honey
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime (scrubbed under running water, then dried before grating)
1 teaspoon Tabasco
2 tablespoons chopped parsley and snipped chives, mixed
a good grinding of black pepper
2 egg whites
Heat the stock and when it is warm drop the soaked leaves of gelatine into it. Swirl the contents of the pan around until the gelatine is dissolved.
Put the cut-up smoked chicken into a food processor with the gelatine stock, lime rind and juice. Whiz briefly, to pulverise the chicken coarsely. Scrape into a bowl, then mix in the mayonnaise, Tabasco, curry powder, honey, herbs and black pepper.
Put the egg whites into a separate bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk till stiff. With a large metal spoon, fold the whisked whites thoroughly through the chicken and mayonnaise mixture.
Line a loaf tin (2lb/900g) with clingfilm, carefully easing it into the corners. Fill the tin with the chicken mixture. Bang it a couple of times on a work surface, to get rid of any air pockets. Cover the surface, and store in the fridge. To serve, invert the terrine on to a serving plate, lift off the tin and peel off the clingfilm. Slice thickly to serve.
CHUNKY THREE-CHEESE TART WITH PARMESAN PASTRY
The cubes of cheese melt as the tart bakes, but retain their shape. We use an Isle of Mull cheddar, a blue cheese, such as Stilton, and a creamy cheese, usually a Bonchester Brie.
For the pastry:
4oz/112g butter, hard from the fridge, cut into bits
5oz/140g plain flour
2oz/56g grated Parmesan cheese
For the filling:
4-5oz/112-140g each of blue cheese, undyed cheddar and Brie, cut into 1/2 in/4cm chunks
2 large eggs and 2 yolks, beaten
1/2 pint/285ml single cream
A good dash of Tabasco
plenty of black pepper, but no salt
To make the pastry, put the flour and Parmesan into the processor with the butter and whiz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pat and press this firmly around the sides and base of a 9in/23cm flan dish. Cool in the fridge for an hour then bake in a moderate oven, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes or till pastry is pale golden.
Distribute the cubed cheeses over the cooked pastry base. Beat the cream and Tabasco into the beaten eggs and yolks and add the pepper. Pour this in among the cheese. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling no longer wobbles when the dish is gently shaken. Serve warm.
For the sauce:
1 pot of redcurrant jelly
3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 pint/285ml port
Melt the redcurrant jelly over a gentle heat. Put the chopped pears into a processor or blender and whiz, with the melted jelly and the port. Serve warm or cold with the tart and salad.