Recipe of the Month! 3 Course Dinner Party Menu + Recipe Book Giveaway!

December 2014

Not just one recipe this month but a festive three! We have a delicious dinner party menu from flavour layering genius and Master Chef Winner, Dhruv Baker. His recipe book Spice is packed full of mouth-watering recipes and we have 3 copies up for grabs in this month's GIVEAWAY!!

If you're throwing a dinner party this month then these 3 dishes are sure to impress your guests!


Goat's Cheese & Red Onion Tart from SPICE



Ever heard the phrase ‘real men don’t eat quiche’? Well we challenge any man or woman not to love this tart! The sharp, salty flavour of mild goat’s cheese counterbalances the sweetness of the onions very well. If you want to use ready-made pastry, just roll out and sprinkle with the Parmesan and fennel seeds before folding over and rolling again.

Serves 4

200g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
2–3 tbsp ice-cold water

For the filling
2 tbsp light olive oil
500g red onions, finely sliced
1 star anise
2 sprigs fresh thyme
75ml balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
150g mild rindless goat’s cheese
3 eggs
250ml double cream
Small handful chives, chopped
Pinch grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Mix the flour, salt, fennel seeds and Parmesan together in a large bowl and then add the butter. Using your fingertips, massage the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, whizz the ingredients in a food processor.
Add the water one tablespoon at a time (you may not need all of it, just enough to hold it together). On a lightly floured surface, gently work the dough for a few seconds and form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions and star anise. Fry for about 15 minutes over a medium heat until the onions are soft and golden brown in colour.
Add the thyme, balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 6–8 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly and then discard the thyme and star anise.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface until it is about the thickness of a pound coin and large enough to line a 20cm fluted tart tin. Lay the pastry in the tin and gently press it into the edges. Trim the pastry as necessary, leaving a little sticking out over the edge of the dish. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork and return to the fridge to chill for another 10–15 minutes.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge, line with non-stick baking paper and fill with either rice, dried chickpeas or baking beans. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, then take out the baking paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes until the pastry is pale golden.
Spread the onion mixture all over the base of the pastry case and evenly crumble over the goat’s cheese. If it’s too soft to crumble, mix the cheese into the egg mixture in the next stage.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, chives, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry case so that it comes almost to the top and then return to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool slightly before serving.



This is the kind of dish that is perfect for a special occasion. The combination of garlic, ginger, fennel and saffron with the natural sweetness of lobster is hard to beat, but if you are feeling less extravagant, the lobster can easily be substituted for king prawns.

Serves 4

2 live lobsters weighing around 600–800g
100ml white wine
4 tsp fennel seeds
10 black peppercorns
250g unsalted butter
Few strands saffron
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 slices of fresh ginger, about the thickness of a pound coin
1 lemon, quartered
Crusty bread, to serve

Place the lobsters in the freezer for 20 minutes – this will make them docile and easier to cook.
Find your largest pan, fill with water and bring to the boil. Add the wine, 3 teaspoons of the fennel seeds and the peppercorns. Add the lobsters and boil for 10–12 minutes (you may need to cook them one after the other if you pan isn’t big enough for both to fit comfortably).
Remove the lobsters from the pan and allow to cool slightly before twisting off the claws. Use a sharp knife to cut through the lobster tail and then remove the thin grey vein running along its length. Remove the meat from the tail and slice in half – you need to do this while it is still quite hot but not so hot that it is difficult to handle. Crack the claws using shellfish crackers or the back of a heavy knife and remove the meat in one piece.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the saffron, along with the remaining fennel seeds, garlic and ginger. Cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes; you want the butter to be gently bubbling as excessive heat will burn the spices, making the dish bitter.
Add the lobster meat to the butter and simmer gently for a couple of minutes.
Serve with crusty bread and a squeeze of lemon.

Gluten-Free Chocolate & Cinnamon Torte from SPICE



This torte works on so many levels: it’s not overly sweet and the addition of amaretto makes it a really good dinner party dessert. It’s also gluten-free but, more importantly, it tastes fantastic.

Serves 6–8

150g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, broken into small pieces
125g unsalted butter
170g light brown sugar
175g ground almonds
5 eggs, separated
200ml amaretto
Pinch ground cinnamon
200ml double cream
Icing sugar, for dusting
Raspberries (optional), to serve

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2. Lightly butter a 23cm loose-bottomed round cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of just simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the sugar and ground almonds to the chocolate mixture and then stir in the egg yolks, 150ml of the amaretto and the cinnamon.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.
Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out.
Whip the cream into soft peaks and stir in the remaining amaretto.
To serve, place a slice of torte on a plate with a spoonful or two of the cream. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a few raspberries scattered over, if using.

If that's got your taste buds going and you want to see more then enter our giveaway below to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Dhruv Baker's 'Spice' 


SPICE Dhruv Baker


We're giving away 3 copies. To enter use the simple rafflecoptor widget below:


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Terms and Conditions

Start date is 12am, 3rd  December2014 and the closing date is 12am, 10th December 2014. The winner will be notified by email. The winner will need to provide a postal address so we can onto Orion publishing who are responsible for delivery. If the winner does not respond with a postal address within 2 days of contact the giveaway will be re-drawn and the prize re-allocated. The winner must have fulfilled the mandatory requirement. The prize is not transferable and there is no monetary alternative. UK entry only

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