Porcini are one of the most prized mushrooms. They are dried for preservation and when rehydrated in water they bestow their powerful, almost meaty flavour to the liquid. This tart uses that liquid and other mushrooms, as well as the porcini themselves, so it is crammed with mushroom flavour.
With its amazing deep pink colour, this is a fun-looking dish with a seriously delicious taste. A risotto cooked in the traditional way can be a pain to prepare for a party. You have to be on hand to stir the stock constantly into the rice when you'd much rather be dazzling your guests with witty repartee. This baked recipe offers an easy alternative to all that stirring. For added convenience, the beetroot can be cooked up to two days in advance and the Parmesan crisps be kept for up to eight hours, if stored in an airtight box.
Poached monkfish is quite easy to cook when entertaining as it just needs a few minutes in boiling, salted water, and can be prepared in advance.
One of my favourite ways to serve steak is this traditional French bistro method. Pepper, a seasoning that often hides in the background barely noticed, is thrust onto centre stage. Where normally we grind peppercorns into a fine powder, here they are left in larger chunks so you notice the flavour and texture as well as the heat.