A starter and a main course – inspiration for an alternative New Year’s feast?

Lately I have been a bit lazy recipe-wise and have been focusing on articles. Therefore I decided to get back in the kitchen and create some new recipes for you (and me!). Both are super delicious although I will only share one recipe with you. The second one is a bit funky but I promise that thefirst one can be made in anybody’s kitchen. Anyways. Check ’em out and do comment!

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STARTER: Beluga lentil and sweet potato croquetas. Spicy carrot puree with argan oil, mint, chili and cumin. White port wine, balsamic vinegar and apple vinegar reduction with raisins. Toasted fennel seeds.
This recipe is fairly easy and the combination of flavours is sublime. The carrot puree consists of classic Moroccan flavours and packs a little spicy punch while the Christmassy (almost glühwein-ish) vinegar reduction contributes with a tangy and delicate sweetness that really supports the crispy, yet fluffy, croquetas. Yum! The fennel seeds do a wonderful job bringing all the flavours together.

So… Here we go!
Croquetas
80 g. / 2.8 oz. Beluga lentils
150 g / 5.2 oz. peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt
7 tablespoons bread crumbs  + extra for coating
Wheat flour
Vegetable oil
Wash the lentils and add to a pot. Add enough water to cover, and cover with lid. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft. Meanwhile add the chopped sweet potatoes to another pot, cover with water, and lid and cook until soft. Once the sweet potatoes are done leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. This ensures that most of the moist will vaporize. Blend the sweet potatoes and add the lentils to the puree. Taste with salt and pepper, and make sure that it is extra salty as you still have to add eggs and breadcrumbs. Add the 7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and the two eggs and mix it well. Transfer to a bowl, cover with lid and refrigerate for minimum two hours. Get three small bowls. In the first you add flour, in the second you add the two remaining eggs (beaten!) and in the last you add breadcrumbs. Using your hands make small round balls, transfer them to the flour bowl, then to the beaten eggs and finally cover with breadcrumbs. Transfer the croquetas to a clean plate and deep fry in vegetable oil for a few minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Carrot puree
250 g. peeled and chopped carrots
1½ tablespoon cumin seeds / ground cumin
1 tablespoon argan oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Chilli powder (as much as you like)
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mint leaves
Add the carrots to a pot, cover with water and simmer until soft. If using cumin seeds add to a pan and toast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic. Grind the seeds by using pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. Add all the ingredients except the mint leaves to a bowl and blend until smooth. Save the mint leaves for decorating.
Vinegar reduction and toasted fennel seeds:
½ dl / 0.2 cups white port wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
4 tablespoons cane sugar
4 tablespoons raisins.
4 tablespoons fennel seeds
Add all the ingredients except fennel seeds to a pot and cook uncovered until reduced to a think, dark dense syrup/glaze. Toast the fennel seeds on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic.
Plate all the elements and enjoy!

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Main course: Smoked paprika chicken. Sweet beetroot chips. Whiskey barrel smoked celery puree with pecorino. Winter salad with apples, red onions, kale, radishes, sunflower seeds and pomegranate. Pearled Spelt.
OK. So when I made this i didn’t measure any of the ingredients as I was just freestyling (which is what I do best!). Anyways, since i smoked the celery puree using whiskey barrel oak wood and a hand held food smoker (which you probably don’t have?) I don’t think it makes much sense explaining how, what, why and when. If you are interested in the recipe please contact me or comment and I shall provide you with a list of ingredients and a link to a website, so you can buy your very own handheld food smoker!

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