Last month, four of us fellowfoodbloggers and tweeps happened to get together by chance, and decided to each explore how we could make a good Red Velvet Cake without artificial colour. We even called ourselves the Velveteers (since our mission was a Velvet Cake)
We enjoyed doing that so much that we decided we would make this a regular affair, exploring food and techniques that we were all interested in.
After a lot of brainstorming and a whole lot of e-mails going up and down, what came up to be explored this month was verrines!
So what is a verrine?
The word “verrine” comes from the French word for glass which is “verre”. A verrine can be sweet or savoury and is an attractively layered appetizer or dessert, which is served in very small glasses. The glasses are usually unstemmed and can range from shot glasses or miniature parfait glasses to small glass bowls.
So a verrine is not only about visual impact, but also about the textures, flavours, colours and even temperatures which all add up to a complete whole. There can be any number of layers to a verrine, but I should think fewer layers would mean no confusion between the various elements.
Verrines are very popular not just because they look good. They’re easy to make, can be made ahead and refrigerated if necessary. They’re excellent to serve at parties and even better when you realize verrines are perfect for portion control!
I knew all of this when we decided to make verrines but what had me stumped were the ingredients. The four of us decided to make the challenge a bit more exciting for ourselves by each of us suggesting an ingredient and then making our verrines with those 4 ingredients.
As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy coming up with a verrine with this combination. Now I know, this would be as familiar as the back of your hand for many of you, but for me this was like being asked to translate something from Greek or Latin.
First of all, we’re not really used to eating our savoury stuff layered in a glass! Chocolate is a wonderful ingredient but in a savoury dish with squash, zucchini and cheese?
The nearest thing to squash I can get here is pumpkin so a quick trip to the market and I got the pumpkin and some zucchini. I rarely out of chocolate or cocoa powder so that was taken care of.
I had some home-made mascarpone in the fridge that needed to be used up so it had to go into the verrine.
I just have to ask this question here. Have any of you ever cooked pumpkin and zucchini together, or have recipes to do so? I would appreciate suggestions or recipes. Thanks.
After much thought and research into the matter (about 3 weeks of it) I finally came up with a savoury pumpkin and coconut mousse topped with creamy herbed mascarpone, garnished with semi-sweet chocolate curls and a crisp zucchini chip.
I had no other brilliant ideas on how to use the chocolate in a savoury dish and pair zucchini with the other 3 ingredients!