The title says it all. What an absolutely insanely great success the dinner party was on Saturday night. There were many factors that contributed to this. The company of course (for anyone that went and is reading this 🙂 ) was fervent and lively with an appreciation for food, life and of course liquid refreshment. There was an eclectic mix of music ranging from some golden oldies to up-to-the-minute dance and pop tunes. The mix of pinot grigio, shiraz, champagne, beer and stickies (dessert wines) meant that this was more of a sit down, stand up, dance around, sit down kind of dinner party. But of course for the two chefs of the night it was a wonderful mix of team work and skill to deliver the seven courses on time and wonderfully presented, whilst also being able to sit down and enjoy them. I have to say that towards the end trying to present became a little precarious as the jumping grape and carbonated hops were taking effect, but nonetheless all was great.
To backtrack a little, the success of the dinner party was down to careful planning and a couple of days of mis-en-place. The first elements were the stocks; in this case lamb stock and chicken stock. These were made first, as a lamb stock for example takes about 5-6 hours to prepare. Then you have things like preparing sauces, the base for the dessert, sorbet, and other components that can sit in a fridge or freezer for a day or so. The real fun bits were some of the creative elements. For example, I played around with the idea of a tomato based shooter which I can tell you morphed from gazpacho jelly spheres suspended in a thickened tomato water through to a gazpacho sorbet with tomato foam. I really love playing around with things like this, and was extremely happy with the final version.
Irene (the co-chef) played around with elements of the starter which she had invented; a magnificent and stunning looking pepper (capsicum) lasagne. Also, there was sugar work going on, ganache being made, lamb being marinated, vegetables prepared, chestnuts being peeled (which I have to say is the most painful and laborious of all the preparation), mousse being set, racks and racks of dishes being washed and much toing and froing across the street from one kitchen to another.
As a team we worked incredibly well, and because everything was planned there was no stress or pressure whatsoever; even through service everything just seemed to run a like a finely tuned Swiss watch.
So here is the final menu from the night:
Bite Sized Aperitifs
Slow cooked salt marinated pork
Porcini mushroom soup with marscapone, truffle oil and croutons served in espresso cups
(to drink: Sieur d’Arques Grande Cuvée 1531 de Aimery)
Soba noodles with sesame oil and salmon roe served on spoons
(To drink: Asahi beer)
3 colour pepper (capsicum) lasagne with candied smoked pancetta crisp, yellow pepper puree and parsley oil.
(To drink: Tar & Roses Pinot Grigio)
Chilled tomato cappuccino: gazpacho sorbet with Smirnoff topped with tomato water foam and smoky paprika, served in a shot glass.
Lamb shanks marinated venison style with redcurrant sauce and Jerusalem artichoke puree, braised chestnuts with double smoked Kaiserfleisch lardons, braised baby onions, peas and broad beans, and pea mousse.
(To drink: Tar and Roses Heathcote Shiraz)
Chocolate ganache delice and praline crunch with raspberry coulis, raspberry vinegar marinated raspberries, black pepper sugar decorations and a caramel and crackle surprise.
(To drink: in a true un-sommelier type fashion I don’t have the name other than ‘dessert wine’ – however, at this point I think we were all not too fussed what the name was)
I will start to post recipes on the blog over the next couple of weeks. I hope it can provide you with inspiration and ideas. Ps. Sunday was a rather slow day.