Monday, January 17, 2011

A cutie for the new year

... just thought I would show you my first creation of the year. Georgie giraffe. Available here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A feast to bring in 2011

Good day! How are you liking 2011 so far? I think it is quite good. Back to work tomorrow so my views may change, however, for now, I thought I would share my NYE feast.

You may recall the menu. Well, I started to prepare in the morning, making our desserts which were both cold. The chocolate mousse was first. Straight into the fridge!

Then, I made the Green Apple Granita. It was such a simple recipe. I don't have an icecream maker, so I simply froze the mixture in icecube trays and then whizzed them with my hand-held kitchen whizz. Here are the apples simmering in the sugar and juice.

Cold things done, I started on the first dish on the menu, the Tomato Soup. I made it from a recipe in the book Movida Rustica, a Spanish cookbook from the Melbourne restaurant. J's Dad gave it to me for Christmas last year. The soup needed to simmer for quite a while on the stove so I got it going early. Please note my blatant exhibitionism of my new kitchen spoons from Beehive Kitchenware!

Soup done, it was time for little things. Making the sauce for the fish dish, cooking the buttery leeks (another recipe from Movida Rustica), getting out all the plates for the different dishes. Here is Jon preparing his ceviche, with all our plates ready for action.

Then, after a brief pause for some sustenance, we tackled the trickiest part of the day: deboning a spatchcock for the ballotine. A ballotine is simply a fancy French word for a roll of deboned, stuffed meat. We watched this absolutely awesome and amazing video tutorial with Jacques Pepin, and it was actually really fun! Once deboned, I stuffed the spatchcock with a carrot poached in stock, chives, and bacon. Here I am wrapping it tightly in clingwrap, ready for poaching!

So! Into the fridge for the ballotine, and it was time to set the table and chill the wine. This photo shows our sashimi course, which I bought from the fantastic Claudios at the Sydney Fish Market.

I must apologise: from here on in, we were enjoying the meal so much that the photos are few and far between. We did snap a quick one of the vegetable course. Yummo vinagered carrots and the smooth and buttery leeks, and fresh radish.

I have to say that I am quite sad that by far the best course of the night - the Pan Seared Snapper with Corn Puree, Roasted Shallots, Chorizo and Basil - does not have any pictures. It looked and tasted absolutely amazing. I highly recommend you try it if you are looking for a fish dish to impress!

The spatchcock ballotine was absolutely delicious also - even though the preparation was a bit of a disaster. After feeling super proud about deboning and rolling so well, my cling-wrapped friend burst in the simmering water, and so poached without his covering. I thought that would be the end of the flavour, but we fished him out, and pan fried him to finish off the cooking. He was totally fine - and ended up looking very much like my inspiration photograph from Not Quite Nigella's dining experience at Astral restaurant.

After the ballotine came the delicious eye fillet with mash and artichokes, and then, after a brief sojourn to see the fireworks down the road, we came home to enjoy our granita and chocolate mousse in the New Year. And then, an epic washing up session later, there we were in 2011!

How did you spend your New Year? Any cooking adventures planned for 2011?