We have now just completed yet another @yourhome dinner and we must say we think it went well rather well…
It’s always a challenge to cook in someone else’s home as there is the vagaries of a strange cooker and different surroundings… but as ever Hari loves a challenge and this was an ask that we could not refuse. So the party was a birthday celebration for a super fit (ask her about her press-ups challenge!) and climbing enthusiast Ruth Malone. I had cooked a couple of times for her sister Hannah and they are both “Twuddlers” who have been very supportive of my little enterprise.
Well, after having spent a week at our home in France I returned laden with some special goodies for their chosen menu…Ruth had left the menu choices pretty much carte blanche to me with the only proviso they had fairly conservative tastes so nothing too off the wall!!!
Well we kicked off the evening in her home with some canapés that are very much my favourites of the moment. I had made some Parmesan Lollipops that with the addition of some caraway seeds made a good visual impact, some mini toasts topped with black olive tapenade provided a nice salty Mediterranean memory and finally shot glasses with a warm pea & curry soup.
One of the guests (Alex) had previously joked he was expecting a KFC meal from Ruth… so we duly obliged him by serving the lollipops in a KFC meal bag… the lengths I had to go to purloin a bag was fun… and another story!!!
We then served the first course a light delicate salmon quenelle mousse that had been poached and served with a warm vinaigrette sauce made with extra virgin olive oil and more unusually a light Cameroon Mango vinegar. The addition of some finely chopped peppers and diced mango and chopped chives provided a stunning visual impact to the salsa, this was well received as plates came back licked clean.
Next we served a dish that had been well received at our last dinners a chicken breast roulade that was stuffed with spinach, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese. We then poached the breasts in a light stock and served the roulade with sherry sauce infused with sun-dried tomatoes. We served this with a creamy gratin dauphinoise and some green beans wrapped in pancetta
We had managed to find a wonderfully ripe Vacherin Mont D’or for me a king of cheeses… this unpasteurised milk cheese is a winter speciality that has a wonderful unctuous flavour best served with a spoon!!! We then also served a cheese made by the cheese shop owner called a “Bleu de rancio”… the blue is a Bleu d’Auvergne and then raisins marinated in a local rancio sherry like wine that is mixed with a cream cheese and layered – it has inspired me to have a go to copy with Hari’s Buttons as served at some of our previous dinners but the real McCoy was very well received.
We had a fresh goats cheese from the Sancerre region creamy and with a light acidic tang and for our hard cheese we had a classic Tomme from the Pyrenees that had been made from the mixed milk of cows, sheep’s and goat and well matured to produce a really strong flavoured cheese. All served with our classic porridge oat biscuits seasoned with sea salt and Szechwan peppercorns.
To complete the meal we then served a dish of grilled slices of fresh pineapple that was then marinated in a syrup of honey and cardamom that with the addition of some ruby red grapefruit segments, blood orange segments and candid peel provided a sweet and citric balance of flavours…With this we served a scoop of coconut ice cream.
Ruth had warned me she was somewhat lacking in the plate department…so we also used our own plates, which have a bit of history… in fact one of my best buys… Robert Niederer designed Hergiswil glass plates from Switzerland. I bought them some fifteen years ago direct from the factory and they are only ever used for special occasions… we felt Ruth’s birthday celebration was such a worthy occasion!
Ruth’s partner Nathan had arranged a celebratory cake that arrived with the men folk singing “Happy Birthday” to her…
It was a very scrummy and moist Carrot Cake topped with four vegetable garnishes… a picture to behold and I presented some homemade chocolate ganache and some Spanish chocolate & almond Turron.
As I left the party with them finishing off the copious wine and leftover cake!!! As I cleared away our debris I managed to reflect upon the evening… It’s always a pleasure to cook and serve a meal to an appreciative audience and we think this one had loved their very exclusive event… so if you find it difficult to make a dinner date chez Hari then why not consider booking Hari for your own exclusive @yourhome event!