Well we seem to be doing something right as we have just completed yet another @your home dinner for a client.
This was to be a birthday celebration that was to entertain some friends of hosts Catherine and birthday boy Jon in a novel and different way.
I duly arrived laden with food and a selection of plates to ensure six hungry guests would be well fed and to prepare the final bits to the chosen menu.
I was also rather lucky as I had a “Hari’s little helper” as well to get stuck into helping in the making of my canapés, which proved to be very useful.
Their son Edward got stuck in and he managed to produce some lovely Parmesan lollipops and some black olive tapenade toasts for me and seemed to show some early signs of being a passionate cook! The other canapé we served was a smoked salmon roulade with cream cheese flavoured with horseradish.
The table all laid by the host Catherine and the kitchen all neat and tidy meant all I had to do was get their first course ready and once again Hari’s little helper was on hand to give me a helping hand. Their first course was to be a simple but visually appealing dish that I had done at my recent fish tales dinner.
The use of a paper bag to steam some fresh fish would be the first course. A bed of vegetable julienne (thin matchstick strips) using carrot, leek and fennel was placed onto a damp rectangle of baking parchment. The fish we used was a scallop, sliver of cod and then a Hastings Skate Knob (cheek). Once seasoned and with a splash of white wine and knob of butter the parcels were sealed and placed upon a baking sheet ready to be placed into a very hot pre heated oven to cook for about eight minutes. The paper dries and puffs up with the trapped steam within thus cooking the fish. Served directly to the table in the paper bag means there is an element of theatre at the table as the bags are cut open and the steam escapes. It is a great visual and olfactory sensation.
The next course was a roasted fillet of beef that we served with a Pommes Darphin – grated raw potato that was moulded into a round, a wild mushroom fricassee that included fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms along with some dried cepes, and then a rich red wine jus. The beef we used was an awesome Scottish Extra matured (21 days minimum ageing) fillet. It was good to see all the plates came back cleared so it must have gone down well.
Next we served our little cheese boards that included what is now a firm favourite with us the Winterdale Shaw made by Robin & Carla Betts. An un-pasteurised milk cheddar style cheese from the top of Wrotham Hill. With this we also served a Stichleton that was outstanding and seemed to go down very well.
Finally we served what we believe was “Birthday Boy” Jon’s favourite pudding some Hazelnut meringues which we sandwiched with a mascarpone cream flavoured with orange and marmalade and then we served a chocolate and hazelnut sauce over the top of them and some orange segments and candid zest.
It like the rest of the meal was pretty well polished off and some contented diners seemed well relaxed as I loaded up the car and headed home.
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