Sunday, 11 October 2009

BA's Dinner last Thursday

On Thursday we hosted this terms first BA's (graduate students) Dinner in the main hall at Pembroke. The dinner for 120 students and guests began with an Amuse Bouche. We served compressed watermelon topped with Keta caviar, lemon oil, fleur de sel and lime zest. We rubbed a little fish sauce onto the watermelon before we vacuum packed the fruit; the fish sauce added a nice savoury contrast to the sweet fruit.

We followed the Amuse Bouche with:

Baked Trout Fillet
White beans, scallion and radish salad, soy & orange glaze

The fresh trout was topped and tailed prior to being cooked in a 200C oven for 4 minutes. Underneath the trout we served cannellini beans with finely diced leeks, onions and carrots warmed through with butter and white wine. On top we served a chilled salad of radish, scallion and carrot. To accompany the dish we served a warm orange and soy glaze.

For our vegetarian guests we offered heart of palm pan fried in butter, lemon oil and white wine. Heart of palm, also called palm heart, palmito, burglar's thigh, chonta or swamp cabbage, is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees (notably the coconut (Cocos nucifera), Palmito Juçara (Euterpe edulis), Açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea), sabal (Sabal spp.) and pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes) palms). Heart of palm is often eaten in a salad, sometimes called "millionaire's salad".

For the main course we served:

Roulade of Duck with Swiss Chard
Wild mushrooms, creamed corn and fondant potato

To make the roulade we skinned two duck breasts and seasoned them with 4-spice and salt. Next we sprinkled them with transglutaminase (British chef Heston Blumenthal is credited with the introduction of "meat glue" AKA transglutaminase into modern cooking.) and wrapped them in plastic wrap to form a barrel shape. The duck is left in the fridge for six hours allowing the two breasts to bind together. Next we un-wrap the duck, re-wrap in blanched Swiss Chard and then vacuum pack on high. We cook the roulades Sous Vide at 58C for 90 minutes, the finished duck is a lovely pink throughout and incredibly tender!

To finish this amazing meal that only cost £7.25 per person, we served:

Hazelnut and Cherry Cake, Yoghurt Sorbet
Cherry coulis and dark chocolate crème brulee

The yoghurt sorbet works very well with the dark chocolate of the brulee, and when combined with cherries and hazlenuts the result is fantastic.

Another 'school dinner' is served!


  1. The dinner was lovely! The trout and dark chocolate creme brulee were my favourite. Keep up the good work!

  2. This was a wonderful dinner, especially the dessert which I hope to see on a menu again soon. Thank you!