Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Last Night's Formal Hall 19th October

Tonight's Formal Hall menu was inspired by two very good cookbooks. The First 'Cocktail Cuisine' by Tony Botella is a book devoted to amuse bouche style finger food and contained the recipe for tonight's Green Tea and Asparagus.
The second book 'Bouchon' by Thomas Keller is a collection of recipes from his restaurant of the same name that specialises in Bistro Cuisine. As you may remember, Thomas Keller also owns The French Laundry and has a small restaurant empire in Southern California. Below is the Amuse Bouche- Green Tea and Asparagus. Green tea powder is boiled with cream and sugar before being thickened with agar (a vegetarian alternative to gelatin, derived from seaweed). The asparagus tips were blanched and then marinated in lemon zest and olive oil. The finished spoon was garnished with olive oil and fleur de sel. The taste is quite bitter and might not be to everyones taste; however I handed a few of these around the college Monday afternoon and everyone that tried it thought it was quite good.

The starter was a nice winter salad of goat's cheese, roasted baby beets, hazelnuts and winter leaves. The beetroot was roasted in aluminium foil with olive oil and thyme, and then gently rubbed whilst warm to remove the skins. The winter leaves consisted of baby mache, tarragon and parsley. The creaminess of the cheese combined with the crunchy hazelnuts and Dijon dressing is lovely to eat!

For our main course we served Mediterranean Sea Bass cooked with baby fennel, tomato confit, calamari and mussels. The fish was finished with new potatoes and seafood broth.

The sweet, a version of Marquis au chocolat, traditionally a creamy chocolate mousse-chocolate, butter, eggs and cream-was perfected at M. Vrinat's restaurant Tailevent in Paris. The mousse is so dense, thick, and rich that it's sliceable. We served this with creme Anglaise and pistachios. I love the combination of pistachios and chocolate, they work so well together!

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