Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Foundress Feast

The Foundress Feast

For the matriculations of 1964 to 1966
Friday 25th September 2009

Black Sea Bass with Sweet Parsnips, Arrowroot Spinach, Saffron and Vanilla sauce


Medallions of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Garden Vegetables and Bagna Cauda Sauce


Chocolate crème brulee with cherry and hazelnut financier
Sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet


Whipped Brie de Meaux en Feuillete with pepper and baby mache


Dessert Fruit, Petit Fours and French Macaroons

Pembroke College, founded in 1347 by Marie de St Pol, Countess of Pembroke, is the third oldest of the Cambridge colleges and a great place to work. Tonight we are hosting a dinner in honour of our Foundress with alumni members from 1964 to 1966.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Roulade of Poularde wrapped in Swiss Chard with applewood smoked bacon

Tonight we served a dinner for an important corporate client that needed to be first rate. For the main course we tackled Roulade of Poularde wrapped in Swiss Chard with applewood smoked bacon and Pruneaux D’agen. This is a fairly simple dish comprised of ‘gluing’ two breast of poularde together using Transglutaminase (AKA food glue) and then rolling in cling film to create a roulade. The poularde roulade is left in the fridge for 6 hours to set the ‘glue’, we then wrap the roulade with blanched Swiss Chard and rewrap in plastic.

We then cook the poularde sous vide at 62 C for 1 ½ hours, or so the book states. In reality we cooked ours to 68 C for two hours and they turned out perfect; we all feel that some Under Pressure recipes need a higher cooking temperature to ensure food safety.

We serve this with prunes soaked in a red wine syrup, crisp applewood bacon garnish, blanched spring onions, champ potato with cabbage and brunoise vegetables. We finished with a caramelized shallot veal jus.

The rest of tonight’s meal consisted of two dishes from The French Laundry. The first is the iconic Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraiche, and the second is Dungeness Crab Salad with Cucumber Gelee, Grain Mustard Vinaigrette and Frisee Lettuce. The cornets were a last minute decision as we had time to play and thought it would be a nice surprise for our guests (which it was!). Dan Reed, our Australian Chef and I knocked up the tuile mix and salmon tartare in record time only to find our mix was to short; the pastry broke each time we tried to shape the cornets. Not to be outdone, we remade the mix and plowed on to victory! The crab salad is very beautiful with the cucumber juice jelly lifting the dish incredibly well. A special thanks to Shane Miller the Chef pictured on the left in the photo below; Shane, Dan, and Ioana our Sous Chef produced a great dinner! Also pictured below is Savino our Senior Butler; Savino and the front of house team served a splendid meal and provided first class service!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Chestnut Stuffed Four Story Hills Farm Chicken with Celery and Honey Poached Cranberries- The Dinner

This post is meant to be an opportunity to show the Four Story Hills Farm Chicken dish from Under Pressure, we cooked this dish tonight for 24 VIP guests. I described the chicken dish in yesterday's post so I won't repeat myself now, other then to say it tasted great!
To begin tonight's meal we served citrus marinated salmon with orange confit and pea shoot coulis from The French Laundry Cookbook. The salmon was cured with citrus zest, salt and sugar for 3 hours. Tonight we confited the salmon in olive oil at 38 C for 10 minutes; this is one awesome dish, tastes and looks incredible!

Then came the chicken, great dish but needs many hands to plate quickly.

And to finish the meal we served poached fruits in a warm pomegranate sangria with honey ice cream. This great dish came from the cookbook Pier by Greg Doyle; Pier is reputed to be the best seafood restaurant in Australia and is situated in Rose Bay NSW.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Chestnut Stuffed Four Story Hills Farm Chicken with Celery and Honey Poached Cranberries

Ok, I work in Cambridge England so there’s no way to get ‘Four Story Hills Farm Chicken’ for this specific recipe. However, I am using free-range, locally grown chicken sourced from our friends at Charnwood Fayre. This recipe calls for a few hard to get items. Transglutaminase (AKA food glue) is used to ‘glue’ the chicken legs and mousse together; I was able to source this from Infusions in Bury St Edmunds for £60.00 a kilo! The mousse does not contain any eggs but uses polyphosphate to bind the ingredients. I was not able to find this and substituted Sucro from the El Bulli range of emulsifiers. Banyuls, a port vinegar is mixed with honey to glaze the cranberries, I was unable to get this and used sherry vinegar instead. We also substituted mascarpone for the crème fraiche used in the mousse, it tastes better.

Two boned out chicken legs are filled with a chicken breast mousse containing chestnuts, chives and brunoise (small diced vegetables) and vacuum packed flat. They are then cooked sous vide at 64 C for one hour. I don’t know about you but I find the temp a little low and the mousse looked slightly under cooked the first time we tried this. We now cook this at 70 degrees for a little over one-hour and are happy with the results.

The chicken is then taken out of the bag, trimmed nice and square and pan-fried with clarified butter. We then cut the chicken into squares and serve with glazed cranberries, glazed chestnuts, celeriac puree and small slices of celery.

The celery is very nice with this recipe, you have to trim the celery lengthwise to flatten slightly, cut on the bias and then blanch until tender. As you can see from the picture it has a great colour.

The celeriac is vacuum packed with salt and cream and then cooked sous vide at 85 C for 1½ hours then pureed in our vita-prep machine. Cooking vegetables this way retains all the flavour that would otherwise be lost during cooking and produces remarkable results. As we are serving this as part of a three course dinner we have added Anna Potatoes to round off the dish. And to finish we will reduce a little veal jus with a few cranberries and a drop on Madeira, it doesn’t need a jus but this is England and everyone expects their gravy! I will add a picture of the finished dish tomorrow evening after service.