Thursday, 22 October 2009

Formal Hall Menus 26/10 to 01/11

Feast Night Formal Hall
Monday 26th October

Cream of celeriac and spinach soup
London Broil
Red peppercorn and brandy jus, sautéed courgettes with oregano and tomato
Dauphinoise potatoes

(V) Goat’s Cheese, vanilla and wild mushroom polenta
Vegetable and sautéed onion jus, sautéed courgettes with oregano and tomato
Dauphinoise potatoes
Lemon flan with blackberries
Dessert fruit and petit fours

Feast Night Formal Hall
Tuesday 27th October

Baked Fig and Walnut Tart
Parmesan gratin, honey and balsamic dressing
Chump of Lamb Sous Vide
Sweet parsnip puree, spinach and fondant potato

(V) Chestnut mushroom, leek and potato casserole
Parsley and rosemary dumplings
Poached pear and cinnamon ice cream
Welsh rarebit

Feast Night Formal Hall
Wednesday 28th October

Amuse Bouche
Broccoli, truffle oil, pine nuts and Parmesan
Marinated olives with garlic bread
Char-grilled Salmon Steak
Rocket, broccoli and spinach frittata, garlic and lemon roasted new potatoes
Petit ratatouille sauce

(V) Char-grilled Haloumi
Rocket, broccoli and spinach frittata, garlic and lemon roasted new potatoes
Petit ratatouille sauce
Savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone and coffee

Formal Hall
Thursday 29th October

Spiced Carrot and Coriander Soup
Lemon and Garlic Marinated Loin of Pork
Hot potato salad with spinach and lemon dressing

(V) Organic Vegetable and Quails Egg Cobbler
Roasted Chateau Potatoes
Brulee Orange Tart
Raspberries and coulee

Formal Hall
Friday 30th October

(V) French Onion Soup
Gruyere croute
Slow Roasted Confit of Duck
Roasted sweet potato with Pak choi
Plum jus

(V) Ratatouille filled Aubergine
Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse
Shortbread biscuits

Halloween Formal Hall
Saturday 31st October

Warm Brie in Filo with Fig Relish
Breast of Guinea Fowl with Sausage and Cranberry Farce
Rosemary potatoes, green beans

(V) Aubergine and Mozzarella Steak
Chocolate and Raspberry Fondant

Formal Hall
Sunday 1st November

Smoked Fish Terrine
Lemon confit

(V) Roasted Vegetable Terrine
Red pepper pesto
Roast Breast of Turkey
Sausage stuffing, roast potatoes, panache of winter vegetables
Cranberry jus, bread sauce

(V) Cashew Nut Roast with apricot stuffing
Roast potatoes, panache of winter vegetables
Veggie Cranberry jus, bread sauce
Plum and poppy seed sponge pudding with Custard

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Tonight's Formal Hall 21st October

For tonight's Formal Hall we decided to tackle a recipe from Mr Ramsey's 3-Star Chef cookbook. Duck breast with crushed peas, spinach, pommes de terre puree, glazed onions, salsify and Madeira jus. This dish alone would have been difficult, but due to madness I decided to add a tricky amuse busche and Moules Mariniere to the meal.

The deep fried gruyere cheese was tonight's amuse bouche, we served the cheese on a cocktail pick balanced on a shot glass containing a herb dressing. We only have 100 glasses so dropping one was not an option! A lot of these small hot dishes aren't really designed to be served to large numbers of guest; however I had written and published the menu before the penny dropped!

Mussels are an easy dish to prepare in a restaurant, you use one pan per portion, add wine and onions etc, and cover with a lid. Two minutes later the mussels are done. Deciding to serve mussels to almost 100 people was not quite as easy; the mussels all had to be cooked in one pan at the same time and then 'evenly' portioned. I hope those of you who dined tonight enjoyed the mussels and had enough of them to eat!

The duck was probably the easiest part of the meal. we cooked the duck sous vide and then crisped the skin in a hot pan prior to slicing. I really like the colour and presentation of this dish, I guess this is a reflection on Gordon Ramsey's creativity.

Tonight's sweet was a pear batter cake served with apple sorbet and hazelnut cream. This recipe is from one of my favourite cooking blogs 'Chocolate and Zucchini'. Clotilde Dusoulier, the lady who writes this blog has received many awards and much recognition for her great writing and recipes.

Happy Eating!

Last Night's Formal Hall 20th October

Last Night's Formal Hall was an opportunity to try another recipe from Tony Botella's Cocktail Cuisine cookbook. The Amuse Bouche consisted of pumpkin puree cooked with lots of butter and cream and topped with arouga caviar and orange zest; I've not received any feedback from diners as to whether or not they've liked these small starters, so some feedback would be good (hint, hint!).

Following on from the Amuse Bouche we served Butternut Squash Soup. The soup was garnished with creme fraiche seasoned with nutmeg and chives, and then a little brown butter was whisked in prior to serving. Brown butter is simply butter cooked until it turns a nutty brown colour and adds a nice flavour to the soup.

The winter root vegetable theme was completed by the sweet parsnip puree we served with the slow braised steak and Dauphinoise potatoes. The beef was advertised as being cooked sous vide at 55 degrees C, when in actual fact our steamer malfunctioned Monday night and the beef was actually cooked at closer to 90 degrees C. A new thermostat has been ordered to prevent this happening again! The over-braised steaks were smothered with caramelised shallots and red wine jus.

Last night's sweet was a warm chocolate Bouchon served with clotted cream ice cream and Griotte cherries in kirsch. I eat one of these early in the afternoon and was in heaven! The lovely warm sponge (much like a chocolate brownie) is a recipe from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook and was simply amazing when combined with the clotted cream and the very alcoholic cherries. I hope everyone enjoyed this sweet as much as I did!

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!