Friday, 29 January 2010

Tonight's Formal Hall 29/01

I'm writing this as those of you who dined tonight are about to be served your sweet. Tonight's Formal began with an unusual prawn and cucumber mousse flavoured with cream cheese and dill. Vegetarians recieved cauliflower puree with pea and truffles.

We followed the starter with a chump of lamb cooked sous vide. The lamb was cooked for 4 hours at 57C. With the lamb we served a fondant potato, spinach and Provencal vegetables.

The highlight of tonights dinner has to be the sweet; this baby would cost you a fortune in a West End restaurant. We served a warm pan perdu flavoured with cumquats, orange blosson panna cotta and mandarin sorbet.

On a final note, a big hello to Sara's Mom back in the US, your daughter is doing fine!


Last Night's Formal Hall 28/01

Darina, pictured below is expecting her second child, a boy, in early April.
Thursday Nights BA dinner and Formal Hall were both served a lovely bowl of French Onion Soup, topped with Gruyere cheese croutons.
Following the soup we served:
Free-Range Chicken filled with Goat's Cheese Mousse
Roasted garlic mash, sauteed spinach and pistachio jus
The mousse is made by blitzing the tenderloins of chicken with egg whites, cream and goat's cheese. We then fold dried apricots and herbs into the mousse before piping it into a small tunnel in the chicken breast. When the chicken is baked the mousse cooks and sets nice and firm. The pistachio paste in the jus mixes well with the apricots, chicken and herbs.
The sweet was the idea of Sara, our talented new chef from America. Sara layered cake, chocolate mousse, orange and pineapple jelly, fresh and dried pineapple and garnished the whole lot with mini chocolate balls with different!
All in all a nice little menu!

Pembroke has 2nd best Formal Hall In Cambridge (despite it's own students not voting!)

It was with mixed emotion that I read the TCS food survey published on Thursday. On the one hand, I was happy to see that Pembroke came in second in the Top Formal Hall category (behind Kings who charge double the price we charge and host one Formal Hall a week, not seven like Pembroke!).
On the other hand, I was a bit surprised that the TCS had received no replies from Pembroke students...are we such a content group that we don't feel the need to 'rate' our food?

What most surprised me was the fact that if NO Pembroke students responded to the survey, then our Formal Hall score was made up solely by non-Pembroke student responses? I guess that is quite an acomplishment?

Imagine how well we could have done if only a few of our own students had responded....

Anyway.....below is the list as published in Thursday's TCS.

Top Formal Halls
(1=best 5=worst)
King’s                            2.18
Corpus Christi                2.26
St. John’s                      2.39
Jesus                           2.61
Peterhouse                   2.69
Magdalene                    2.73
Emmanuel                    2.81
Downing                       2.82
Newnham                     3.08
Queens’                       3.09
Robinson                     3.15
Trinity                         3.16
Murray Edwards            3.19
Trinity Hall                  3.26
St. Catharine’s            3.66
Homerton                   3.67
Fitzwilliam                 3.69
Christ’s                     3.82
Girton                       4.14

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Formal Hall Menu Lent Term Week 4

Feast Night Formal Hall
Monday 1st February

Amuse Bouche
Vodka Sorbet, crème fraiche and caviar
English Cotswold Cheddar and Cauliflower Bisque
Grilled Pork Steaks with Prosciutto and capers
Sweet potato flan and thyme scented courgettes

(V) Provencal Frittata
Lemon Semifreddo
With basil seed sauce

Feast Night Formal Hall
Tuesday 2nd February

Crisp Cakes of Smoked Salmon and Goat’s Cheese
Served with frisee salad and vinaigrette

(V) Goat’s Cheese Mousse
Red Radish and Mange Tout in Watermelon jus
Sautéed Supreme of Chicken
With figs, sweet potato, bacon, and fig brandy sauce

(V) Grilled Quorn Fillet
With figs, sweet potato, and fig brandy sauce
Chocolate and Star Anise Truffle Cake
With fennel ice cream

Feast Night Formal Hall
Wednesday 3rd February

Seared Mackerel Fillet
With pear remoulade and sardine dressing

(V) Poached pear with remoulade
Lime Sorbet
London Broil sous vide
Wilted greens, sautéed potatoes and peppercorn jus

(V) Artichoke and Mushroom Flan
Churros con Chocolate

Formal Hall
Thursday 4th February

Beetroot Puree
With a green bean salad
Grilled Sea Bream
With grapes, mushrooms and broccoli (purple sprouting if available!)
Lemon butter

(V) Falafel Medallions
Pineapple and Strawberry Mousses
With candied basil, basil syrup and strawberry puree

The June Event Launch Formal Hall
Friday 5th February

(V) Aubergine

(V) Risotto
Sorry, you'll have the guess the rest, it's a secret!

Formal Hall
Saturday 6th February

Sun-dried Tomato, Goat’s Cheese, and Rocket Verrine
With warm focaccia
Confit of Duck
Caramelised red cabbage, fondant potato, red onion jus

(V) Aubergine and Mozzarella Steak
Peanut Butter Brownie
Chocolate sauce

Formal Hall
Sunday 7th February

Hot Smoked Salmon Salad
Cashews, orange segments, crisp noodles, and mandarin-soy dressing

(V) Smoked Tofu and Sesame Seed Salad
Cashews, orange segments, crisp noodles, and mandarin-soy dressing
Roast Breast of Guinea Fowl
Celeriac puree, sautéed spinach, Anna Potato
Café au Lait jus

(V) herb Crusted Lentil and Gruyere Bake
Pecan Pie
Treacle Ice Cream

Win a free Formal Hall Ticket and wine with our behind the scenes photos!

In the photographs below there is a glaring mistake with one of the dishes; the first one to spot it will win a free place at Formal Hall and a bottle of wine!
Happy Hunting and the first correct answer in the comments at the bottom of this blog entry wins!

A few photographs showing what goes on behind the scenes most evenings! As you can see we are an equal opportunity employer with four ladies currently working in the kitchens.

Last Night's Formal Hall 27/01

Last night's Formal Hall was partly in celebration of Tom Michaelis' Birthday (our food and bar rep). Tom requested the unusal starter of roasted butternut squash soup with Roquefort ice cream (pacotized of course!). I was not there last night to taste it so any feedback would be useful.

To follow the soup we picked a stunning little number from our new Terrines and Verrines cookbook- Ratatouille in Sauternes Gelee. This is a spectacular little intermezzo served in a shot glass and garnished with dried tomato-looks fantastic!

After the gelle came the evenings main event-surf and Turf, or more specifically:
 Crisp Belly of Pork with Surf Clams
pumpkin puree, pak choi and rosti potato

To finish a lovely evening of celebration we served:
chocolate Creme Brulee
Yogurt sorbet and financier cake

We hope that Tom and everyone else enjoyed last night's dinner.

Last Night's Formal Hall 26/01

Tuesday's Formal Hall began with what quite frankly is a spectacular fish dish. Lightly steamed red mullet set on ripe tomato concasse and served with a lemongrass and tomato essence, wow! This is another inspirational dish from the Pier cookbook, one of Australias best known fish restaurants.

Following the fish we served rare rib of beef with dauphiniose potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish jus. The rib of beef is my favourite cut; it's more tender than sirloin and has more flavour than fillet. Some people don't like it because of the eye of fat in the centre, to them I say 'don't eat it!'

After the rich beef we served a refreshing honey-lemon thyme sorbet with lemon drizzle cake and honeycomb crumbs. The honeycomb was made with freeze dried raspberries and fizzy powder.

The evenings 'extra' course was dessert fruit and homemade petit fours

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Last Night's Formal Hall 25/01

Last night we served a savoury, trufle laced custard as an amuse bouche. The custard was served in an egg shell with toast soldiers. I've been asked to explain how we managed to top the eggs and fill them with the custard.
Firstly you need to buy one of these:

This is a small device we use to crack the top off the eggs so neatly. You place the base of the tool on the top of the egg, pull the spring loaded handle and release; this causes the internal rod to bang the top of the egg and crack it neatly. A video showing how this is done can be found here. The recipe and idea came from the French Laundry cookbook by Thomas Keller.

Following on from the interesting amuse bouche, we served baked trout with cannellini bean, scallion (spring onion), and radish salad finished with an orange and soy glaze. This is a very colourful and flavourful dish that we also nicked from the French Laundry cookbook.

After the fish we moved onto slow-roasted confit of duck with curly kale, baby beets, Anna potatoes and pomegranate jus. The baby beets have a lovely 'earthly' flavour that is perfect for serving during the winter. All the ingredients (except the pomegranate) for this dish were sourced locally and are in season.

To finish another Pembroke Formal we served a white chocolate and espresso tart with a bitter chocolate sorbet. I've not been lucky enough to taste this dish, but I imagine it tasted quite good!

Please let me know if you enjoyed the sweet?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Last Night's Formal Hall 24/01

Sunday's Formal Hall Menu tends to be a more traditional meal due in part to the Fellow's who dine on High Table after Chapel. It has long been tradition to serve fish, followed by roast meat and to finish with a traditional British sweet; last night was no exception. We began the meal with baked salmon, garnished with sun-blushed tomato and olive dressing.

Following on from the salmon we served traditional roast leg of lamb with lots of other traditional stuff....yawnnnnnn...

After the lamb came traditional apple crumble, and custar........zzzzz

Awake again, OK, next Sunday we're cooking a much more interesting menu that hopefully will keep all of us awake.

Fresh Tuna Verrine
Honey and Soy Roasted Breast of Duck
Roasted sweet potato, sugar snap peas, orange zest and honey jus
Cinnamon Tart with fresh berries and roasted figs

I've posted a few photos of what next Sunday's starter might look like here.