Frank Pontais, author of 'Terrines and Verrines' must be a very smug guy, can you imagine creating a book full of beautiful food and looking at it each day? Feeling a little down? Glance at the book to remind yourself how brilliant you are. Want to impress your neighbours? Leave the book on the coffee table for all to see.
Last Night's starter of beetroot puree with a green bean salad is another of Frank's masterpieces. What we have here is fresh beetroot, roasted, pureed and mixed with double cream and seasoning. On top of this we add blached green beans, baby leeks, fried shallots and beetroot crisps; brilliant! Combine all in a decorate glass and you have the pictures above and below.
I believe that the secret to good food is great taste and great presentation; the sight of good food should fill you with anticipation and hunger! I really think that Frank achieves this with his book.
Following the starter we served grilled sea bream with grapes, mushrooms, purple sprouting broccoli and lemon butter. This is a recipe from the guy with the funny hair, Gary Rhodes.
I used to have hair like that back when I was....18?...OK...16, since then I've been follically challenged ;-(
This recipe was chosen for it's seasonality of ingredients and flavour; I particularly like the mix of fruit and fish. An added bonus was sourcing the sprouting broccoli, which is appearing later than normal due to the recent bad weather.
To finish the meal we looked again to Franck, (the smug genius) for inspiration. This time we attempted 'Pineapple and Strawberry with candied basil leaf'. The idea is to layer two mousses, one pineapple, and one strawberry with basil syrup in between. You top the mousses with strawberry puree and candied basil.
Did we nail this and pay suitable honour to Franck, our inspiration? I'm not 100% sure we did....Looking at one that was left over, I couldn't help to notice the strawberry mousse sloshing around when I picked it up. It appears that the basil syrup was not thick enough and the result was similar to a mix of mousse and jelly; lots of wobble and just a little bit soupy. This though, does not mean it didn't taste good, but it did fail in achieving the double whammy of taste, and presentation!