Friday, 5 February 2010

Last Night's Formal Hall 04/02

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!
Franck Pontais

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Formal Hall Menu Lent Term Week 5

Feast Night Formal Hall
Monday 8th February

Amuse Bouche
Greek Salad Verrine
Grilled Salmon Gremolata
With rocket sauce and aioli

(V) Tomato and Grilled Aubergine Mille Feuille
Roasted Supreme of Free-Range Chicken
Pea and spinach risotto with Parmesan, red pepper reduction

(V) Artichoke, Pea, Spinach, and Red Pepper Risotto
Parmesan cheese
Coconut Panna Cotta
Mango puree and lime sorbet

Feast Night Formal Hall
Tuesday 9th February

Carrot and Lentil Soup
Dusted with paprika
Roast Loin of Pork sous vide with Chestnuts
Crème de cassis grapes, fine beans, and rosemary potatoes

(V) Chestnut and Lentil Loaf
Baileys Chocolate Mousse
Dessert Fruit and Petit Fours

Feast Night Formal Hall
Wednesday 10th February

Carpaccio of Smoked Halibut
With purple cress salad

(V) Carpaccio of Celeriac
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Pan Roasted Cod
With baby beetroot, fried Cavolo Nero,
Pancetta and saffron banyuls

(V) Apricot and couscous filo parcel with grilled tofu
Quince and Chestnut Tart
With chestnut ice cream

Formal Hall
Thursday 11th February

Parmesan Custard
With shaved asparagus, broccolini,
Edamame beans, lemon oil and anchoïade
Leg of Lamb with Flageolets and Thyme Jus
Fondant potato

(V) Italian roasted red pepper and Bean Medallions
Apple-Butter Crepes
With Calvados sauce and green apple sorbet

Valentines Formal Hall
Friday 12th February

Duck Confit
With Marinated Figs and Coriander

(V) Grilled Figs and Stilton
Pan-Roasted Salmon
Parisienne potato, celeriac puree, and lentils
Truffle jelly and Madeira sauce

(V) Ravioli of Mediterranean Vegetables
Parmesan cheese and Tomato coulee
Sumac Strawberries and Cream
With white chocolate sponge cake and plum wine jelly

No Formal Hall Saturday due to the Regatta Dinner

Formal Hall
Sunday 14th February

Potted salmon
Melba toast and chutney

(V) White Bean, Rosemary, Garlic Pate
Roast sirloin of beef
Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, broccoli, onion jus

(V) Country Garden Cottage Pie
Rhubarb crumble

Last Night's Formal Hall 03/02

Wednesday's Formal Hall started with seared fillet of mackerel on a bed of pear remoulade and finished with a sardine dressing. Remoulade or rémoulade, invented in France, is a popular condiment in many countries. Very much like the tartar sauce of some English-speaking cultures, remoulade is often aioli- or mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, it is often more yellowish (or reddish in Louisiana), often flavored with curry, and sometimes contains chopped pickles or piccalilli. It can also contain horseradish, paprika, anchovies, capers and a host of other items. While its original purpose was possibly for serving with meats, it is now more often used as an accompaniment to seafood dishes, especially pan-fried breaded fish fillets (primarily sole and plaice). We based our version on celeriac and pear with a mayonnaise base.
 The mackerel isn't a delicately flavoured fish and its richness doesn't always lend itself well to a simple 'lemon and herbs' pairing. But given the right treatment it is a fantastically moist, flavoursome fish that makes an inexpensive and very healthy meal. Hence the remoulade and mackerel pairing.

Following the mackerel we served London Broil. London broil is a North American beef-based food dish usually made by broiling or grilling marinated flank or round steak and then cutting it against the grain into thin strips. The origin of the name is obscure; the food is unknown in London, England. We sourced flank steak from our local butcher, marinated and briefly grilled the meat, and then cooked sous vide at 57C for 10 hours. The result? Mouth wateringly tender, medium-rare beef with great flavour. To accompany the beef we served wilted greens, sauteed potatoes and peppercorn jus.

I've recently been asked to include photos of the vegetarian options so here goes. Last night the veggies were served Artichoke and Mushroom Flan for a main course.
As you can clearly see, we look after the vegetarian's as well as the carnivore's
To finish the meal we served a Spanish style sweet of:
Churros con Chocolate
Churros are similar to doughnuts and are deep-fried and then rolled in cinnamon sugar, yum! With the Churros we served a cinnamon flavoured chocolate ganache (a thin chocolate mousse).
¡Gracias y buen apetito!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Last Night's Formal Hall 02/02

Tuesday's Formal Hall began with smoked salmon and goat's cheese cakes coated in Panko breadcrumbs. The smoked salmon and goat's cheese was mixed with crisp bacon lardons, spring onions, capers and pepper before being coated in Panko. What is Panko? Panko is a variety of bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods such as tonkatsu. Panko is made from bread without crusts, thus it has a crisper, airier texture than most types of breading found in Western cuisine. Americans are increasingly familair with panko as many US restaurants use it to bread fish.
The fishy/cheesey cakes looked like.....
The recipe for this came from the Geronimo cookbook mentioned on Monday.
After the starter came an interesting intermezo, red radish and melon in watermelon jus.
This small dish consisted of watermelon, honeydew melon, sliced radish and chilli garnished with dried pancetta. The melon is scooped into balls with the leftover flesh pureed, juiced and poured over the radish. This was another recipe from Terrines and Verrines.
The main course consisted of free-range supreme of chicken with bacon, roasted sweet potato, fresh figs and brandy sauce. Looks very, very tasty!
For the sweet we served quite possibly the dish of the week. Chocolate and star anise truffle cake with fennel ice cream. This might sound odd but take my word for it, sweet fennel ice cream is amazing! It's taken me 43 years to realise the potential of mixing vegetables with ice cream-the flavour is so so subtle and the natural anise flavour of the fennel is truely sublime when mixed with chocolate.
My God, this sweet was sooooo good!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Last Night's Formal Hall 01/02/

Last Night's Formal Hall menu was a combination of recipes from the Geronimo Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Geronimo has won various awards and has a 4-star AAA rating (the AAA is the equivalent of the AA in the UK). We purchased their cookbook about three weeks ago and this is the first time we've tried the recipes.
We started the dinner with an amuse bouche of:
Vodka Sorbet
Creme fraiche and Caviar
This sorbet was flavoured with lemon and served with cucumber, sweet onion, creme fraiche and caviar!
Following the amuse bouche we served:
English Cotswold Cheddar and Cauliflower Bisque
This type of soup is not really my 'cup of tea' but hopefully everyone enjoyed it.
After the bisque we had grilled pork with Prosciutto, capers, sweet potato flan and thyme scented courgettes. The sweet potato flan was similar to Dauphinoise potatoes, but set with egg instead of cream.
Below is a good photo of Sara, Darina and Ioana serving up the main course. This great trio make up 3 of our 4 female chefs.
To finish the meal we served lemon semifreddo with a basil seed sauce. Semifreddo is a frozen mousse and has a lighter texture than ice cream. The sweet sauce if garnished with basil seeds soaked in syrup until they've plumped-up. Basil seeds are widely used in Asia for sweets and cold drinks.
We hope you had a good dinner!