Friday, 8 May 2009

The marvels of tomatoes and other yummies!

We well and truly christened our new kitchen the other night with a 4 course feast for some friends. For 2 weeks he the mans and I sat with our cherished books compiling our 4 course menu. I fell in love with a dish from our French Laundry book and just had to try it. The rest was from Gordon Ramsey's 3 star Chef.

When a very good client of mine bought me the book French Laundry, (client is subsequently now a very good friend), looking through its hallowed pages, I never thought Id ever be able to make anything from it. But 2 yrs on and many a meal been made and experimented with, he the mans and I felt brave enough to give it a go. We have never previously made these dishes until the day of the dinner party! Mad I know, but we managed to pull it off to our complete surprise. Although it didn't come easily , the kitchen was a mass of equipment and non stop processes on every surface. It was true organised chaos! We tried our best to stay calm and in control all day preparing, mixing and sieving to our hearts contents! The girls loved seeing this commotion in the kitchen and little cupcake was especially proud of her contribution to the mixing!

Now I know many people would say we weren't being very creative as we didn't come up with something ourselves, but I feel we were really stretched technically and having mastered - will ok may be not quite mastered !! , but having tried , we're are now in a place to start combining our own things, eventually!

Our very own gourmet tasting menu was as follows :

Scallop with sweetcorn puree and truffles - Gordon Ramsay 3 star Chef page 134 Image page 20

Vine ripe tomato sorbet with tomato tartare and chive oil , served with garlic tuiles - French Laundry page 55-56

Navarine of lamb with buttered vegetables with celeriac puree (we substituted with salsify) & Thyme jus - Gordon Ramsay 3 star Chef page 190

Lemon meringue with marinated strawberries - Gordon Ramsay 3 star Chef page 216 Image page 100

Now with the corn puree I really wasn't sold. I thought sweet, creamy & corny = well ick! But Oh my gawwsh , he the mans has become my puree super hero. It came out so moreish and savoury sweet , I couldn't stop eating it the rest of the weekend!

Now onto the Intermezzo or Amuse Bouche. First you start with some tomato's and wow they were some tomato's! They tasted how tomato's you imagine should taste. He the mans made some time the day before at Borough Market to get them, as that seems to be the best place for real produce. There's then roughly 30+ processes that go into the tomato sorbet dish!


then become this

Then I had to boil and re boil this 3 times, that's orange zest by the way

Then I made one of these

The recipe asked for the use of a Tamis - basically a very wide and extremely fine sieve- to finely sieve the tomato puree. The Tamis retails for around £87 , now I know equipment is important , but at this stage of our cooking lives , I'm not quite in need of such a luxury - YET!!! I did however find this cheaper substitute on Amazon , but alas it wasn't available in time and doesn't seem to be available at all now! So I came up with the next best thing ,very fine muslin tied really tight across a bowl!

So it didn't move when I was pushing the tomato puree through twice , I laid it into another bowl.

This was my invention to allow the puree chive and oil mix to drip through to create the fine chive oil for plating up with the tomato's.

He the mans was amazed I managed to do these tuiles , as was I. It involved spreading a fine paste into circles onto greaseproof paper and baking to create crisp savoury nmm nmmmess !!!

and finally its all plated!!! Quick wheres my wine before the next bit!

I'll have to apologise for this image , we just started eating when I remembered I hadn't taken a shot of it. Again there were reams and reams of processes , but he the mans just pottered around the place bringing it all together! He makes it look so easy! I was too busy with my part of the meal to manage to get shots of his work in progress!

and finally dessert. This was a shared effort , again with some more tuiles , this time with pepper, sugar and sesame seeds. We got in a tizz with the meringue as it really wasn't working. Having tried it several times we had to give in due to time. The flavours were right just not the texture. Meringue is such a fine art and this creation called for a soft chewy slab of it, instead we had a crunchy , chewy, foamy, blob of lemony sweet and sour stuff! The sorbet however came out wonderfully, all zingy sweet smooth.

Ive just asked he the mans if he'd do it all again , he said yes , but not for a while!!!

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