mercredi, mai 03, 2006

Hubby's 40th Birthday Bash

So the Big Day finally arrived. We had 15 adults (his friends from high school, university, neighbourhood, a few of our common friends...) and 7 children (half of them crazy) to feed on the day. And for once the sky was lenient, the weather warm enough for us to eat out in the garden and it only started raining when we finished dessert (the Birthday cake)!

The Menu ''6 Plats 6 Vins'' was as follows (Dishes in Black and Wines in Red) :

Foie gras entier sur toast
Champagne (from our wedding),
Sauternes Château Pey Arnaud, 1998

Consommé Wantan et ses ravioles chinoises (my plate was the only one with egg and not enough soup)
Les Malautiers, Bandol, 2004

Risotto aux truffes et sa coquille saint jacques
Château Tour Saint Pierre, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 1999

Gigot d’agneau rôti au romarin, pommes sautées et haricot verts
Alloxe Corton, Domaine Prin, 1998

Plateau de fromage « Villers Cotterêts »
(all types of cheeses, forgot to take a pic)
Sarget de Gruaud Larose, Saint Julien, 1999

Fraisier de chez Robert
Champagne

I believe that I've already posted recipes for the Pork and Prawn Wantans in Spiced Beef Consommé and the Rosemary Roast Lamb somewhere in my Blog and will therefore just mention how to prepare the Black Truffle Risotto with Pan-grilled Scallops.

I do not have a highly-refined sense of smell. As such, I am not a fan of black truffles and the exorbitant prices one often has to pay for them do not help to endear me to them. But in order to add some ''class'' to my simple meal and to please those who are sensitive to such pleasures (like the Birthday Boy), I've decided to prepare a dish with the mushroom.

I started out with a classic risotto. Heat up a generous amount of olive oil in a pan and brown some finely diced onions and shallots. Next, add in some white wine, the Arborio rice (not washing it is better in order not to lose too much starch) and mix well. Lower the heat to medium-low. Slowly ladle in salted and peppered chicken stock (about 1 1/2 cups of stock to 1 cup of rice), cover the pot and repeat the operation till all the stock has been absorbed by the rice. That should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in freshly-grated parmesan cheese and add in the black truffles (about 1g per person) sliced up finely, cover the pan and set aside for the aroma of the truffles to be infused in the rice. I didn't use any pancetta or mushrooms for the risotto as the truffles are the highlight of the dish and must not be overpowered by other "cheaper" ingredients.

Next, heat up some olive oil in a frying pan. Add in the fresh scallops (still with the coral if there is any) to grill. If they are thick, you'll be able to grill them nicely on both sides, but if they're not, just concentrate the grilling on one side (the side to be served face-up) so as not to over-cook them. It doesn't matter if the scallops are a little raw inside especially if they are fresh. You do not want rubbery scallops so remember not to overcook. Sprinkle some herbs like parsley, dill and rosemary over them and add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, lower the heat and stir in a few Tbsps of crème fraîche.

While the scallops are searing in the pan, beat some crème liquide in a bowl over a bain-marie and then pour it over the risotto. Serve the risotto with one or 2 scallops (the sauce from the scallops on the scallops), some fresh rocket salad and freshly-sliced parmesan cheese.

During the meal, I was often asked to describe the way I cooked my Pommes de terres à la sarlardaise and so I might as well do it here now. First slice or cube the potatoes (about 1 1/2 big potato pax, and watch out for the race, use potatoes for pan-frying). Heat up a generous amount of duck or goose fat in a big frying pan. Add in the potatoes, salt, pepper, rosemary or Herbes de Provence, leave it cooking for 5 minutes, lower heat to medium and then cover the pan. The potatoes have to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, so it has to cook a little on its side and in its own steam.

Turn over the potatoes when one side is nicely browned so as to brown the other side. Do not stir them too often or they'll break up into pieces. Leave the pan uncovered in the last 5 minutes of the cooking, add in some chopped garlic and then some fresh parsley, adjust the salt and pepper, give everything a good stir and then serve.

We ended the meal with coffee, chocolates, guitar music from one guy, cigars from the Dominican Republic that MIL brought back from her trip there a few weeks ago and the rain. All in all it was a pleasant day and I would like to thank everyone once again for turning up, for all the nice prezzies and good company. See you in a decade (ha ha)!

2 commentaires:

last frontier a dit…

You should open a restaurant ! "Chez Serene" - where all your stomach dreams come true

Beau Lotus a dit…

Feeding friends and family is not the same as feeding paying guests, my dear! Running a restaurant is very hard work and the hours are usually impossible. Best to have the night left to dream :-)

Besides, I prefer work that uses the brain. For me, cooking is relaxation. More with senses than brain.