Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Tomatoes Stuff

This is mainly for Iain's parents to show them the first complete dish using the tomatoes that they have grown! We haven't done anything revolutionary, just sliced some of the toms and peeled others, olive oil-soaked bread chunks, buffalo mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper.

There are about five different varieties here, although most of them are yellow. Thanks Dad and Mum!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Silly Season

Well, Christmas has been and gone, and due to the day it fell on in 2009 we managed to get 4 days off in a row! There was lots of food, wine and pork. Elysia's mum roasted a Wessex Saddleback shoulder at 140 degrees for 7 hours and it was fantastic! Juicy and fatty and tender with garden peas, broad beans and Dutch Cream potatoes!

It was then on to New Year's Eve, the weather was hot and the kitchen was hotter. We ran a 5 course set menu and here's how it went: The photographs were taken on a mobile phone camera but hopefully you get the gist.

We began with an amuse bouche of corn fed chicken galantine with sauce robert (chicken glaze, horseradish, mustard and cream) but we were so busy we forgot to take a photo of it.

First dish was ceviche of Spring Bay farmed scallops with Prosecco sparkling jelly, finely sliced red radish, Ashbolt olive oil, baby purple basil and shiso and pork skin scrtatchings. There was also some pickled pear. The scallops were ceviched in an apple gastrique.

Next up was wagyu beef nicoise salad, pretty much the traditional nicoise comprising of confit potatoes, green beans, spinach, olives, boiled egg and tomatoes dressed with a shallot vinaigrette. breaking with tradition we replaced the tuna with a #9 marble score wagyu sirloin that we sous-vide at 59.5 degrees for 60 minutes (the perfect medium rare) the intra-muscular fat rendered and softened! We added a lemon wedge to squeeze over the beef. Wagyu has an unusual almost lemony flavour of its own and the high fat content obviously makes it rich. We used the pickled quails' eggs that we made a month ago for the egg component.

Intermediate was a clarified unsweetened raspberry cordial, the white granules on the plate are a mixture of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (the fizzing part of sherbet) that dissolves and carbonates the drink while the drinker watches.

Wessex Saddleback pork shin glazed with English mustard, red currant jelly, chicken glaze, shallots and herbs. The dish was based around the idea of ham-steak and pineapple. The pineapple ring was made from clarified sous-vide pineapple to taste like tinned pineapple, set with agar-agar so we could serve it hot. It was set in a petri dish and had the centre cut out to resemble a pineapple ring. The ham was from the Wursthaus and pan-fried until it was golden. Some baby herbs and marigold petals completed the dish.

Rabbit leg and rack was the last of the savoury dishes. we sous-vide the rabbit's hind legs for 12 hours at 74.4 degrees so they were soft and tender. The rack was pan fried. We added "Rabbit Food" spinach puree, carrot puree and green pea puree. roast carrot oil, rabbit sauce baby carrots and fresh buttered peas. The rabbits are the white, farmed variety and came from Victoria.

Pre-dessert was "toffee apple" edible rice paper crystalised and dehydrated in a green apple syrup until it's crunchy and stuck onto a skewer with caramel. The humidity and heat (about 55 degrees) in the kitchen made this dish very difficult. The delicate papery tuilles needed to be kept in the dehydrator until just before they needed to go out to the table to stop them from wilting.

Summer berries with pistachio sugar tuille, meringue, chantilly cream, fennel syrup, aged white balsamic jelly and raspberry fluid gel. The berries were organic strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. We had made an organic black cherry sorbet base but our Pacojet machine broke down right before service so we unfortunately had to leave it off the plate.

Our first-year apprentice Marcus plating the berry dessert.

The night went very well, and we were very happy with all the new dishes, it has given us a lot to think about for our next menu! The spectacular thunder storm that rolled over the top of the restaurant added to the evening! We could hear claps of thunder through the foot-thick sandstone walls!

Aside from all the silly season fun our tomato plants are loaded with little green tomatoes! We will let you know when they are ready for the plate!

Happy New Year! And all the best for 2010 from the Piccalilly team!