Matt's Food Blog

Tom’s Birthday DinDins!

It’s been just under a week since about a week ago which was the time appointed for Tom’s Dinner Party, see the menu below – here’s how it went:

Tom and I managed to restrain ourselves from proper drinking for at least an hour or two during our afternoon prep. A delicious shandy (made with Estrella) staved off proper booze til later. Food was for twelve including ourselves – once everyone had arrived it was time for some fizz (Piper Heidsieck Blue Top) – then swiftly on to the first course:

Smoked Eel Parfait, Rhubarb, Soy, Konbu Crisps

This went down well – though I forgot to add a sprinkling of salt at the last minute so they were a little under seasoned I think (it’s a problem to salt the gels while making them as it can disrupt the set).

Next up, Miso Soup:

Miso Soup, Prawns, Negi

This tasted great – I’d made fresh dashi and we used dark miso – we hadn’t been able to get mackerel so subbed prawns – negi is just scallions but sounds cooler. Time for our little selection of bites:

Cod and Potato Crostini, Sumac Spiced Chicken, Deep Fried Egg Yolk

Really good I think – though the egg yolks weren’t as gorgeously unctuous as they should be as they warmed (too much) in the oven. Mrs Scrumulous had made the gorgeous little cones for the sumac chicken. For all (I think) of us sumac was a new experience – reminded me of tamarind with that sour/tart component.

Time for Tom’s butternut squash risotto – totally delish:

Roast Butternut Squash Risotto, Queen Scallops, Cauliflower Foam, Parmesan Crisp

This dish was paired with a great Côtes Du Rhône Blanc from E. Guigal (2007). Tom had picked up some wine from one of his favourite shops – Bennet’s Wine Warehouse in Warrenpoint.

By this stage of the evening our commitment to full photographic documentation of the food was compromised by blood alcohol levels – so you’ll have to imagine the rest. The venison tartare was great – with one disappointment which was the complete reluctance of the wasabi mix to spherificate (if that’s a word) – so it became a wasabi dressing, here’s what they looked like when I’d practised them earlier:

Practising Sweet Wasabi Spherification

The big main was confit duck with pommes sarladaise and madeira sauce. The duck had been cooked using the Modernist Cuisine cure mix, then sous vided at 82°C for 8 Hours – and tasted great. The potatoes were lovely – and Tom’s madeira sauce was a MONSTER! Perfect. Another great wine from Bennet’s with this course, from the same producer: E. Guigal, this time their red from 2007. Brilliantly balanced and not too overpowering so perfect for the duck.

We finished off with some Tarte au Citron I’d made which we enjoyed a glass of Tokaji with – that is as far as I remember… Anyway – this is not the actual tarte, but a body double:

Tarte au Citron

All in all – scrumulous, and a great way to spend time with some of my favourite people; I’ve just about recovered.