This guide helped us decide....
Australia is home to several varieties of pumpkin and squash as you can see here. The taste is sweet and the fleshy texture has converted me into a pumpkin fan. (I wasn't really into pumpkin before I moved here I must admit.)Done with the veggies we rest our legs and recoup before heading to the supermarket for dairy and canned products. Cari susses out some free-range eggs ...
And I have enough cream and butter to give us all a calorie comma!
With a full French meal to prepare we needed a soother before we got to work and Jackie had just the thing. Lapsong Sauchong, a Chinese Tea one of the must eats on the Omnivores 100 can now be crossed off my list. Characterstically smoky it's like a cuppa of campfire!
Jackie shows me the dinnerware for the evening - the perfect thali for our bisque, mignon with sauces and sides right, eh?!
But, is that really enough? We might need to make another trip to the store?!
Gastro girls strike a pose by the stove.
Time-out for a group huddle!
And Kim and gf Sarah arrive just in time for dinner, bringing with them a bottle of Pink Moet!!! Yipee! This birthday keeps getting better and better!
Then it was time to take the fresh lobster that was a deep red and put him in a wooden steamer to cook.
The lobster is ready and the shell has turned a beautiful bright orange.
Here the shell has been taken off carefully and is saved to be added to the stock for flavour.
Allow the lobsters to cool by putting it on ice.
Since the mussels were used merely to create the stock the actual flesh had no scheme in the dinner menu. Amy threw the mussels in salad dish with spicy sliced, red onions, corriander, tomatoes and an aioli styled lemon dressing with Coriole extra virgin olive oil.
In the midst of the flurry in the kitchen this was the only moment that Cari, Jackie and myself (well, actually the whole day I was really an observer) took a break and sat down for a bit. Amy continued stealthily making way - woking on the various courses simultaneously.
Back to the base for the bisque. Mushrooms were quite a bone of contention. Amy puts them in without giving it a thought, while Cari was not comforatble with this at all. According to this Boston girl who is used to Bisque made in the good ol' Yankee way she says mushrooms add a brown tinge, taking away from the characteristic orange blush and adds a strong earthy flavour.
I will have to try a bisque minus the mushrooms to comment - so I guess we just HAVE to have a do over?!!
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add lobster shells and bodies and sauté until shells begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onion and next 8 ingredients.
Mix in brandy and Sherry.
Strain soup through sieve set over large saucepan, pressing firmly on solids. Whisk tomato paste into soup. Simmer until soup is reduced to 3 cups, about 15 minutes.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Look at that beauty...
So much of gorgeous flesh on this guy!
Add cream to soup and simmer 5 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Add to soup and boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Put lobster meat in bottom of bowls and ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with crème fraiche and chives.
Amy takes the 1.5 kg fillet mignon out of the plastic wrapper.
In order to hold the roll in place Amy use some string to hold it firmly in place.
Voila - job well done! Amy you are truly gifted!
1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
2.Pat steaks dry and season both sides with kosher salt.
3. Coarsely crush peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or bottom of a heavy skillet.
4. Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately high heat until hot, about 3 minutes, then add oil, swirling skillet, and sauté steaks in 2 batches, turning over once, about 6 minutes per batch for medium-rare.
5. Transfer steaks as cooked to a heatproof platter and keep warm in oven.
Now for the sauce: 6. Pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes.
Gratin Dauphinois a la Jacquois
4. Bake the gratin until crisp and golden on top, about an hour. serve immediately.
And now on to the sides to serve with the steak, the veggies of course.
1. Combine 4 1/2 cups water, carrots, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar, and coarse salt in heavy large pot.
2. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until carrots are just tender when pierced with knife, about 10 minutes. Drain. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
The harricot verts and asparagus were simply tossed in butter and sauteed.
Pate a Choux
pinch of salt and sugar
1. Mixed the pastry ingredients together well.
2. Add this mixture to a saucepan and cook it on a low temperature constantly stirring with a spatula until is thick like a dough.
3. Allow it to cool and then put it into a pastry bag.
4. In a sill-pad or buttered baking paper over a baking plate draw a circle of dough, then another one in the center and then one on top for these two.
5. Once you have created a snail like pattern and made sure there are no bubbles or gaps, brush it with egg-wash. Then spinkle the top with toasted almonds.
6. Bake for 30 min aprox or until is golden brown in 180 - 200 C degree.
Once it is baked allow it to cool. 7. Then cut it in half.
Course # 2: Fillet Mignon.
This is one meal that is going to live in my memory forever. Wonderful job girls!
And then there was a good half an hour where I got to know Paris alot better!
Content with three perfect courses of delectable French food, we rounded up the night in traditional epicurean style with a cheese platter featuring Epoisses de Bourgogne from the Cote-d-Or, a pungent unpasterised cow's milk cheese popularly known by its distinctive stinky aroma. The odor is so strong it said to be banned from all French public transport similar to the Durian fruit in Singapore that smells of rotting human flesh! Napolean was a big fan of Epoisses and early gourmet Brillat-Savarin himself reffered to it as the King of All Cheeses!
All of us love a good blue on our platter and decided on Bleu de Basque hailing from the Pyrenees range on the France-Spain border. This creamy, crumbly sheep's milk cheese has an unique dimension differing from other blues, with a tinge of fresh hay coming through and a salty tanginess through the veins.
A goats milk cheese, strong yet fruity Caprinelle is from the mid range of the Pyrenees. This cheese is made from milks of Goats that are 3-4 month old. This proved to be a cheese that those on the table that preffered something more subdued enjoyed.