I had a wonderful booking at the weekend where a son had booked a meal for his parents’ Birthdays. With my own mum having a significant Birthday approaching it has made me appreciate the standard my peers are setting!
I had one of my favourite themes to date. Many of my diners go for the option of the meal being a surprise and give a list of disliked foods and allergies. There’s usually one or two items that make designing the menu a challenge but for this party everyone ate everything and were all big travellers. The hostess liked spicy food but didn’t want things too hot so we settled on fragrant. That was pretty much all I had on my piece of paper.
The menu bounced around the planet and featured my version of the twice-cooked Vietnamese dish. I grilled marinated mackerel over the central fire pit then finished it with spring onions, peanuts and rice noodles before topping each bowl with crispy shallots.
The main course was smoked pork which had necessitated me going straight from my cosy bed to the fire kitchen to get the coals going in my smoker. The pork cooks for hours and looks pretty uninspiring when taken out as there is a thick black crust. Once cool enough to handle, I then shredded the very moist meat ensuring that as many strips as possible had a tiny bit of the delicious charred bark. This was paired with pineapples filled with egg fried rice cooked in the fire pit.
Dessert used the last of my Seville oranges as I made a version of crepes Suzette with my Seville orange syrup which flamed beautifully thanks to lashings of Cointreau and was served with a Seville ice cream sunflower (I cast ice cream into silicon moulds).
There was also champagne, cocktails, quails eggs with smoked salt and a four-tired Genoese sponge with pear and chocolate mousses. But throughout the sixteen hour day, the only photograph I took was of the pork. The other two pictures are from my holiday in Vietnam.
But there should be some good images coming soon as I’m hosting two media lunches this week which will hopefully generate lots of content for you to feast your eyes on.