Sunday, 1 July 2007

Comfort is Secondary

Ok ... so when it comes to couture, comfort is secondary. Anyone who rails against fashion should watch the devil wears prada ... there's a scene where Anne Hathaway sniggers at the notion of choosing between 2 belts that she sees as similar, which leads to Meryl Steep's soliloquy about the cerulean jumper .. top stuff!! But why were we having this convo in the first place ... what was the context and where were we? Well the context was to put it plainly, downing 2 bottles of wine and the where? Well this leads us to the concept of the Cook Up.
P, M and moir get together every once in awhile to do a cook-up. Which is basically an excuse to pig out and drink copious amounts of wine at a leirsurely pace (of course!). However the point of the exercise is to stretch our culinary wings and attempt a meal that we consider to be fiddly and complex enough to stand in the pantheon of haute cuisine ... i.e. if we were running a restaurant, you'd be shelling out at least $40 per plate (we hope).
For our 4th attempt we went to P's  house. And the menu was as follows:
Entree - Buffalo Mozarella in a Red Pepper Sauce
Main - Braised Ox Cheeks in a Red wine sauce with Parmesan and Blue Veined Goats Cheese Mash served with Asparagus and Beans with a Porcini drizzle
Dessert - Creme Caramel with an Orange and Grapefruit sauce
Picking out the menu from our ever burgeoning collection of recipes - glimpse of P's antique table

The day started at about 2pm with a trip down to the organic grocers for some provisions. Those places are dangerous .. they drag you in with their organic and specialty produce and you're suckered at the check out into feeling like you've done a good deed by paying premium prices ... although I have to admit the tomatoes were to die for ... and I'm not entirely a fan.
Then it was off to Simon Johnston ... where I almost had an orgasm in the cheese room ... why is that slightly off fishy smell so appealing? But as per our previous attempt at lobster, we baulked at the prices for black truffle ... $245 for 50gm??? I don't think so!!! So we reassesed the black truffle risotto .. and went with the beans and asparagus. But I am determined to do it one day along with the lobster ... and lets hang the cost!!!
Anyhoo ... back at P's we sat down to a mini lunch of cheese and crackers with scrumptious bread from Babka ... and of course our beloved Turra Murra. And then we got stuck into it ... and the time just flew ... along with any sense of moderation ... so much for my cholestorel level ... !!!
Ox Cheeks: P kindly bought the Ox Cheeks, which he pre-ordered from Jonathan's and then marinaded overnight in wine and your standard provincial carrots, celery, bayleaves, onions etc ... P you are a dedicated follower of all things posh ... and that extends to your wardrobe as well ... I've never seen anyone dress down in cashmere!!!
 Ox Cheeks in red wine marinade

What Ox Cheeks actually look like

I started on entree and got the baking dish ready with the beginnings of the red pepper sauce.
 Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients in tray ready for the oven
The rest of the crew started work on the oxcheeks and the creme caramel.

P & M hard at work in the kitchen
Pretty soon the oxcheeks were braising in the pot with the added veal stock ... the smell was heavenly.
 Slow Braising Ox Cheeks in veal and wine sauce
M prepared the orange/grapefruit citrus sauce for the creme caramel.
 Citrus sauce for the Creme Caramel
More wine and friendly banter about music and fashion ensued till it was time for me to finish off the entree.
 Putting the final touches on our entree

Which we then devoured with gusto:
 The Final result on the stove
 Entree plated and on the table ... please note P's gorgeous house!!
 Buffalo Mozarella in Red Pepper Sauce
 2 soon to be satisfied customers
There's nothing like a red pepper sauce ... goes with bread, pasta, rice ... you name it. I do my spag bol with red pepper sauce too!!! Then it was time for the main event ....plated and ready for the table!!!
 Braised Ox Cheeks in Red Wine sauce, Goats Cheese Mash Potatoes and Beans and Asparagus drizzled with Porcini oil

And here's me ... slightly pissed ... and already full as a goog!!

More wine and friendly banter ... then it was dessert! After spending some time in a makeshift bain marie,

the little angels were ready for the table:
 Creme Caramel ... we did it!!!
All in all , I thought the night was a huge success ... so hurrah to all involved!!! And I'm sorry this all sounds terribly pedestrian ... but its late sunday night and I seriously CBA!!

Can't wait for the next one!!!


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