Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Ok ... the final french cookup for the year ...

And what a whirlwind year it has been for some ... while ours has pretty much stale-mated, lots of things have happened to our ersatz entrepenuer P ... and soon to be art dealer if all goes well I believe ... whats 12% of a million dollars *holds pinkie to side of mouth* (i have to say I wasn't really enamoured with the print straight onto board shizz - looks cheap on closer inspection - but thats just this pleb's opinion) ... anyhoo digressing!!

So after his sojourn to the land of the rising sun, and photographing every single ikebana arrangement (save me!) possibly known to man (should man be predisposed to an appreciation of twigs and coloured birch shoved into glazed jars), we finally caught up with the intrepid P for our final French cook up of the year (oh please ... I'm all choked up like Britney when someone screams ACTION!)

As P is a dear friend, concessions were made which explains the menu for this auspicious occasion:

TERRINE!!! (requires caps ... well if you know me you'd understand)

the book we gave P for a present
the chicken terrine we decided on

For a main, it was Bouillabaise (read SOUP!!! Again with the caps - see above)

stephanie alexander's version but with inspiration from another 3 versions

And for dessert ECLAIRS!!! (Caps again but not for the same reason ... just coz its ECLAIRS!!!)

not sure what paper this is - we cheated on the french bit and used mascarpone instead of just plain cream

As with all our cook-ups, its starts a - table with the recipe books:

There's usually some minor altercation at this point in the proceedings until someone eventually gets stroppy and galvanizes everyone else, i.e. yells, to get the shopping list done as we are running out of time. We usually take turns at playing Sergeant Major!! That reminds me of a story from my conscription days ... hhmm ...

Anyhoo, it was too late for seafood at Vic market so we did South Melbourne Market instead ... we made new friends ... puzzled a few punters ... and then rounded it all of with a quick dim sim (of course!!).\

Back at P's we started on the terrine:

egg and chicken being pureed

shallots being softened

shallots added to the eggs, cream and chicken paste

in with the chives

smoothing the mixture out in our makeshift terrine (P predictably has his eye on a fancy one - an LC no less - oh and LC does not stand for low class as it does in certain singaporean circles)
into the bainmarie covered with foil

And how did it turn out you ask???? well not quite like what the photos in the book showed ... but it was pretty damn yummy nonetheless:

terrine out of the tin

M made a vinaigrette of sorts ... it was the perfect accompaniment

the terrine plated and an idiot wasted!!

As we worked, we enjoyed the delights of this lovely bottle of white that P had hiding in his cupboard:

I believe it was a rhiesling?? Ambrosial!!!

M got to work with the pastry for our Eclairs while the terrine was being prepared:

I wasn't really paying attention as to what went in, but it was bog standard shoux (sic) pastry mix I gather. When M started to mix the mascapone with the vanilla bean ... oh the smell that filled the kitchen ... HEAV - VEN!!

Once the pastry had rested, we scooped it in and all had a go at piping it out onto the baking tray:

well yours truly sucked the most at it ... depsite P's best efforts to guide me ... mine refused to follow a straight line, the muthas, they kept wanting to curve .... hhmm ... that reminds me of that Sergeant Major story again ... hhmm

And how did they turn out you ask??? well lets leave that to the end ... musn't forget about the "main event" .. the BOOYAH! BASE

I think I started with the Rouie first:

basically a red pepper sauce to go either on bread, or to add to the stew at the end as a sort of garnish and thickening agent - made mainly out of roasted peppers and tomatoes.

We then cut up the fish pieces and sliced the potatoes, which were divied up between 2 separate pots along with the shellfish, onions, garlic and tomatoes, and the all important saffron:

from this point onwards, it wasn't too long before we were spooning out into bowls to serve:

served with a simple salad and crusty bread, the general consensus was that it was a definitive success (well ... I would have done things slightly differently ... my version would certainly have a stronger seafood flavour and a much spicier rouie)

As per ush ... by the time we get to this point in the evening, we're either too stuffed or drunk to enjoy our efforts to the full-out extent (props to Lauryn Hill), so we waited for a bit before we hit what was to me the highlight of the evening ... ECLAIRS!!

And to accompany us on the latter half of the evening - a lovely little pinot gris:

my rejects!!

So next year ... what will it be ... the steppes of Andalucia beckon ... !!!


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