Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It was all about P ... erm Pierre Roelof, that is ... our 2nd cookup for 2012

Ok ... P, and that's the normal P that is, descended on us dressed like Nanook of the North in his country road jumper and bespoke boots for the sophomore cookup of the year 2012. (The rest of the party were lounging round in shorts and t-shirts.)

The only menu item that we had confirmed was Pierre Roelof's Fruity Summer dessert ... oh the irony. And P had made the blueberry granita (one of the components in the dessert) beforehand.

We sat down to plan out the rest of the menu. I had already scoured some of our recipe books and picked 2 prawn dishes, one cooked with whiskey and lemon from Tessa Kiros' "Piri Piri Starfish" (amazing book btw) and a prawn in orange sauce number from The De Medici Kitchen. But "fancy" had other ideas from some french number that had like a million steps and processes and the word "quenelle" in it. Guess which one we picked.

There were also a number of mains being bandied about, but considering the complexity of both entree and dessert, we agreed on doing something that was decidedly simpler which was a steamed fish dish from Neil Perry. Although make the mistake of mentioning some mexican/south american chilli derivative, and M is off on a tangent as ill-fated as the Costa Concordia.

So our menu for the evening was as follows:

Entree - Quenelle of Harbour Prawns
Main - Steamed Blue Eye with Black Beans
Dessert - Pierre Roelof's Fruity Summer Dessert

As standard, the dessert gets a look in first. So the mango puree was suitably whipped and aerated, without the aid of a siphon and "light bulbs". Cue lots of insipid laughter and endless discussions about Siphons, sodastreams, and what it all was meant to be/do/mean/get/achieve. At the end of the day, the mango slosh had to be well aerated. So it was in and out of the fridge for a quick shake and stir.

Cooking out the Mango Topping

 In lieu of a Siphon, the trusty Barmix takes over aerating duties

Then there was a mad scramble to cool everything in preparation for making the fluffy quenelles of prawn, cream and creme fraiche. Including the cheats stock which we made with a packet of fish stock, a hastily assembled bouquet garnie, prawn shells, leek and onion.

 Our Stock

Everything had to be cooled down, presumably to stop the prawn mixture 'cooking' in the heat generated by the whizzing and tightening up in the process. I still thought it was a little bit of overkill ... but admittedly the end result was fluffy and light.

So let me break it down for you. With our entree we had to:

- peel prawns and chop then chill in the fridge
- cool food processor container in fridge
- make stock
- blitz prawn, egg, double cream and creme fraiche in cold food processor container

 Blitzing the prawns .. and look at our new acquisition - a blue Cuisineart Mini-Prep Processor - gorgeous!

- chill in the freezer
- take stock off the fire allow to cool
- strain

 Stock and Prawn Muck at the Mixer

- make quennelles and slide into cold water

 "Quenelles" in cold water first

- transfer quenelles into the stock

 Fluffy Pillows billowing on the surf - kinda reminds me of the sea in Mooloolaba when we were there last

- slowly warm until cooked through and allow to cool
- combine cooking liquid with remaining stock to make final sauce
- spread liberally over fluffy prawn pillows, cover with grated gruyere (fancy baulked at the $7 per kilo price tag ... wonder what fancy's bespoke boots cost him per square inch of leather!!)

- bake in the oven till golden

- serve 2 each and watch the hungry hogs sneak more and more on their plates!

Quenelle of King Prawn - Entree is served

Ok let me just say that the entree was a-MA-zing!! A little fiddly with the number of steps, but essentially quite simple to make. The prawn and creme fraiche combo was light and fluffy. M said it was like biting into a thick pile of scrambled egg. The sauce was sweet, creamy and prawny all at the same time, with just the right astringent hit from the melted cheese. Yum.

Meanwhile over in dessert land, P & M were busy making Sago, scraping granita, making lime jelly and cutting fruit. (I'm dodgying the chronology a little bit here ... but baby this post has gotta flow!)

I carried on with basic prep for the main as well as for the accompanying herb, cabbage and cucumber salad dressed in Nuoc Cham - that sweetish fishy dipping sauce you get with spring rolls.

 Blue Eye fillets prepped with Spring Onion shards for resting on

Herbs Ahoy!

It didn't take long for the Fish to be steamed, and for the salad to be tossed.

 Fish ready for the steamer - without sauce

Fish ready for the steamer - drenched in a sauce of black bean, soy, xiao xing, and sesame oil

 So in a flash of about 15mins and after a final flourish of hot oil had been poured over the fillets, our mains were served.

Our Main - Steamed Blue Eye Fillet with Black Bean sauce and Nuoc Cham Herb, Cabbage and cucumber salad

Now let us talk about Pierre Roelof's Fruity Summer Dessert. On paper the idea sounds as delectable as a night at Pierre's legendary dessert evenings at Rosamon. A combination of Mango, Berries, Cucumber, Avocado, lime jelly, Sago, Coconut cream ... such a fusion of flavours and textures and visually quite stunning ... it should have worked ... but sadly, while not a complete failure, I did leave half of mine behind. Its the tartness that I don't enjoy, especially when it isn't offset by anything recognisably sweet. There was already lime jelly in the mix, the avacado and cucumber really didn't need to be drenched in an extra splodge of lime, especially since we were cutting and assembling at the same time, ready to eat soon after. No time for any discolouration to set in.

Couldn't find P's infinitely better pic ... will swop if it crops up again - Our Dessert - Pierre Roelof's Fruity Summer Dessert

I found the folder - here's P's photo

I'm hoping M and P will share their comments on this as I am interested in hearing what they thought of the final product. It didn't sully the rest of the meal by any means. It wasn't that much of a disaster. Besides which there was still a quarter of a bottle left of this amazing German Rhiesling which is currently under $20 at Dan's ... hurry buy buy buy!

Volratz 1573 - 2009 Rhiesling

Anyways. Onwards and upwards ... can't wait for the next one.


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