Birthday Dinner

Yesterday was Maree’s birthday so what better time than to tick off a few of the more daunting books on the shelf.  The menu was:

Japanese inspired oyster shooters from ezard
Snail porridge from The Fat Duck Cookbook, and
Slow baked quince with creme catalan, Pedro Ximinez gelee and acacia honey granita from Gordon Ramsay 3 star Chef

First up were the oyster shooters.  These weren’t too hard, just needed to prep the shooter mix the day before.  The recipe can be found here.  While preparing the shooter mix, Ezard warns to be careful when igniting the mirin and sake mix and I must say I did fear for my range hood when it was fully alight.  Ezard is a useful book that also contains quite a bit of info on Teague Ezard’s techniques and food philosophy.  We had half a dozen. 

Maree’s one request for this dinner was to have something cooked out of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Cookbook.  This is both one of the more daunting and unique cookbooks in my collection.  It is divided into thirds.  First up is a history of Heston and The Fat Duck, then we launch into the recipes themselves, then finally a section devoted to the science of cooking (no surprises there).  It really is a beautiful book. 

Snail porridge is something that has intrigued me, mainly because of it’s weirdness, so that is what I endeavoured to cook.  Like most of his recipes, there are lots of processes involved, so I was a bit disturbed when I found I would need a pacojet and a pressure cooker, neither of which I own.  So I searched the web and found a friendlier version of the recipe – it can be found here.  Like the oyster shooters, most of the prep was done the day before which was the snail butter as shown below.

I was pleased with how it turned out and quite liked it, though I should admit I did serve it up to the children sans escargot.

Dessert was by Gordon Ramsay.  Maree was fortunate enough to dine with a friend at Ramsay’s Chelsea restaurant a few years ago and was good enough to lug back the cookbook, again a nicely put together book.  I love quince and PX, so the slow baked quince with creme catalan, Pedro Ximenez gelee and acacia honey granita was an easy choice.  The thing I like about this recipe is that it although it has five component parts, each is not difficult, you just have to do a couple the day before, in fact you could do all the parts the day before if you wished which makes it a perfect dish if you are having people over.

The five parts are quince puree, acacia honey granita, pedro ximenez jelly, creme catalan and mint custard.  Possibly would have preferred my creme catalan a bit thicker, so I guess I’ll just have to keep trying till I get it right. 

I should hasten to add that the chef was ably assisted by a couple of glasses of 1986 Marc Bredif Vouvray – how 25yo chenin blanc can taste so good, I don’t know.  We had a 1998 Jean Tardy Nuit St George 1er Cru Les Boudots with dinner and finished off the night with some left over PX – Romate Cardinal Cisneros.  Very nice.

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7 Responses to Birthday Dinner

  1. What a meal! Happy birthday Maree! Where did you source the snails from?

  2. Alison Spencer says:

    oh my, what an exotic meal. Snails? Um unusual choice. A birthday dinner to remember.

  3. H says:

    What a Blumen’ champion meal!

    Next challenge I suppose is whipping up one of Heston’s feasts?

  4. H says:

    P.S. Happy Birthday Maree

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