Dinner for the Birthday Girl
Food is all about celebration and connections really, so apart from the exchange of gifts, a tradition anchored in the night of times (dans la nuit des temps...), a birthday would not be complete without the partaking of a nice meal, in this case dinner.
Our boy is away in the Alps riding mountain bikes in Les Gets and off to Castiglioncello in Italy next week, so it is only the three of us.
As you may recall from my last post, we had bought zucchini flowers, goat cheese and scallops from the markets today and I had bought some magret de canard yesterday to recreate a dish that I sampled recently in Melbourne at the Waterfront in Southbank - a very nice place indeed, although you will find a collection of bad reviews for it.
Let's say that I sat at the bar and watched the kitchen buzz, which I really enjoy, and I could not fault any of the dishes being prepared, plated up and served. My meal came quickly enough, the service was attentive and the maitre d knowledgeable about the wine list.
Anyway, moving on to my own kitchen, I prepared baked zucchini with ricotta filling and pecorino as per Carmel's Kitchen recipe (Zav's wife...) and here it is:
Remove the pistils from the flowers and fill with ricotta
Spray olive oil in a baking tray, lay the flowers into tray, season and sprinkle with grated pecorino
Bake for 15mn in oven at 180 degrees Celsius
Serve as an entree.
For the main course, I prepared scallops with duck magret, asparagus and endives.
This is not difficult to prepare, but difficult to serve hot and still rose for the duck, and warm for the scallops...
So, here we go:
Braise the endives until transparent but not fully cooked to keep them almost crunchy.
I achieve that in a pan with a little olive oil, the endives shredded, seasoned and covering the pan with a lid on low heat for 15/20mn. Keep warm in a bowl.
In the same pan, cook the small asparagus and the duck sliced in 3mm thick morsels.
Warm your oven to 120 degrees, place your plates on different trays for 10mn until lukewarm
Plate up the endives in the middle, the aspatragus next to the duck slices and leave enough space in between for the scallops. Put back in the oven after covering with aluminium foil or baking paper to prevent the duck to dry.
Go and enjoy your entree with your guests and a glass of wine.
Then, pan fry the scallops in a large pan with olive oil and some butter, as you want them to cook in a similar way.
30 seconds on one side until brown, then turn them over for another 30 seconds.
Sprinkle with the juice of half a kaffir lime to deglaze the pan.
Remove plates from the oven, plate up the scallops, and serve immediately...yum!
Serve with your favourite Chardonnay and enjoy with no moderation, you are done for the day!
Serve goat cheese with nuts and raisins bread to finish. And enjoy the company of your happy guests:
Happy Birthday, Trish!
The Birthday Girl
July is a busy month for me, as my wife, my sister, my late grandmother and one of my sons have their birthday in July!
So today is my "special girl's" birthday, and we start the day early by going to the Pyrmont Growers Market for breakfast. A quick visit to Zav's stand for zucchini flowers, and to Willowbrae Cheese to have a chat with David and buy some of his goat cheese. Being a gentleman, he offers one to my wife as a birthday present and I buy a tomato fresh curd, my daughter's favorite. Then Tricia hunts for a table in the sun (David mentioned it was -5 degrees Celsius at the farm when they left this morning...so it might be 7 or 8 degrees now here...) and I queue for the goodies, snail and egg and smoked salmon roll, and later for coffee. Then, off for a stroll around and a visit to a new supplier: Lowes Mount Truffles showing the first harvest of the season, amazing! Everybody was haggling for a - small - piece of these marvels...At 2000$/kg, you can probably afford a sample, and it would be enough for a few omelets...
During all that time, we were regaled by Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo fame, teaching us how to make the perfect risotto...a bit of an overdose after George's masterclass on MasterChef last night, but an interesting twist on a classic altogether...
Then, off to the Fish Market to buy scallops, and on to Ultimo Wine Centre for a lovely couple of bottles:
Chablis, Domaine Laroche Saint Martin 2007, one of our favourite French Chardonnay. Tricia did the "vendanges" there a little while ago...(http://www.larochewines.com) and Chartreuse de Bonpas Reserve 2007, a lovely Cotes-du-Rhone, blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (www.louis-bernard.com)
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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