Tuesday, 22 May 2012

French night

We really worked for this one, completing a record five recipes in the one night. Really getting through the cookbooks here. We've cooked from around 40 (maybe a third of the way there).

Unfortunately we couldn't make it to our friend Mark's birthday dinner at Eau de Vie.  So we invited him and a few others around for a dinner party on Friday night.  We have a few theme menus up our sleeves so we gave him the option of French or British.  Being a man of distinction, Mark of course chose French.

On the French menu was Croque Madame from Bill Granger Everyday, Lyonaisse Terrine from Professional Charcuterie, Canard de l'Orange from Classic French Cooking, Gratin Dauphinois from the Pleasure of the Table and Saint Honoré from The Art of French Baking.

Painstakingly placing what seemed like the smallest potatoes
in the worldin to a pretty arrangement (not just on the top layer either!)

A lack of foresight meant that Thursday night after work was spent making Veal stock (which would be the start of the sauce for the canard de l'orange), the Lyonnaise terrine and preparing the dauphinois potato.  This all meant that our Friday was slightly less frantic.

Always been a big fan of anything small (or big for that matter) so the Croque Madame's made with baguette and quails eggs were a hit in my eyes.

Canard de l'orange -A really tasty dish.  Full of butter -we all felt our arteries tighten a little that night. Probably has something to do with the book being published in the 1970's (a simpler time before calorie counting and low GI).  The food styling was our attempt at replicating the glamorous over the top vibe of the book.  It looks a little amateur, but I can assure you the taste far exceeded the look -and that's what really counts right?

The birthday boy with his Saint (dis)Honore cake.
1. Croque madame -We made as canapes with quails eggs and sliced baguette for our arriving guests.  They went down a treat.  Everyone likes mini stuff though!
2. Lyonnaise terrine -Pork, veal and chicken livers encased in crepinette.  Great textures and flavours.  We served it with toasted challah and some homemade chutney.
3. Gratin dauphinois -The decision to use kipfler potatoes was a bit of a time kill, but it looked great! Surprised by the lack of cream or any kind of liquid in this dish. 
4. Canard de l'orange -The hero of the night.  We made 2 for ten people.  It could have been significantly less, it was so rich that only a small amount was needed.  The flavour of the sauce amazing, but seeing a pound of butter being casually whisked in was not.
5. Saint Honore -A few melt downs over the choux pastry ring, the saint honore cream and the overall presentation but everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It was the perfect ending to a night of excess.
Would we make this again?:
Yes, maybe, yes, yes with half the butter and yes to get it right.

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