Fancy Ass Dinner Party
Last month, my wonderful culinary friend hosted a dinner party like no other: The Fancy Ass Dinner Party.
His recipes are top secret, and his methods of preparation extensive, time-consuming and Michelin-worthy. My cooking will never satisfy his standards, but I am happy to be a mere participant in his feeding frenzies.
And whilst I shall never be able to recreate anything like this night, I would like to share it with you, dear readers, simply to demonstrate what is possible with a creative mind, a well-equipped kitchen, and a heart full of love.
(Yes, I know that’s incredibly cheesy, but when you see the food, you’ll understand my emotions!)
The night was black tie, of course. The decor was just as fancy as the food, as we walked in to find a cocktail making station…
The table was perfectly set, with more cutlery than I’ve ever seen in my life.
The canapés on offer were fresh gougères, home-made blini with piped creme fraiche, caviar and coriander, as well as some very flavoursome olives and nuts.
Did I mention that there were wine pairings with every course? Each one was stellar, and it was the first time I’ve really noticed how wine can enhance the flavour of food! (check the menu for details…)
The first course was beef consommé: a masterpiece. We each received exactly one tortellini filled with beef.
But this was no ordinary tortellini. The pasta dough was home-made, the beef shortrib filling had been stewed for 72 hours, and each tortellini was hand-crafted by our chef extraordinaire.
Once we had our bowls, a teapot appeared to pour the consommé on top. I have never seen such clear broth before…
Next up: Halibut, spinach and parsnip purée. It sounds ‘normal’. It was not. The arrangement was worthy of a 7-star restaurant, and the entire thing sat on a bed of saffron and vanilla jus. The multitude of flavours could have been overwhelming, but instead, it was subtle and sweet, with just a hint of savoury from the fish and spinach.
Then it was time for the first meat course: roast pigeon with sweet rhubarb and paper-thin slices of beetroot and carrot. The rich pigeon meat could have been overpowering, but instead, it complemented the vegetables perfectly.
“Pork and apple” was what the menu declared next, but oh, that may be the understatement of the year. Pork cheek, pork belly, and black pudding, with thinly sliced sweetly stewed apples formed into a perfect square, plus a tiny bit of the crispiest crackling ever. I must admit, I am not normally a fan of the sweet-savoury combination, but after this night, I have definitely changed my mind. The pork cheek fell apart on my tongue, as did the belly, whilst the crackling crisped and crunched its way across my palate.
Unfortunately, we were slightly short on time, which meant we had to combine the salad and cheese course (like heathens!). This was the only bit of the dinner I had contributed to, as I paid La Cave à Fromage a visit and picked up the cheese for this.
The salad was drizzled with a sensationally sweet maple dressing and topped off with a few hazelnuts. The cheeses and the crisp fruit and nut slice all just went down a dream (the Gruyère was too strong for me, but I absolutely adored the Brillat-Savarin, as well as the Taleggio).
And finally… Île Flottante. A dessert I was unfamiliar with, but would like to get to know better every day for the rest of my life. I don’t know how he did it, but the fluffiness was like clouds, until you reached the chocolate mousse centre, which was a little heavier, but still dissolved on your tongue. A bit of mint oil, a crisp chocolate biscuit on top and extra chocolate shavings (all home-made, obviously) was the figurative cherry on top.
This dinner party was like no other night I had ever experienced. I for one hope it will become a yearly staple, much like our Weekend of Food!
If you are interested in getting any of the recipes for these dishes, let me know and I’ll try and convince our host to part with them!