Dinner No 20 hosted by Trish: February 2015
I must make a note to myself never to go last. The standard of the 8ate cuisine has been top notch so it was with some trepidation that I embarked on my round.
I was very nervous about my pheasant starter. Was it going to be cooked enough, was it going to be dry? Having never cooked pheasant I have decided to smoke it! I decided that if it ended up being desiccated then we might well have to smoke it. But as it was the web sites that I used were spot on and an internal breast temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit meant that the meat was succulent and moist. Phew! The entrée was a great success. The pheasant was moist and the mustard apricots were piquant and quite unusual. I added some cranberries to my apricots which gave everything a lovely colour and to top off I added a few balsamic pearls which were probably not entirely necessary. My only disappointment was the absence of some enormous purple feathers that did not arrive in time to adorn the table.
My main of duck ragu was very tasty. The duck was quite a heavy dish but it had some really earthy undertones which I enjoyed. I’m afraid I let my pasta stick together a bit so it was not as silky and smooth as I would like and to be honest I would usually make my own but I don’t have a setting wider than tagliatelle on my pasta making machine so that is the excuse I am going to stick to. I have often seen duck with pasta on menus and it seemed a slightly odd combination to me so I was really curious to taste this one. Overall though it was a dish I would make again. We enjoyed with some light reds – merlots and pinot noir worked very well
To finish the rhubarb had a freshness to cleanse the palate which was just what we needed after two fairly heavy courses. My sugar spirals were such a lot of fun to make and they looked reasonably impressive adorning the glass. I had to make them twice as the first lot of sugar burnt – I took it off the heat just at the right time but I used a copper bottomed pan and it kept cooking. I am going to experiment more with those. I would like to try some baskets for ice cream in the future.
Finally we had persimmon bread with cheese. The persimmon bread was really lovely – more of a cake texture than bread but with walnuts and cranberries it had a punch to it. It also had spices which slightly reminded me of earl grey tea. Perhaps next time I will add some earl grey just to see the effect. We had a little glass of orange muscat to complement it all.
Overall I was really pleased with the evening. My son helped me get a fire going and we got lots of candles going and furs on the seats to make it feel a little medieval. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.