Dinner 20

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.

  1. Tanyah

    I knew you would pull it all out of the bag Trish and the image of you smoking that pheasant will be with me forever!

    Wish I had taken a picture of all your trimmings, the table and the setting was so beautiful and as someone else said so well, we were instantly transported – it was lovely. Warm and welcoming. So to the food…
    Smoked pheasant. I am glad that we had all the background for how it was done because it was nice to appreciate all the time and effort that went into it. I am a fan of pheasant although don’t eat it much as I am not married to a shooter and am not a shooter myself! (although I could just go to waitrose!!). This was such a stand out dish that I truly could have eaten it all over again for the main and pudding, each mouthful was succulent, juicy and literally bursting with flavour. My taste buds were in a nightclub with strobe lights. I loved the mustard apricots too – really went perfectly. Was fun to try the balsamic balls too having never had them. I thought they were a bit lost in amongst all the other strong flavours but looked cute and made for a little talking point.
    The duck ragu was lush. Rich, strong and still ducky but not *too* ducky. I know what I mean. I love ways to elevate pasta dishes to dinner party dishes and this definitely fitted that bill. I will be making this when we sort out our recipes page!
    I was so impressed with your sugar craft – I can just imagine you boiling and and twirling away – I have always wanted to have a go at this myself but in my mind it always ends up with my pouring boiling sugar all over myself and having major reconstructive surgery. I love it when someone else tries something I want to as it often gives me the push I need. The dish itself was really nice although I could have done with it not being so cold – I don’t think the flavour of strawberries benefit from being that cold.
    And on to the cheese which in itself was lovely – I am normally far too full to have cheese so it was a smart move to leave any canapes out. The persimmon bread was gorgeous, particularly with the blue – the sweetness went perfectly. I think I ate 4 pieces so I think I did it justice.

    It was a lovely dinner and lovely guests. I love the 8ate!!

  2. Lizzy

    Trish that was such a fabulous meal and the table looked stunning, thank you so much!

    Pheasant salad- I have never cooked pheasant myself and so don’t eat it often but couldn’t stop thinking about it the following day! It was absolutely beautiful, full of flavour and juicy and I love smokey flavours. All of the accompaniments were so exciting, especially the mustard apricots, it was truly delicious all together.

    Duck Ragu- I would love to know which recipe you used for this- it was gorgeous and rich and I am hoping to attempt it this weekend. I really enjoyed every bite and I cant wait to give it a go!

    Rhubarb with marmelade vodka- yummy!! It was gone in seconds, light and refreshingly cold and I was very impressed with the sugar twirls! The whole thing looked so pretty and tasted divine.

    Persimmon bread- A totally new one for me and a winner! I am a big cheese fiend and this went beautifully with the blue cheese especially, I could have carried on for some time with that gorgeous sticky wine!

  3. So sorry this is so late girls. Work has kept me on my toes.

    Funnily enough, as I sat down to write this, I wondered if I could write about the delectable meal you cooked Trish, as it was that long ago. But then seeing the pictures totally took me back and that smoked pheasant has popped up in my mind many a time since; I'm determined to have a go at smoking my own pheasant come autumn. You managed to par the delicate flavours of the game so well with the mustard apricots and the pheasant was juicy (no mean feat with this bird) and pink and perfect. Really different and completely delicious.
    Next to the ragu. It was nice that you kept a 'game' theme running through your menu. It brought the starter and main course together, but I loved your idea of twisting the norm by using duck and also serving it with pasta. I've used venison many a time in a ragu but duck was a treat to the tastebuds. You don't see this often at-all and it totally worked. The sauce was velvet, rich and chocolatey. I can't wait to see your recipe for this as I shall be trying my hand at it.
    After the heaviness (but actually not so) of the first two courses I think you chose and executed the perfect pud. We needed something light and refreshing and this worked really well. Had it been chocolate I think I would have burst!
    Last but by no means least the persimmon bread with fromage. Well, this was just lovely. I was a mouse in a previous life and consequently have a BIG thing for cheese. Persimmon bread went so beautifully with cheese and what a lovely thing to make for ones Christmas dinner table with the cinnamon flavour? A real winner.

    Trish, thank you very much for hosting such a lovely dinner party and having me in your lovely home (I have serious house envy with that view of the harbour!).
    Lastly to all of you who I met round the table. It was great to meet you all and maybe see you around Chichester in the near future!

    Tanyah, if you need any info on blogging I'm more than happy to help! Just shoot me an email.

    Thanks again Trish!

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