Dinner No 7 hosted by Lucinda

Well it’s deja vu as I sit at the same table writing my intro for my second 8ate club dinner, the only difference is that this time I am writing it retrospectively (what a disorganised Mummy I am!)
I have to say that I went into this without a clear theme or objective other than it was definitely going to be a normal 3 course meal with canapés and petit fours! With this in mind I chose dishes with ingredients that I had never cooked before. So without further waffling here it is or was:

Gazpacho shots with Crevettes and prosciutto cups with goats cheese and fig

Puy Lentil Galettes
Pheasant Saltimbocca with Butternut Squash and Beetroot Jus

White chocolate and Raspberry Creme Brûlée
Petit Fours
Sloe Jelly

Whilst I chose individual dishes based on their ingredients or method of cooking, I did try to ensure that there was enough cohesion between the courses. I must say that I was particularly nervous about delivering this meal, maybe that was because my wing man was in the pub!!

How did it go?
well I was pleasantly surprised and I enjoyed each dish. Although the Gazpacho wasn’t technically difficult I thought they looked appealing and were a bit different for a canapé. The prosciutto cups were a real experiment and I liked the look but thought the taste sensation was ok.
The Starter was not the most attractive but I did enjoy the flavours and textures. I think I cooked the lentils properly and i will definitely use this recipe again in the Summer.
I was delighted with the main course. I did a lot of preparation for this and have never poached meat in cling film before browning it off at the end. I loved the sage influence and the beetroot leaves that accompanied the more delicate flavours of the butternut squash and beetroot. The colours were right up my street and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!
The pudding pushed my stress levels to a degree that I was not comfortable with, the method made sense but the setting/cooking didn’t appear to be doing what I thought it should. I did, however, get to ‘nuke’ it and get my own back on it before presenting this unpredictable dessert to the table. Then came the surprise and utter delight/relief that it had actually worked, yippee!!
The petit fours were another experiment as I adapted a recipe that was intended to accompany a game dish!! I enjoyed the taste but next time I will use a little less of the Agar, a first for me in the world of Japanese seaweed gelling agents!

Overall I was delighted with the meal and hugely relieved that I was able to stack ‘clean’ plates into the dishwasher!! When the culinary talents of your fellow club members are so impressive it is no wonder that I was a little nervous, hence the inability to talk coherently on the night – sorry. So it’s with great pleasure that I now look forward to Emma’s evening, the last of our second round!!

                                                         Gazpacho shots with Crevettes

                                                prosciutto cups with goats cheese and fig

                                                                 Puy Lentil Galettes

                                  Pheasant Saltimbocca with Butternut Squash and Beetroot Jus

White chocolate and Raspberry Creme Brûlée

                                                                             Sloe Jelly

                                                      Alexandra, Sandra, Ellie, Niki

                                                            Emma, Lucinda, Tanyah, Ruth

  1. Anonymous

    from Ellie,
    firstly a big congratulation again to you lucinda, a seamless and perfectly hosted evening, and glad you managed to enjoy it a little bit more than your last meal!
    the table was beautiful, wine superb, and a really nice mix of 8 ladies with alot to say, think we could have gone on all night!
    these for me were the best bit of the night, gazpacho beautiful, and the pancetta baskets were stunning, i will definately make these. crisp salty proscuitto, cold creamy goats cheese that was not overpowering, and lovely soft fig. my number one!
    i agree with you that asthetically these werent amazing, but the lentils were beautifully cooked and the dressing really fresh tasting. i would use the lentils perhaps with cold ham and salads.
    looked amazing on the plate, bright vibrant summery colours. the pheasant was soft and succulent, and not overpowered by the sage. i could see the technique involved, well done.
    a real crowd pleaser with lots of requests for more. i loved that it wasnt too sweet, as white chocolate can be very sweet, but this was matched perfectly by the raspberries and caramelised sugar.
    petit four
    the little jellies looked so lovely on the blue dish, and a very different way of presenting a jelly. i thought the berry taste was stronger than the gin, but that might have been all the lovely wine i was consuming!
    i can safely say that i enjoy this club more with every meal, lucinda all your efforts were hugely appreciated, and i literally cant wait till the next meal!

  2. Tanyah

    I may have to invest in a new camera because it is driving me potty that my pictures do not do the food justice at all.

    This meal was so superb that it actually tarnished a meal out in a restaurant the next day because the restaurant meal did not even come close to your meal Lucinda.

    I came away feeling like I had been in the private dining room of a fine restaurant. There is something special about a circular dining table, you have a wonderful eye for details, everything *looks* so inviting that my whole body was ready to receive a wonderful meal.

    Delicious champage to start and the canapes just looked SO gorgeous – I thoght the shot glasses with their little coloured bottoms and the gorgeous detail on the coctail sticks – all these little details uplift it from 'nice' to 'superb'!
    The crevette was gorgeous and meaty and the gazpacho was just a lovely balance of flavours and still had some texture to it.
    The tiny proscuitto baskets were gorgeous. I have seen this done before and it is an exellent idea – other ways of making baskets such as bread or pastry are always so time consuming, I imagine this can be done fairly simply (easy to say when you've never done it!!). Personally I would have prefered a stronger goats cheese taste but then I am goats cheese addict. The teeny tiny piece of fig was just gorgeous – they really did look too good to eat. And again, details like placing them on slate rather than a plate all help in the overall appeal.

    The starter was so up my street in terms of the flavour of the lentils but I am not sure about the pastry. Just didn't really tie in for me. Not sure what I would do instead. I stole the leftovers of it and had it for lunch the following 2 days very happily 😀 Puy lentils are such a star and I love the fact that both you and Ellie used them in your meals but in such different ways. Doing a sterling job of putting lentils on the culinary map

    The main was nothing short of a triumph. As I said on the night I couldn't really taste the beetroot, and maybe having gone to the trouble of working with beetroot there could have been a little portion of it (I love beetroot!). It looked exquisite, it tasted exquisite, the sage was not too overpowering and the beetroot leaves were so delicious, thank goodness you left them in. The sweetness of the butternut squash was a perfect partner.

    I loved the pudding, to the point that I was genuinely sad when it ended. Get some bigger ramekins!! You would never know the back story of the stress they had caused you. It was a little runny for creme brulee but it didn't matter – I would have eaten another 4 probably given the chance. A perfect sugar crust too.

    The petit four did not do it for me, just too gelatinous, but I would not go for a jelly as a petit four anway.

    I came home blown away by the meal. It is interesting second time round and the standard is so high.

    What I have come away with this time is that I really want to focus on presentation next time. I am famous (the fame does not extend beyond my husband) for making good soup and I think that is because it is *all* about flavour and nothing about presentation. All good, but I want to improve on presentation.

    I love the fact that we understand it is not a competition and can just enjoy each others 'journey'and more importantly enjoy each others delicious food!!!

  3. Anonymous

    This is my second attempt at leaving a comment… I hope it works!
    Alexandra says:
    I am no expert cook, so I feel ill-equipped to do a full blown analysis. However, I am an expert foodie and can safely say I left feeling very happy indeed. If I listed everything I liked, I would just end up listing the entire menu.
    I have to say that the thing I enjoyed the most was the goats cheese basket. I know that Lucinda did not use a recipe, she just improvised. The mark of a naturally talented chef! Who needs a Masterchef book?
    A real humdinger of an evening. Thank you, Lucinda! Thank you, Tanyah. And thank you for the other generous helpings of loveliness around the table from the other guests.
    I hope to see you all again.
    Alexandra x

  4. Anonymous

    I can't believe I'm writing about food so late in the evening! I promised to add my comments to the blog, as this is the rule, so here it is…

    This dinner turned out to be my ‘guilty pleasure’ during a week where a simple and quick meal would be the order of the day – I felt extremely indulged. The great surroundings and lovely company all added to the ambience of the evening. Now, onto the food:

    Canapés – the prosciutto cup with goats cheese and fig was a good start for me. I thought the prosciutto cup was a great idea and worked well with the cheese and juicy fig. The Gazpacho shot had a nice texture and went down well. The cocktail stick added some additional sparkle to the evening too!

    Starter – this dish was nice and as discussed around the table is versatile enough to use all year round. I like puy lentils but usually dress them with a dash of olive oil. I think I will try this dish at home sometime.

    Main dish – I really liked the beetroot jus and the leaves helped ensure the beetroot flavour was captured on the palate without being too intense. The pheasant was juicy and tender. The flavours in this dish combined well and the presentation of the dish was almost tropical with the vibrant red of the jus and the orangey yellow of the butternut squash. Another lovely dish.

    Dessert – Yummy! Every diner finished their dish fairly quickly which speaks louder than words. I even recall a bid for more. This is one of my favourite desserts so another thumbs up from me on this one! The consistency of the topping was perfect with just the right amount of crunch. The raspberries were lovely too and combining them with white chocolate made this dish fall into the ‘divine’ category for me. The work involved in making this Lucinda did not go unnoticed.

    What can I say about the sloe jellies to finish? They were good. Again, actions speak louder than words – everyone had a second helping of these.

    A fellow diner has already mentioned that the evening was akin to a ‘fine dining’ experience. The company was ‘fine’ we certainly enjoyed the ‘dining’ and the experience was priceless. Our host for the evening spoilt us. It was a pleasure to be part of it. Thank you Lucinda for being our host, thank you fellow diners for being such beautiful company and a special thank you to Ellie for taking me as her guest!

    Sandra x

  5. Anonymous

    From Emma

    Bravo Lucinda! another Triumph – you are a Warrior in Yoga and again a Warrior in the Cucina!

    Being married to an Aussie I LOVE Gazpacho – so the shot glasses went down very nicely but I could have stayed at the bar and had about x10! The fig and goats cheese parcels – just melted in the your mouth. And i have to say the Master Chef standard of presentation was wonderful – Canapes I do believe should be delicate but have a punch of flavor and these did that.
    Starter – I loved the lentil creation but with the vol-au-vent case together with it….. I did not feel this was the best match – how could Ottolenghi get this wrong?!
    The main – GOODNESS GRACIOUS it was stunning. I was a pheasant virgin!…..what a way to break my virginity!! That dish was soooooooo special. And the beetroot was a stunning sweet compliment to the other flavors – but the real surprise was those crispy beetroot leaves – WOW!
    And then that delectable dessert (DD) – another dessert triumph for the Mrs L – it was just scrumptious.
    The Petit Fours – not my thing but very very creative and innovative – very HESTON!

    A really lovely night – the food was the high light of the night but as usual the company was pretty special too.

    I did miss that Gorgeous Sommelier though……

    Yes me next – ARRRRRHHHHHHH! Thinking early april after the Easter Hols, is that too late? xxxxxxx

  6. Even I am finding it hard to think of enough adjectives to sum up your fabulous fabulous dinner Hobbit! You really do need to seriously think about entering Master Chef, how on earth you created all those courses, with what seemed effortless grace (you would never have guessed that you were sweating buckets and cursing brulee’s hours earlier!) to the highest of standards that I have EVER experienced in someone’s home is simply INCREDIBLE!!!
    For me, I loved the champagne in the garden room with the elegant canapés that were presented so beautifully and tasted divine. The girly chatter and the very smart menu to study beforehand really set the scene for a special evening.
    Being a yogi, I love a lentil so the starter was right up my street and tasted divine with the 80’s vol-au-vent! They’re back, they’re big and they’re beautiful! I would definitely like this recipe, my only criticism is that I felt it was more a summer dish and made me crave a cold glass of Sancere (which I had…and a sun bed…. which I didn’t!, next time!!)
    The Pheasant was a taste sensation, so delicate I distinctly remember the hint of sage which I adore and the colours were like a rich oil painting that would never dry. Again the presentation was out of this world, in fact I can’t stand haggis but I bet you would present it so beautifully that I would end up eating it and enjoying it. Such a skill, you have it abundance my lovely.
    I have a HUGE sweet tooth, possibly 2 and the white chocolate and raspberry brulee was spot on! I could have eaten the whole flan dish that you had spare in the fridge. Only criticism would be MORE MORE MORE!!! It didn’t make me feel sick at all the balance was perfect and not so sweet that you really could just go on eating it.
    I love Sloe Gin so anything with that in always tickles my fancy. The petit fours did not look real, I still can’t believe that you made them, the girls would love the butterflies although probably minus the gin!
    Oh I could go on forever, I am on a roll. The ambience around the table was just gorgeous. I always enjoy eating at a round table as everyone is involved in the conversation. Your delicate glasses, super shiny silver cutlery, stunning roses set against the blue glass on the crisp white linen just did it for me!!!
    THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH for asking me as your guest, I would not have wanted to miss your evening for the world it was so special. You should feel immensely proud of what you produced, you thought of everything and I LOVED it….. please change the rules and ask me again… he he! x

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.