Dinner No 8 hosted by Emma Schwarz
Well it’s official – my love for cooking. knew I liked cooking, but I did not realise quite how much I LOVE IT……until “My 8ate club dinner”.
Right from the start I loved the creativity of choosing the menu – I had to theme the food, otherwise I would have driven myself crazy with the choices!
So – my theme: “What’s in season”:
Sliced Baguette with Radishes and Walnut Miso Butter
Smoked Mackerel Filled Chicory Cups
Lime-cured Sea Trout with Wasabi dressing and Toasted Sourdough
Watercress and Wild Garlic Soup
Crab Linguine with Champagne and Chilli Sauce
Accompanied by a Green Salad with Asparagus, dressed in homemade mint infused oil
Rhubarb Tart with Mascarpone and Rhubarb spaghetti on the side drizzled in melted white chocolate
Mini Passion Fruit Meringues
Girly Gourmet Goody Box
Pop corn and salted chocolate Macaroons!
Given this theme, the sourcing was so much fun – a little bit “La dee da!” i.e “female with too much time on her hands, spending more than the weekly food budget! buying the best she could from the best!!”. But given that I am in the shopping business, my whole business philosophy is that shopping HAS to be pleasurable and inspiring and my trips to East Wittering, The Cowdray Estate, The Chichester Market and others were indeed pleasurable and a welcome break from the normal/mundane supermarket trip.
My culinary goals were all about being true to 8ate club and “facing my food prep fears” and I can honestly say I feel like I have been to a “foodie re-hab” and sorted out any future trepidations that I may have about giving difficult things a go in the kitchen.
I was delighted with my palette pleasers – my favorite being the home cured trout – that whole curing business is very satisfying, I love anything that is “authentic SLOW FOOD” – and I love asian influences. Plus I simply adore the presentation opportunity this dish gave and the ability to add in the wasabi dressing and ice cold vodka shot – such a socially engaging and fun dish. Although as I said on the night, I wish my 45 degree slices had been thinner – Christmas pressie this year will involve asking for sharp commercial quality knives!
Smoked mackerel – not that adventurous but yum, and the miso buttered toasted sourdough, with sliced radish and cress – I just loved this dish because of the quirky and totally innovative combo – an eclectic contemporary taste explosion.
My soup again was a good example of slow food – it had been maturing over 36 hours before being served. I actually think the cream could have been left out completely – and what a thrill to use wild garlic!
The main – MASSIVE PHEW – the past prep scared me the most – there seemed to be lots that could go wrong. Plus my lifetime dream is to live in italy one day (got married there!!), so I reckon the pressure was on because if I stuffed up the pasta maybe I was secretly fearing my ability to be accepted by the locals in Italy!! One of the funniest things happened when I produced the pretty perfect looking linguine strips out of the machine – without thought or warning I shouted “Mama’s made the pasta” in a loud, booming, strongly accented voice…..Mark who was on an important conference call to the US, did not know what on earth I was going on about!
The salty sea fresh crab with the limey buttery champagne and chilli sauce worked great – so glad I did not cook the crab in the sauce and rob any of its authentic sea flavour – thanks to the tip from my restauranteur friend Lisa Pizza!!
The Granita – simple fun fresh entremets – did what the blog said it would, so great choice. And Ellie I love your idea of doing it with kids. Plus next time I would be bold and not serve it in glass but just balance the skin on a banana leaf to show off the frozen sugar crystals.
The Tart – good old Nigel S never has let me down yet……
The Grande Fours – the Meringues – too big for my liking and not refined enough in the presentation but great flavor and I was happy with the gooey ness of the center however I think I would reduce the cornflour and arrow root powder.
The Macaroons – don’t think Laduree will hire me anytime soon but once more they tasted good!
All that’s left to say is – “I sooooo loved the experience and feel totally blessed to have been involved, I am also inspired to continue pushing myself and I can’t wait to talk more with Tanya, Ellie and Lucinda about the charity angle that this 8ate club has……….”
Preparation pictures from during the day….