Easter/Autumn Menu

Autumn. There’s a chill in the air. One might imagine animals brought into the barnyard, the hot breath of Robins (Erithacus rubecula) in the crisp morning, hedgerow fruits, composting oak and birch leaves, undergrowth, game, red Burgundy…

But Easter is at completely the wrong time of year in the southern hemisphere… In Sydney, Australia, autumn fits almost none of the above descriptions.

Despite recent tumultous temperatures, there is a chill in the air, and Burgundian wines are available (even if they come at a significant price)…

Salad of quail breast, aspargus, butter beans, Parmigiano Reggiano, baby lettuce

Salad of quail breast, aspargus, butter beans, Parmigiano Reggiano, baby lettuce

Butter and tarragon white wine vinegar dressing.

Christian Moreau‘s Chablis Les Clos 2008 paired well with this dish, showing lemon butter, freshly cut meadow flowers, and perhaps some quince. It possessed lovely and great length.

“Steak”

Baked watermelon, feta, mint

This was baked en papillote with a little butter and Sherry in a moderate oven for about two hours. The texture is very interesting, almost like lychee flesh, and it doesn’t really taste like watermelon at all. Hong and Kim pair it with feta, balsamic reduction and mint. Even just with feta and mint (here) it works well.

Autumn: Game, smoke and chestnuts

Quail legs, Eucalyptus-smoked baked potato, roast chestnuts, quail jus

Quail legs: pan fried

Potato: boiled, smoked in Eucalyptus leaves, then baked in olive oil with rosemary. The smokiness worked quite well, even if the texture of the mise-en-place-reheated potato wasn’t up to scratch. I was quite worried about them until the final roasting: having eaten too many mildly smoked (i.e., “is it actually smoked?”) components in restaurants in the past, and finding the intensity of my own smoking experiments insufficient in the past, I smoked the sh*t out of these potatoes. The result was that everything that came into contact with them became smoke tainted (the tupperware container that held the smoked potatoes over night still has a little taint after soaking for over a week). Smokiness is one thing, smelling like a bushfire torched everything in sight is another. Fortunately, after the roasting, they presented a smoky note that was distinct yet not overpowering.

Chestnuts: roasted, then marinated in Sherry and stock.

The Domaine des Croix Beaune Cents Vignes 2009 was far too young. The fruit was vibrant and has was some sweetness to it (2009, no doubt). The tannins were quite velvety, but the acid stood out a little, as did the pleasant lick of slightly vanillary oak in the finish. I do find Domaine des Croix wines a little sweet-fruited for what I look for in red Burgundy, but this probably just needs time to integrate and become more savoury and… autumnal.

Shin of beef and unadorned veg

Pressed braised shin of beef, blanched radish and griddled spring onion, beef jus, thyme

I have been leafing through the Noma cookbook recently, and the idea of unadorned root/leafy vegetables caught my interest.
Pressing (finely blended) slow braised shin of beef provides a good form; although I admit that the phallic presentation requires further work, and one mustn’t forget it does require some braising juices to keep the meat moist (no pun intended!).

Cheese and nuts

Poached pear-encased Stilton, spiced walnuts

Easter = Chocolate

Early grey cream, dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie

(1) Perhaps hair driers are too warm to de-mould cold desserts.
(2) Is Dutch processed cocoa really worth it?
(3) Make sure white chocolate content is high when paired with dark chocolate, lest it’s presence be lost.

This entry was posted in Asparagus, Beans, Beef, Cheese, Chocolate, Dessert, Fruit, Menu, Radish, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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