Sunday, April 6, 2014

Food Diary - Saturday Night Dinner at Home

There are few things I enjoy more than catching up with friends at home over a good meal and a glass of wine. We were long overdue in catching up with our friend Kim (who actually only lives close by - isn't that always the way!) so last night we did something about that and invited him over for a moochy Saturday night dinner at home.

To start, I came up with a dish that is basically posh eggs on toast - a crunchy base of toasted rustic garlic rubbed bread, piled with Prosciutto, fresh greens, a soft poached free range egg - and finished off with luxurious black truffle butter sauce. The combination of the crunchy bread, velvety eggs, salty Prosciutto and fresh greens created a gorgeous contrast of textures - and that decadent black truffle butter sauce created an entree that was wickedly good.

 Soft Poached Egg on Garlic Toast
With Prosciutto, Greens and Truffle Butter Sauce

I recently purchased a small bottle of Tetsuya's Black Truffle Salsa - which is designed to be used to create the famous truffle butter that he serves in his restaurant. I've been lucky enough to dine at Tetsuya's quite a few times now (in fact we are heading there in a couple of weeks for our wedding anniversary dinner) and the truffle butter is something we always look forward to. Lots of other people clearly think so too, so he now sells the base of it so that people can create their own. I decided to make up a batch of the butter and just warm it through, to create a luxurious sauce. The result was an eye rollingly delicious entree.

If you want to get your hands on some of Tetsuya's Black Truffle Salsa for yourself, you can find it in good gourmet stores, or online. If you are searching for it, it comes in a tiny jar that looks like this -

For the basis of main course, I chose something that I haven't cooked at home for ages - venison. Regular readers of Gourmet Goddess would know that I'm a big fan of game meat, and in the last week or so had been thinking that I wanted to get my hands on some venison to create a dish using Autumn produce. I used a beautiful piece of venison loin, which I marinated in olive oil, some garlic, a splash of raspberry vinegar, crushed juniper berries, pepper and allspice.

I then seared the meat in a very hot pan and transferred it to a 200C oven to cook for 10 minutes. After resting the meat, I carved it and served it with a rich, velvety puree of cauliflower and potato (I used the Dutch Cream variety), roasted beetroot ( which I cut into uniform circles with a cookie cutter, to improve the presentation), toasted hazelnuts, beetroot leaves and a jus that I made from beef stock and Pinot Noir jelly (similar to redcurrant jelly, but made with Pinot grapes) and flavoured with bay leaves from my garden. Yum.

Loin of Venison with Cauliflower & Potato Puree, 
Roasted Beetroot, Hazelnut and Pinot Noir Jus

Venison is a fantastic flavoursome and super lean meat that is not hard to cook with, as long as you choose the right cut for the kind of dish you are making. I chose the loin of the venison, which is cooked for a short time and served medium rare, to rare. The only real thing that you really need to watch for is overcooking. It isn't a meat that is really suited for people who like their meat well done, so if you are making it at home, know your diner's preference. Cooking venison to a well done order will just result in a grey, tough piece of meat. A waste of really excellent produce.

I decided not to make a dessert and to serve a selection of cheeses, fresh pear and some quince paste - but after what was a rich entree and main, we decided that we were all satisfied, and that a cheese plate would just be overkill. The cheese platter might end up being Sunday lunch.

If you like game but have never had a go at cooking venison at home, I really encourage you to give it a try. It isn't hard and makes a great key ingredient for a special meal, whether you are sharing it with guests or not.


1 comment:

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