Seven Course Tasting Menu near Cirencester

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pavé of Halibut with Oxtail

In case you haven't heard La Belle Assiette is at the forefront of changing the English perception of private chefs. As staying in becomes the new going out, more chefs are giving up the restaurant kitchen stove and taking the restaurant out to people's homes instead. Kind of what I've been doing for the last 10 1/2 years, though now, on occasions, I also do them for La Belle Assiette clients, as I was on this evening.
As I always say to the clients at the events I do - it's much more interesting cooking in a different place each time than being stuck in the same underground kitchen of a hotel or restaurant. And there's also a much better client - chef interaction, none more so than when you are doing a tasting menu.

This was for a joint 30th birthday in early November - so both husband and wife had a decision on the menu. I gave them 4 choices per course to choose from - this is what they chose. I talked about each dish with the guests just before plating it up.
Pork Cheek, Celariac and Watercress
Also making an appearance - romanesco which you burn with a blow torch (gives it a nice barbecue style flavour), toasted pine nuts, pickled butternut squash ribbon, beetroot coulis - all the flavours!
We do quite a lot of hog roasts through the year, and there are always some guests who are in the know and ask for the pig's cheeks & ears - they're the tastiest parts! Slow cook the pigs cheeks and they are meltingly soft. 

Roast Guinea Fowl with Samphire, Gremolata and a Honey and Lemon Dressing
I love samphire with chicken & guineau fowl - the saltiness really seems to work, Samphire has life beyond fish dishes! There was also black pudding, orange, pickled cucumber and crackling. The honey & lemon is a nice light touch to the guineau fowl - you don't want too many heavy things I've found at the begining of a tasting menu. 
The honey & lemon dressing with Guineau Fowl was something I put together once on holiday in Venice - I even cook on holiday!

The red plates were a new find earlier that week. It was love at first sight!
Pavé of Halibut with Oxtail
Fish and meat.... together? For some this might seem an odd combination, but it's really an old French classic pairing. Maybe more like a marriage made in heaven - like the couple celebrating their 30th birthdays!

Also possibly my favourite dish I've done this year! The splat is the new swoosh, but, man it's so much more fun to do! 

It was butternut squash puree in case you're wondering. With a few sprouting lentils dotted around the place. 
Hendricks Gin and Tonic Sorbet
So the birthday girl is an absolute fan of Hendrick's gin and had seen the Hendrick's Gin and Tonic sorbet I had made for another party - so this just had to go on their menu somewhere. Sorbets can seem like a cop out on tasting menus I know, but it sure went down well, and at the end of the day, I'm all about giving people what they like!
Whole Fillet of Beef Wrapped in Wild Mushrooms and Rosemary

Rosemary Roast Whole Fillet of Beef, Rainbow Chard, Wild Mushrooms, Roast Garlic and Oxtail Jus
Luckily it was just the end of pumpkin season. Well, the sale season anyway. People are so fickle - they only seem to buy pumpkins around Hallowe'en time. Then all suppliers stop stocking them because noone wants to buy them. Don't they know how good they are?

These baby pumpkins were filled with rainbow chard - also in season at that time. and there are a few shallots and baby turnips there too. Taste city!

Cotswold Organic Brie baked in Brioche
Using Simon Weaver's Cotswold Brie - I've been to the farm where they make it. You have to dress up in a white coat & hat to go in. So I put some inside the brioche buns, but also a slice on the side - can never have enough brie!

To go with it there were some caramelised oranges I made, pickled figs and pickled cherries that I picked up from Upton Smokery a few days before, and just before I left for this party I found some barberries in the local Turkish shop - their acidity works really well with the brie I found.
Hmm, cheese course or dessert course first? The French would have the cheese first, the English would have the dessert first. On the night we actually went for the English way. 
Pressed Apple with Pistachio Crumble and Blackberry Sorbet
 Like apple and blackberry crumble, but lighter. Served with creme anglaise on the side. The apples are cooked in caramel like you do for tarte tatin and the crumble sprinkled on top. Gotta roll with the times!
Rose Flavoured Macarons
After coffee and rose macarons, it was just a matter of clearing up the kitchen. Really need to work on that self-cleaning kitchen invention.........