About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006
Dinner's at Eight
Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, another meme has come winging its way to me, courtesy of Ellie over at Kitchen Wench. Started by Angelika from The flying Apple (I thought apples fell, sort of like that line from Toy Story..."That's not flying, it's falling with style.")

Anyway the idea behind this meme is to serve a welcoming dinner for fellow food bloggers and the guidelines are as follows,

1. Describe a sort of "signature menu" revealing much of your personal cooking style and culinary preferences; it's up to you how many dishes you choose or if you prefer a buffet or a different way of presentation; let your phantasy play !
2. If you are interested in food/wine pairings you are welcome to add complementary wine suggestions if you like
3. As usual please link to this post and send me a note when your menu is on
4. Please do not forget to tag some of your blogging buddies
5. I am going to list all contributions; I hope this list will get long enough to turn into a little guide to foodbloggers' signatures

So I have thrown open my doors and invited you all inside, come, come in, there is plenty of room. Here is a glass of Champagne, a tasty Bollinger RD and a little something to go with it. A single scallop pierced with a knife, a sliver of black Perigord truffle inserted, quickly pan fried and seasoned with a few flakes of Maldon sea salt and a little drizzle of the finest extra-virgin olive oil. No, no, you don't have to stand back whilst I open the Champagne, I'm not for popping corks off at all angles, finishing up who knows where. A gentle release is what's called for, my bottles of champers all sigh like virgins on their wedding nights, treating them roughly is only for race car drivers. They would have their way with them, then speed off to the next conquest.

Time to be seated and the first course is a long narrow eggplant, baked in the oven till soft, split in half and the flesh scooped out. In the cavity of the eggplant goes a mixture of the eggplant flesh, fresh, not tinned crab meat, a little chopped spring onion, tomato and fresh coriander and just a suggestion of cumin and the barest pinch of cayenne pepper. To go with this, would you like a glass of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc from New Zealand?

I can see you liked that dish so how about the main course? I've gone very blokey for this one. Nothing says man food more clearly than a standing rib roast. I know most fellows accept that on a first date it's off for some sushi, but if you want to really make a man happy, give him some meat. This joint has been roasted to a nice rosy pink and served with a nicely reduced jus. Of course there would be some mini yorkshire puddings (popovers) to sop up the sauce and to balance things out some roasted potatoes and pumpkin, green beans and broccoli. The McAllister is a lovely Australian cabernet blend from Gippsland, not much known outside the mailing list and very ageworthy. This one is 1998 and is showing very well. Not too high in alcohol, nice mulberry fruit and cigar box character, a seamless wine.

Phew, I think I should lighten up a bit with dessert after such a heavy course and fruit would be just the thing. What about some of my apple tart. Inside the pastry case are apple segments that have been cooked in butter and sugar, with a hint of spice. The apples were removed while still firm and the butter, sugar and apple juices are reduced to a caramel, then mixed with a little cream and a couple of egg yolks, then poured onto the apples in the pastry case and baked until set. A cool glass of Muscat de Baume de Venice would set off the tart nicely with its aromatic flavours.

Just before you go, would you like some brewed coffee or tea? You would, that's great! If you still have room, how about this tiny chocolate truffle from monsieur Truffe, that Ed introduced me to. Lovely aren't they? No you can't have another, they've all disappeared.

My last lot of nominees don't seem to have responded, so I will throw this one open to anyone who would like to have a go. You know you would!
  posted at 10:47 am

At 3:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neil, thank you so much and your choice as well as the way you describe it has hooked me ! I will add it to the list tomorrow at the latest. Your menu is mouth-watering as well as the presentation. I also love your choice of wines. Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand is among my most favourites, and I very often serve Muscat/Moscato to accompany dessert. Oh yes, and the apple tart is just the right thing for the flying apple (yes it IS flying when being served such a great menu...) Happy day from Vienna, angelika

At 7:59 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

OMG, I am soooooo gatecrashing this dinner party! And I love yuor description of opening champagne - LOL!

And a thousand apologies for not yet doing my homework re. the last meme - I promise I am getting to it though...

At 11:51 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi angelika, thank-you for such an interesting meme! I bet you don't know that we visit Vienna every week - when we watch Inspector Rex. Just kidding about the apples.

Hi jeanne, you are so welcome along with anyone you would care to bring, right after I have that Mexican feast of yours. I went straight home that night, told D to move over and made proper nachos with homemade salsa and guacamole. No probs about the meme, you have been very busy lately with all your posting. Opening champagne that way should at least get a few men thinking about it!

At 6:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks delightful! I'm glad I tagged you for this, look at what a marvellous feast I got to attend! Well, in my mind anyway :) And to finish that menu with a monsieur truffle treat, perfectly exquisite!

At 2:26 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ellie, thanks for thinking of me. Next week, the diet!


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