Table, table here I come
I could eat a goosemoose burger
Fifteen pickles and a purple plum!”
This song went round my head today. We used to sing it at primary school and I remember painting a mural of all the odd foods it mentioned. I know it went on to list lots of nutty sounding foods, and although I can’t remember any more words, or what tune it went to, those lines have stuck with me.
Today as we labelled up a drawing of a lamb with the tasty cuts it yields, and talked about the perils of picking your own wild mushrooms, I was hungry. Although goosemoose burgers weren’t on the menu today, this little lot was:
Vichyssoise served with white bread rolls
Roasted best end of Dorset lamb with Madeira sauce and wild mushrooms
Purple sprouting broccoli, sugar snap peas and fine beans
Grand Marnier sabayon with fresh fruit and praline
We also prepped brown beef stock, poached eggs for tomorrow and made tomato sauce for Friday. Poaching eggs in advance is a genius of an idea, and I don’t know why I’ve not done it before. Poaching multiple eggs will never be a timing nightmare again! The key is fresh eggs, a jug of cold water, paper towels and some forethought.
The beef bones for the stock were roasted off this morning, and the resulting pot of stock bubbled away all day. We put in a team effort to blanch, peel and deseed two kilos of tomatoes for a sauce that we’ll serve on Friday, and Darrin demonstrated making praline which was wise – not sure I’d trust all of us with sugar at 180°C…yet.
Our lunch today was vichyssoise, a soup almost identical to a more commonly cooked bowlful – leek and potato – but liquidised thoroughly, slightly cooler and finished with piped cream and chives. Way more refined than my lunch box staple.
The bread S and I made to accompany it was okay, but I feel more practice at kneading and stretching the dough will help a lot. Matt – aka our flat’s bread baker – can deliver his verdict at the weekend – our spare rolls are bagged up in the freezer ready to come home with us (and of course I have saved the neatest looking ones for that judging!)
The afternoon was more to my liking – preparing best ends of lamb. I’m loving the meat work, and am definitely investing in a boning knife so I can continue to practice at home. The lamb we were using was fantastic local lamb, very young and meltingly tender in our final dish.
And what a final dish. This was a proper dinner party, and dare I say, restaurant-y dish, and one I think I could pull off at home for a decent number, maybe 6-8? Which is something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this time last week (and yes, the queue does start here, but after the extension, okay? Won’t be as good if you all have to eat it off your laps). Presentation was lacking in finesse – greediness won over prettiness – and I’m going to ask our chef for more presentation tips over the rest of the week.
Picking over and prepping wild mushrooms was another new thing to me. I’ve never cooked with them before, and will do now. Cheffy tips on blanching and reheating veg are stored away in the mental cookbook now, as is the recipe and method for Dauphinoise. I’ve never made perfect Dauphinoise before (or any kind of potato gratin – they’ve always been too dry or too wet, never just right), and I know the secrets now. Waistlines, beware.
Darrin rounded the day off by demonstrating sabayon for us all, which was added to the fresh fruit we prepped earlier, blow-torched on top, and sprinkled with the blitzed praline. Yum.
I’m not hungry any more!
New skill of the day: Turning chined racks of lamb into French-trimmed best ends. Loving these butchery skillz.