New Year’s Eve Dinner 2006

iced berry sorbet

Following on the heels of last year’s New Year’s Eve Dinner party for 11 we thought we’d try again with 16 and a n extra course in there. Sue and Chook hosted and I did the cooking. This took a good two days – the idea was to prep before so I could sit down and enjoy the meal now and then. There was also the essential martini testing. It was a great deal of fun and it’s lovely to have an opportunity to cook for that many friends on an important night of the year. Not all went to plan but ah well. I think what I was happiest with was that there were a few things people hadn’t had before without alienating anybody.

All the photos are here on flickr and many thanks to Kate for taking pics for me.

Things kicked off well with a pre-guests-arrive bottle of Veuve Cliqout, which I could get used to.

quail and chorizo
Apéritifs
Assorted Martinis
Quail Eggs on Chorizo with Aioli

Chook became Mr Martini as guests arrived. They’re a great way to get things rolling. I mumbled stuff about them putting people into a state of deep booze, like REM sleep. The reality is, they’re just a respectable way of drinking straight booze. Oh I couldn’t drink a glass of vodka, oh what’s this? and olive. Popularised in the 50’s as a salve for losing the McClusky Sporting Goods Account and a pot roast not quite up to standards.
Peeling quail eggs is a complete bastard. Boiling them is easy, just pop them in a pan of water, bring it to the boil, and remove after one minute.
As seen at Maggie Taberer’s birthday party.

oysters

Appetizer
Oysters
with
Lemon-Lime Hollandaise
Crème Fraîche and Salmon Roe
Chilli Coriander Champagne Sorbet

Oysters are the best. Lemon-lime hollandaise is the one from summer from Forrest Hill winery. Crème Fraîche and salmon roe is a reappearance from last year.The chilli coriander champagne sorbet is completely made up and I was thinking of a frozen pho with champagne as the sour stock, a bit of sugar for sweetness and then chilli and coriander added. I was ready to ditch it but it actually worked well.
Nice thing was, every one of them was at least somebody’s favourite.

asparagus and gazpacho

Soup
Gazpacho with Crayish Mousse and Asparagus Bavarois


This was my – I will attempt something classically french and overly ambitious thing.
The gazpacho was for summer and was easy (peeling and seeding tomatoes does take time). Because it was dinner, I pulled back on the cucumber, and the capsicum as it didn’t want it too spicy. A few chopped tomatoes mixed in before serving added texture.
The plan for the bavarois was that I’d place a crayfish mousse in the centre. Initially I thought I’d go for a loaf shape and slice it but that shape was taken by the vegetable terrine.
A crayfish mousse is similar in principle to a salmon mousse. Steaming it in a tiny muffin muffin tin, it went to crap, I’m not sure why, maybe not enough egg white. Tasted alright and it would be covered up by the bavarois. Slightly flavoured with a simple bisque made from the head of the crayfish.
The asparagus idea came from dinner at Bouchon Bistro in Wembley, which is extremely good, and I couldn’t believe it’s just down the road from me and I hadn’t been before. A useful guide was in the Age. Gelatine is still a dark art and I feel it may have been a little on the soft side, although a busy fridge is less than ideal for setting. I use leaf gelatine because it’s got German on it.
Very tasty. It’s be a nice thing to master.

table setting

Vegetables
Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Vinaigrette


Sue made this and it was lovely. There’s nothing like the natural sweetness that comes from roasted vegetables.

champagne speck and scallop risotto

Entree
Scallop with Champagne and Speck Risotto


This was going to be a pork cheek and scallop salad after I got Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating but Wing Hong was all out so Toni suggested a risotto.
Made my own chicken stock to go with the champagne and it had a slighty smokey taste. It could have been the pork trotters but I think not straining it was have caused a few bits to catch and burn when reducing. No bad thing.

borscht sorbet

Breather
Borscht Sorbet


Beetroot is sweet so it’s not going to freak people out and it’s also savoury. Can’t remeber how I did this. Ahhmmm. Roasted beetroot for sweetness then peeled and grated it. A cupful cooked in some chicken stock, added back and them pureed with cucumber and a splash of vodka to keep it a bit runny and give it a bit of bite.
Remember to remove from freezer a little before serving.

wagyu

Main
Eye Fillet of Wagyu
Several Mushroom Clafoutis
Cannellini Bean Puree
and Jus


This is from down south in WA and I was a bit handy because the Graeme from Dorper Lamb dropped it off at my place. It was a monster piece – 3.4 kilograms. I wasn’t sure quite how to approach it so I divided it into three roughly equal pieces, one slightly smaller for the better done crowd.
I’d sear it and then cook it in the oven at a very high heat. The spell in the oven wasn’t quite enough because I was overly worried about over-cooking it so I sliced it into 16 portions, researed it, and then sliced each piece for serving.
Canellini Bean Puree was from Summer and is beans pureed with sherry vinegar and olive oil.
The clafoutis had field mushrooms, porcini and the ominous trumpet d’mort.It was like the cherry clafoutis earlier but without sugar.
I reserved the soaking water and added a little to the jus, which was a beef stock I made and then reduced with pan scrapings after deglazing with red wine.
A bit of crayfish on top for extra flash.
Time slipped away and thanks to the magic of Time Fixer -always fixin’ time – the clock mysteriously stopped for 20 minutes.
Sparklers, Poppers and Moet. More Martinis!

Cheese

I know french is poor form at New Year but it does make sense in meal sequence.

frozen berry souffle

Dessert
Frozen Berry Souffle


This is a Michel Roux Jr recipe (Le Gavroche is pretty much my where I end up in how to do things these days) and it’s kind of tricky. A kilo of berries pureed with 150g sugar, 80ml of whipped to soft peaks cream folded in.
Tricky bit was the egg whites. They’re beaten to bubbly and then 250g of sugar is boiled with 500ml of water up to 120C and then poured into the whites while the beater is running until the egg white has “cooled”. I had no idea what was supposed to be happening here but it did work. Fold in to mix.
Kind of interesting is that it takes ages to reach 120C. I thought the thermometer had stuck at 100 but realised it wasn’t until the water boiled off that the boiling point could rise – there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Keep in mind it’s facking hot and sticky – proper shoes, don’t lick the spoon etc.
It was supposed to pop up over the rameking with a wrap of greaseproof paper for the purpose but I miscalculated the volume not allowing for the volume of water boiling off.

I drank, bummed cigarettes and chatted to the sound of happy dishwashing before finding a sofa on which to relax and then that was that. Happy New Year all.

souffle finished


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16 comments

  1. Jeanne’s avatar

    OK, best you set another place at the table next year – I’m gatecrashing!!! I’d fly over for the oysters alone… All the best for 2007 :-)

  2. Chubby Hubby’s avatar

    Anthony, you really do need to start a catering company! I’m sure many of us would like you to recreate that meal. Happy new year buddy!

  3. Santos’s avatar

    frozen chicken stock. mmmm.

  4. Reid’s avatar

    Anthony,

    I wish I could have been there. It all sounds so delicious!

  5. Ellie’s avatar

    What a feast! The picture of the creation looks sweet, but it’s the one below of all the empty ramekins that just killed me with jealousy. A kilo of berries at this time of year? If not frozen, that might just send me to the poorhouse!

  6. Gracianne’s avatar

    Sorry I am late to wish you a great New Year. I have been quite busy in the kitchen these days, but nothing compared to you. I am amazed by all you prepared in two days. Can I invite you next year?
    I’d like to taste that chili-coriander-champagne sorbet.

  7. Anthony’s avatar

    Happy New Years All

    Jeanne
    A bit of advance notice so I can at least get you your own dozen.

    CH
    Friends are much more forgiving of mistakes(like missing NY by 20 minutes) and not having any forks for mains. But if someone out there is willing to put up with that and pay me, I’m right here.

    Santos
    For you frozen chicken stock. For me a bold colour statement to wake the eyes as much as the palate.Actually I don’t think I had this course.

    Reid
    I think you would have made a great guest.

    Ellie
    All gone. The blueberries and the strawberries were fresh but the gooseberries and the raspberries not. Cheaper than steak!

    Gracianne
    It’s to recompense for not doing much in the kitchen of late. You can invite me next year but I’m terrible at getting overseas.
    It was surprisingly good (I thought it wouldn’t work.)

  8. Anonymous’s avatar

    Very creative with the quial eggs :) The chinese usually cook them with white fungus, lotus seeds with rock sugar dessert, would luv to try your recipe sometime. By the way, great presentation on all your scrumptious eats, cheers & happy 2007 ! :)

  9. Stephanie’s avatar

    Oh, Anthony!

    What a gorgeous meal!

    I’m fairly certain I couldn’t eat a thing…and I don’t drink…but I’d have been happy to sit and look at everything!

    Happy ’07 to you…

  10. Anonymous’s avatar

    Happy New Year to you, looks like a damn fine feed, my festive season was much less of a problem as we went out for dinner instead, will post that on the blog soometime soon. A propos of which, I’ve moved mine to http://tedalog.blogspot.com/ if you could be so kind as to change my link that would be totally IOUworthy. Maybe sometime this year I might finally make it to a blogger/foodblogger do, who knows, we have strange comets and portents in the skies m’lord…

  11. Anonymous’s avatar

    Oh and I forgot – something I don’t know a name for but you may want a stick-to-ribs breakfast one morning while avoiding the shit out of that frou-frou Continental stuff…

    I start this breakfast the preceding day – I go to a Temptations bakery outlet and get a loaf of German Rye and Caraway sourdough, which by the way is juts great any way you can get it, then the following morning I slice it into 0.5cm wafers and brush one side with evoo, then stick it under the grill along with some krakowwurst which is sliced lengthways (and which I bought at the deli next to Temptations, there’s always one nearby) and to lengths that will fit on the bread.

    Let the bread go slightly brown on the oil side, remove. Spread lightly with a good German mustard, by now the wurst is over too, it should be starting to crisp in spots, lay it on the bread rounds and enjoy as hot as possible.

    Has to be eaten with either a black coffee or a beer. Yes, at breakfast, because beer was once a traditional breakfast food. Yes, I’ve done both, despite shwoing up for work smelling like a pils brewer. Damn I miss the Middle Ages…

    The rye semicrisps are also very nice with other smallgoods and cheeses but I reckon this is the best. Could perhaps become an EOMEOTE item given some form of savoury egg topping?

  12. Sarah’s avatar

    Um okay now I am starving! Great presentation! Happy New Year!

  13. Sarah’s avatar

    I forgot to ask, What exactly do Quail Eggs taste like?

  14. plum’s avatar

    Looks spectacular! What a great way to see in the New Year.

  15. Anthony’s avatar

    Hello all. Thanks for the comments and kind words. Just got back from being away.

    MW – it’s pretty easy (apart from the peeling). Would like to have a recipe for the white fungus and lotus seed recipe.

    Stephanie
    I could have done you a tasting plate with the gazpacho and the bean puree with the vegetable terrine followed by dessert : ) I think we had a feew Shirley Temples going for the two expecting ladies.

    Ted
    Hello. I’ll get in there and fix it, just spent a week trying to back up through blogger to no avail.Brekky sounds great, I’ve always found mornings ot be the wurst time of the day.

    Sarah
    Happy New Year! The taste pretty much like eggs, only smaller.

    Plum
    It is/was, and hopefully again this year.

  16. Sarah’s avatar

    Thanks Anthony! I guess I must try something new! Can’t wait!

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