Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Underground dining featuring Stellekaya wines

It's been a busy week. On Thursday Dave Gilbert and I worked to deliver some appetizers at a charity wine event honoring Ntsiki Biyela - the wine maker from the South African winery called Stellekaya. On Sunday + Chris F and Graeme F. (no relation to each other despite the F. for last names), we put together a 7 course dinner for a carefully selected group of wine and food lovers. In subsequent posts I will outline some of the recipes - at least those that I know about! here, I will simply outline the dishes and attach the required "Food Porn" photographs!

Dave's web site will have more details and more pictures.

The Charity Event
For this event we made 7 appetizers. They ranged from soup to dessert. They are

  • Chinese Pumpkin soup with cinnamon foam and crispy fried sage leaves
  • Seafood lollipops
  • Sous vide beef tenderloin over mealie porage
  • Bacon and eggs - braised pork belly topped with a quail egg and a tomato vinaigrette
  • Spiced fruit beggars' purses
  • Dried fruit shooters with whipped cream and passion fruit puree
  • Layered gelees of Baileys/Banana/Colada and rooibos tea 
Rooibos tea - or red bush tea is a drink made from a bush native to the  Western Cape Province of South Africa. The better grocery stores in the US are beginning to carry it.

The Underground Dinner
This event had 7 courses and was rather more substantial than the charity event. While there was some overlap in dishes, the presentation was quite different.
Dave, Chris F., Graeme F. and I were busy cooking all day Sunday. Dave, of course started much earlier in the week. His planning meant that several of the dishes/ingredients were shared with other events and thus were prepared earlier in the week. Chris F.'s deft hand with the presentation made the dishes look fantastic. Graeme (being the only South African in the kitchen) made the bobotie. The courses were:

  • Chinese pumpkin soup with cinnamon foam, cinnamon perfume and crispy sage leaves. Yes this was a new batch, not left overs from the charity!
  • A trio of South African meats. Biltong and boerewors both (made by Graeme's dad and shipped to me) and Graeme's bobotie.
  • Bacon and eggs - as at the chairty event, except we used sous vide hen eggs this time. This was served with a mushroom ketchup doing duty instead of brown or HP sauce.
  • Kudu biltong (dried, cured kudu - like beef jerky)
  • Duck confit and roasted garlic gnocchi topped with lightly fried monkfish liver
  • Sous vide backstrap of wild venison served over caramelized bananas, garnished with crispy fried plantain strips
  • Red wine poached pears served with a little Cashel blue cheese and home made pistachio brittle.

For this event we made sure we had professional serving help. Nico who has just got his sommelier pin helped Ntsiki with the pouring and kept the cooks honest with place settings, flatware, etc.

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