Below is an article I plan to post on my food blog tomorrow, any feedback would be appreciated as I don't believe I've done a great job with this one!
Imagine how shocked you’d be if, when home in the kitchen with your mother one day, cooking a recipe from her favourite Jamie cookbook, you hear a knock at the door. When you open the door you find Mr Oliver on your doorstep, “Hi, I’m here to help with Sunday Lunch and to explain that tricky recipe to Mom.”
It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say the phone call I received on Monday was quite the same, but close. About 2pm, the phone rings in my office. From the other end of the line, in a French accent I hear, “hello, this is Franck Pontais, author of Terrines and Verrines.” (For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll already be familiar with Franck and his great book Terrines and Verrines, to-date we’ve prepared 18 of his recipes.) In the split second between hearing his name and replying with a cherry “hello Franck, so good of you to call”, many things rushed through my head.
Had his book sales gone south for the winter due to our blog (notice it’s our blog now), had we done a horrible job of replicating his recipes, and as a result, caused his reputation irreversible harm?
As it turns out, Franck is a great guy and is very happy with our blog. He was impressed with our food and said that we’d done a great job with his recipes, phhh! Franck wants to come to Cambridge soon and demonstrate some of his recipes for our chefs; This is great news and I’m busy planning a date and location. So, in honour of my new 'best friend' I'm describing last night’s Formal Hall in reverse order.
The highlight of last night's formal was by far the sweet of Mango, Chocolate and Lemon Custard with Brandy Snap Curls. The recipe for this stunning winter sweet came from Terrines and Verrines, a cookbook of extraordinary quality!
For those who dined last night, and understandably can no longer recall what came before this sugary feast, we started with a prawn pancake on a bed of ginger and carrot emulsion. The savoury crepe was topped with a pea shoot salad. The recipe for the starter came from The French Laundry Cookbook.
The main course of free-range chicken with spaghetti, wild mushroom and lentil jus was another leap of faith on behalf of our chef; e.g. this recipe was made up in my head....
Last night our extra course was savoury, and we followed the French tradition of serving this before the sweet. The purpose of serving the food in this order is to allow the diners to continue with red wine until the sweet course is served. To serve the sweet and then the savoury makes for tricky wine shuffling. The beautiful savoury dish, also from The French Laundry, was Pecorino Toscano cheese with roasted sweet peppers, reduced balsamic, arugula coulis, rocket salad and toasted baguette.