Monday, May 05, 2008

Dinner party debrief

I mentioned the dinner party I had on Saturday night - it was the first formal dinner party I've had in ages and so I thought I'd post the menu and my thoughts on its execution.

  • Avocado soup (served cold topped with caviar) - Semillon Champagne
  • Tartare of ocean trout with sushi rice, avocado and grapes - Chilled Sake
  • Grilled breast of duck with apple and ginger dipping sauce (served with steamed veg) - A couple of shirazes
  • Citrus syrup cake with double cream - A couple of dessert wines
The first 3 are Tetsuya's recipes. I was a little concerned that we may need to order pizza since I had never tried a recipe from that book, and it is a little short on details (but definitely not on ingredients). Thankfully my guesses mostly worked and everything was edible at least (well almost).

I liked the avocado soup, but I wouldn't take Tets' recommendation to increase the quantity from a cup to a bowl to make a real entree. Way too rich. Nearly everyone liked it, which is not too bad considering it was so intense.

The tartare was awesome. I am so making that again, despite having to peel 30 grapes - it has to be said that was not the high point of the cooking experience. I definitely don't want to work in Tets' kitchen....

The duck was good, but I botched the thing in many ways. There wasn't enough (despite quadrupling the serves in the recipe), I overcooked the duck, I forgot the two garnishes (leeks for the duck and black sesame seeds for the dipping sauce) and the dipping sauce should have been made a few more days in advance (rather than just over 24hrs in advance). I would also do different veg next time. I will do it again though, until I get it right damnit!

The cake was good - fairly tart, and I just served heaps of it to make up for the lack of duck. It also went well with the stickies. I have only just started doing desserts other than cheese (due to hubby's gout), and they definitely make a good support for a sticky.

So it has increased my confidence to try some other recipes from the book, although maybe only one or two new ones at a time from now on. We have another dinner party next weekend, so I had better start planning...


  1. You're intimidatingly adventurous with your cooking, you know this don't you? :D Also, I want that cake recipe! I'm not usually a cake person but I REALLY liked that one. Not asking for the tartare recipe, divine though it was, I don't see myself as a grape peeling type ;-)

    Thank you for a lovely meal and very pleasant evening all round. Sorry to hear Elissa wasn't well, take it the croup stayed away?

  2. That's a serious kind a of a dinner party - peeled grapes!; duck! Very impressive. We stick to afternoon teas for social event now, to avoid meltdowns that something so ambitious would surely bring on to us.

    Well done

  3. That is some fancy cooking!

    My dinner party menu is pretty well limited to roasted chicken!

    -radical mama

  4. Cooking is my sole creative outlet. I have black thumbs in the garden, I can't make anything to save my life, don't have a musical bone in my body... you get the idea. Cooking is it, hence the enthusiasm. Although I'm drawing a blank on inspiration for tomorrow night. Just can't settle on a theme I like...