I received a request through the website last month to see if I could cater for a VIP private family dinner party – to be served at home for a significant birthday. I love doing these types of events as I can get to create a menu that is tailor made for the guests, in particular for the guest of honour. Incorporating ingredients and matching wines to suit is always an exciting challenge and a lot of fun and this occasion did not disappoint!
First I served up a selection of canapes including (by request) some very difficult to find ox tongue. My Mum and my Grandmother used to cook this, so it was quite nostalgic cooking this up for my VIP guests. The starter featured seared hapuku fillet and the main course, a slow cooked confit of duck served with classic European style winter braised red cabbage..... and a cumin spiced sweet butternut puree.
Dessert – always one of my favourite courses, I made a mini version of the famous Roux Brothers ‘Tarte Tatin’ (upside down apple tarte) which was one of my tasks when I trained at Le Gavroche in London. It has to be prepared with hand made ‘rough puff’ pastry, or quick puff pastry and the other Roux Brothers’ secret is raw apples cooked on a mix of caramel and butter. Mmmmmm, 'delicieux'! This was finished with Sauce Anglaise, honey from my backyard bees in the Crème Chantilly and crisp dehydrated mandarin from innovative local guys at ‘Fresh As’.
It was a fantastic night looking after the guests and a wonderful family of three generations & friends. Plus as a bonus, I also got to team up with one of my young ex Vinnies waiters, who took professional care of all the service and helped me plate up this magical feast!