As you know I love cooking, just last weekend I spent the afternoon whipping up a batch of ANZAC biscuits. And whilst I fancy myself as a bit of a skilled cook, I certainly don't find myself throwing together fine dining dishes at home. But with my new skills, these recipes [and a few thousand pounds in kitchen equipment] I totally could if I wanted to.
So if you need a dish to impress, if you're cooking for a loved one [or lover for that matter], then I've got the perfect two course menu that is certain to blow their socks off.
Prawn Tartare With White Asparagus Gazpacho & Pea & Bean Salad
What you'll need (serves 4)
4 stalks white asparagus
1/2 onion, diced
100ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 slice bread
40g broad beans
8 green prawns
1 shallot, chopped
What to do
Preheat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop your asparagus.
In a pan, heat some olive oil and add in the onion, half of the asparagus, the garlic and the sugar. Add the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel your prawns and separate the heads. You can dry these in the oven for 40mins and use them as a garnish. Dice the prawns into small pieces and pop it in the fridge.
Take your other half of the chopped asparagus and fry it off in a pan with some salt and a pinch of sugar.
Take another saucepan (yes another one, I told you it's fine dining so you really need to be able to multi-task, but it's worth it I promise!) boil some water and cook your peas and beans for 2-4mins.
By now your stock mixture (which will become the gazpacho) should be cooked down and full of flavour so pour it into a mixer, add the sherry vinegar and bread, then whizz until well blended. Strain through a sieve and chill in the fridge.
Back to the peas and beans, which should be done, drain them and then toss in olive oil, adding the chives and the dried onion.
Take your prawn out of the fridge and toss them with the chopped shallot and the juice from the lime.
Right, all the components are now done, time to assemble!
In a bowl, place a round cutter in the base and fill it with the prawn mixture to achieve a solid shape. Add the peas and beans on top, pressing down. Remove the cutter [crossing your fingers it holds its shape!] and pour the asparagus gazpacho around the outside. Finish by garnishing with the fried asparagus and the dried prawn head.
Ready for round two?
Veal Filet Mignon With Parmesan Crumble, Artichokes & Foam Emulsion
What you'll need (serves 4)
580g veal filet mignon
1 tablespoon cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
40g plain flour
10g grated parmesan
10g dried onions
8 artichokes, prepared
100ml white wine
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cloves garlic
2 litres beef stock
What to do
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Cut the veal pieces into 130g portions and refrigerate.
Combine the flour, fried onion, parmesan cheese, butter and egg yolk with your fingers. Crumble onto a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 12mins.
In a saucepan, heat some olive oil and add the onion, carrot, garlic, artichokes (if you haven't prepared these before then I suggest youtube-ing it, it's a bit complex!), wine and beef stock. Cook until the artichokes are tender, before removing them and cutting into quarters. Strain the broth and reduce on high heat.
Your crumble should be done now, so whip it out of the oven and mix through some chives. Set aside.
Time to fry your veal in the pan. When cooked, brush it with the cottage cheese then roll it in the crumble.
Your jus should be well reduced now, add the milk in and then whizz with a hand blender to create a foam.
Plate up with your veal, the artichokes and spoonfuls of your light, airy foam.
Voila! Très impressionnant. A big thank you to Celia who was a wonderful teacher. Book your own cooking class at Le Saint James here.
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Photos by Krissie.