Sunday, December 03, 2006

To Good Food And Good Company

Last night I was invited to dinner by a friend of a friend whom I've just met 2 nights ago. The chef in question said she was going to cook aged beef, apparently a delicacy peculiar to Australia, where they leave the beef for 31 days. So who am I to turn down such a treat of a free, gourmet dinner?

I turned up at the appointed time, carrying my contribution of a date loaf for dessert. Unfortunately, it tasted nothing like the last one I made, which had received rave reviews all round. The missing ingredient was oil/butter which was not in this recipe, I tried to recall if the last cake I made was indeed the date loaf if a core ingredient was not the same? Memory loss...

The first course served was clams in white wine sauce, garlic and English parsley, we mopped up the sauce with bread. I think instead of the English parsley, if coriander was used, the flavour would have been better. But it was still good. And we ate it all up too quickly before I remembered that I had not taken a photo yet.

The second course was pan-fried gemfish on a bed of linguine and mushrooms. The chef was too busy chatting with me and forgot to add salt. However, the gemfish was salty and when you eat it with the linguine, I thought it was just nice. The portion was just right, seeing as we still had the main highlight of the dinner to go!

Finally we arrive at the aged beef. Now, this beef is cooked twice, first in the oven and then panfried in butter to lock in the buttery sauce. The chef served it on a bed of English spinach which was really fresh and sweet. When I cut into the beef (and it wasn't even with a proper steak knife), the knife cut through like butter. I thought to myself, "So this is what it feels like when people say something cuts through like butter!" It was a bit of a gastronomical epiphany. The beef was tender and moist. It was delicious. However there were several bits of fat in the middle of the slab, maybe this was the marbled portion of the meat, but I felt that there was just too much fat for my liking and I dug them all out and left them on my plate. I hope the chef did not perceive this as a barbaric act of non-appreciation of good food...

Dessert was quickly assembled by the chef. The date loaf was cut and placed around a dollop of ice-cream (choice of vanilla, chocolate or cookies and cream), strawberries cut and decorated the edge of the plate and a generous sprinkling of breakfast muesli accompanied the dish (the chef confessed she did not have nuts hence the muesli) and finally a thread of chocolate sauce was drawn through the plate. The ice-cream mitigated the dryness of the date loaf slightly, but the next time I make a date loaf, I'll be sure to add the butter, it just makes such a difference.

In any case, it was a great meal, in the good company of newly-met friends. And I did something different (not in front of my laptop) for a change on a Saturday night in Sydney.


Post a Comment

<< Home