Monday, April 5, 2010

Julie and Poh Can Kiss My Culu Blanco

Okay, that might be a tad harsh but colour me happy- I created food on Friday that I seriously think would impress Manu Feidel (and oh,how I'd love to impress that man).

The menu; smoked trout and goats cheese ravioli with a creamy lemon sauce topped with toasted pine nuts.spatchcock with rose petals and pomegranate served with a preserved lemon couscous. For dessert- little flourless chocolate cakes with a dulce de leche centre.

I got so carried away with the process I forgot to photograph the ravioli and the dessert. I made the pasta from scratch and it worked. Using my trusty old pasta machine which I had purchased in 1987, I put the dough through the rollers until it was rolled into thin sheets of silk goodness. I cut the squares to the desired sizes,spooned in the trout filling and pushed a cube of goat's cheese into the centre along with a few capers. I brushed the edges with water so the top would stick. Placing a sheet of pasta over the top, I shaped it around the filling, using a cupped hand to push any air out. I floured the base and let them rest. I had a bit of dough left over and some time so we made some fettucine and spaghetti noodles:

Caroline holds some of our spaghetti up.

Look at her- just like out of a professional cookbook. My good ol' machine has stood the test of time.

The sauce was made from a 200 mls of heavy cream, a big blob of labni with half small preserved lemon (flesh discarded -use skin only). Check the seasoning and that the lemon flavour is balanced-not overpowering. Don't drown the ravioli in sauce-like the Pointer Sisters, they like a man with a slow hand and a lover with an easy touch.

The main course was spatchcock with pomegranate and rose petals served with a preserved lemon cous cous. First, I butterflied the spatchcock by cleaving it down the centre and flattening it out. I gave them a wash and dried them with a clean tea towel. I placed them in in a non reactive bowl such as glass or ceramic.In a bowl, I added the juice of  1 lemon, a big splash of rose water, a splash of pomegranate syrup or juice (or both), a dash of honey, a spice mix made of half a tsp each of ground cumin, cinnamon,ginger,cardomom and chilli, a dash of olive olive,salt and pepper to season.I whisked and poured it over the spatchcock then covered them with some cling film and placed in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.  I roasted the spatchcock in a hot oven on a rack for 30- 40 minutes, being careful not to dry it out. I like to add some water to the pan below the rack to create some moisture. 

To make the cous cous,  I placed grains in  a bowl, added boiling water and mixed until all liquid was absorbed. I added some salt and butter to taste. Using the skin of half a preserved lemon, I chopped it into fine dice and added it. Using a mould (or in my case-a measuring cup), filled it with the cous cous and placed on a plate. I had some pine nuts left over from the ravioli so I added a few to the cous cous during the mixing process and also used a small amount on the top for presentation.

 I mixed up a dressing of pomegranate molasses (syrup),juice of a lemon, a big splash of rosewater, a clove of garlic and a bit of honey and shook it up in a jar. Once the spatchcock was rested, I placed it on a plate, spooned over the dressing (again,slow and steady wins the taste race), topped it with a sprinkle of crushed and toasted pistaschios, pomegranite seeds and some organic rose petals. Here is the result;

To say I am proud of this is an understatement. The flavours worked so perfectly. Not only did they 'marry' well but you could taste each flavour both separately and collectively. And how fucking cool is the presentation?
Call me Miles Davis but I'm blowing my own trumpet....
Here's Nicolette enjoying her meal.

I will definatly make this again. Not sure if I can claim this as my signature dish but it's pretty close.

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