840 words on Food
After our recent excursion into the world of nice food, there was another cooking and – more imporantly – eating experience this Saturday. We had a rather nice five course meal with Jan-Philipp, Wiebke, Yannis and myself.
As in our last meal, the soup was a winner. It was clear tomato soup. Unlike most recipes you'll find on the 'net, this one was pure tomato. Jan-Philipp had seen the recipe on telly a while ago. Basically it consisted of chopping up many tomatoes and making them lose their liquid using aids like salt, a good night's rest and towels. Amazingly this yields an almost clear liquid which you'll easily separate from the remaining red content after more rest.
This was our cold clear tomato soup. Refreshing, tasty, plain and delicious. For decoration a large leave of basil floated on top, like a boat, filled with a little vinaigrette like sauce. Delicious. If we continue to do nice soups at the same rate, we can soon have a soup-only dinner.
For poultry we had quails. None of us had tried them before and they were spotted in the supermarket. This was the 'fancy' dish. One tiny bird each. My expectations weren't too high, along the
tastes like chicken line, just harder to eat because of the tiny size and the many bones.
Fortunately I wasn't quite right. Preparation of the dish was very simple. The birds were covered with liquid butter and roasted in the oven with the butter being poured over it again and again to give a nice skin. They were served on lettuce with some mayonnaise-vinaigrette. While the general
tastes like chicken theme was present, the meat was darker than chicken, a bit more tasty and with more texture. It was so soft that it came off the bones really easily, making eating it a much easier than I had anticipated as well.
While this isn't a dish I'd kill for, it was definitely better than expected and I'll happily have it again.
The next course was more of a little appetiser based on mushrooms. We used nice mushrooms, known as Limonenseitling (no idea what that is in English) and had some of them briefly cooked in lemon water on a self-made liquid lemon-mayonnaise with fresh parsley, while the 'trunks' were chopped, quickly fried in olive oil with garlic and parsley and served on a fried slice of baguette.
While the former way of preparing mushrooms works fine for champignons, it wasn't too brilliant in this case. In fact, the mushrooms lost their colour (oddly matching the 'blanchéed' terminology) and some of their taste as well. The second, fried, variant was quite good, though.
Next was the meat dish with some lightly fried lamb with ketchup and cooked beans (haricots verts, if you wish to say so). The ketchup was made of the remainders of the tomato soup. It hat a little bit too much sugar in it for my taste, unfortunately.
The lamb was very soft and only slightly cooked. While I like 'rare' beef or fish, I'd perhaps cook the lamb a bit more the next time as its specific taste is quite strong. There were supposed to be parsnips as a side dish, but that didn't happen due to a little accident involving generous timing, high temperatures and an oven.
Last but not least there was dessert. Espresso mousse. Unlike the usual mousse au chocolate I make (chocolate, egg-whites and cream only), this one started with melting dark chocolate, adding some espresso and the egg-yolks in there and then folding the stiff egg-whites (bravely beaten by hand by Yannis) in.
It was served in little glasses, with a bit of sweetened condesed milk at the bottom. That looks nice but tastes crap. You don't have to eat it because it's at the bottom, though. I assume using something custardy might work better. And the mousse came out rather well. It was very rich and nice and solid (I think the egg-yolks may have played a role in that working out so nicely). Not 'creamy' and soft like bad mousses are. The dark chocolate along with the coffee and the absence of cream made this nice and bitter.
And then, only five hours after we started cooking, everything was over and eaten. If you feel like salivating a little, go another 200 steps up the food ladder and read this, featuring an amazing meal with a kind of 'lamb and ketchup' dish as well.
We also see that photos often don't come out very well when taken in these difficult light conditions, particularly when you want to avoid using a flash (which might not only ruin the atmosphere but also the picture if it's a bad flash). Also, these photos look better, tastier if you wish, when viewed in a browser than does some sort of colour management, like Safari. It may look a bit too pale in other browsers. How do we make things look good everywhere?
That definitely looks like a tasty meal. I try to cook well when I do cook - often times though it ends up being some form of barbeque - which is always good I suppose. Lamb is something I have a goal of trying next.
Why not invite a few dozen friends over and get the best of both worlds?
Hmm, barbecues.., Weather has been quite nasty this summer here, so we didn’t have enough of those.
That mousse just looks divine; I’d wonder though, as while I’m sure dark chocolate would give a nice compliment, would milk chocolate be just as tasty?
Usually I am not in favour of using milk chocolate as it makes the mousse too sweet.
But seeing that we didn’t use any cream this time and added espresso, the whole mousse is more bitter anyway. So perhaps you can get away with using milk chocolate.
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