5-Course Dinner Party on the 28th March 2014

It was our turn to host a big dinner party for 4 of my parent’s foodie friends. In total we served 7 people (excluding The Princess).

Here is the menu for the night:
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The two starters. They were a great way to start the night. Maybe a creamy dipping sauce would have been nice with the olives, like an aioli.
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The first course was a Phillip Johnson recipe and has been on the menu at his bistro, ecco, ever since they opened more than 16 years ago! You can find this recipe in his first cookbook titled ‘ecco.’ It was a combo of great flavours but lacked some moisture from the amount of truffle oil and balsamic we used.
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The risotto was again a Philip Johnson recipe in his book titled ‘Bistro’, but we converted it to suit cooking it in a Thermomix. It was a little more thick than we wanted it but was still very tasty.
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The pork belly was brined overnight, cooked in the sous vide for 12 hours and then crisped before serving. Served alongside was a parsnip puree and chips, wine poached apples and sous vide baby beets and carrots. On the night I still didn’t really know how I was going to plate it and as a result it looked quite sloppy. Nevertheless, it still tasted great but could have been less uncomplicated with fewer elements.
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Two days after, I decided to re-plate the pork dish with the leftover elements. I decided to serve it on a white plate with only the pork, puree, beets, apples and a few nasturtiums. Not only the plating was much better but the flavours were less complicated and tasted much better.
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The lemon meringue was deconstructed to lemon curd, torched marshmallow meringue, meringue crumb, ANZAC biscuit crumb, vanilla ice-cream and lemon sorbet. Again like the pork dish, we were not 100% sure what it should look like. It was also a warm night so the ice-cream and sorbet melted really quickly. As a result it didn’t look great but I did love the look of the blow torched marshmallow meringue. It still tasted amazing and all the guests said it was their favourite of the night.
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Knowing the dessert tasted great, I planned out how I could plate it look more modern and appealing. So the next day I re-plated the dish using all the elements, except the sorbet as I thought there was too much lemon in the dish as it was. It looked so much better but I would have loved to use a few edible flowers to make it look even nicer.
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Overall, the dinner went pretty good but with more planning on the main and dessert it could have been spectacular.

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