i always feel that a long weekend should be marked with a culinary treat. jamison was paying me a visit and accompanying me to various dublin writers festival events including a reading by paul lynch (falling out of heaven) and paul murray (skippy dies) which was pretty great. by the way if you haven't read skippy dies yet-get thee to the bookstore. i really can't recommend this book highly enough. at nearly 700 pages its not short but it moves at a terrific pace. i'm tempted to go on but i won't-just buy it. we also attended the 40th anniversary of the gallery press. all the big names were there: heaney, mahon, carson, montague, mcguickian, ni chuilleanain and alan gillis to name but a few. i also have to note that gillis is my new poetry hero-what a legend (a new collection is forth coming, september i believe).
but back to the culinary treat. i opted to go all out with matching wines and everything (all the wines are from o'briens and less that 15€ each). the food theme was vaguely frenchy surf and turf. i even prepared a little amuse bouche. good lord. i was definitely having a serious rush of blood to the head.
heres the low down:
amuse bouch: vietnamese (was once a french colony....) inspired crab.
1 tin of white crab meat
half teaspoon granulated garlic
about 6 mint leaves chopped finely
drop of nam pla
tiny sprinkle of chili flakes
1 teaspoon cream cheese
salt and pepper
mix and put on mini crackers
wine match: la pieve spago frizzante, italian.
starter: mussels in a white wine and cream sauce with baguette
i'll be honest i don't know what the weight was of the mussels. i do know that i had to discard about half of what i bought because they were already open. it cost my 3€ if thats any help....
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
half glass of white wine
glug of regular cream
1 packet park baked baguettes
i sweated the shallot and garlic until soft. while that was going on i rinsed and de-bearded the mussels and then threw them into the pot. then put in the wine and put the lid on. gave everything a shake. as it was the first time i've ever cooked mussels i took the lid off several times to take a peak at what was going on. if memory serves me correctly it took about five minutes (i'd like to say at this point i did have a half a bottle of prosecco in my blood so this is a little bit of guess work!).
after they appeared to have all opened i took them out with a slotted spoon and put them in the bowl i was going to serve in. then i reduced down the liquid that was left to about half. when it was reduced i added in the glug of cream and poured them over the mussels. oh-forgot to say that while all of this was going on i had the part baked bread in the oven. i tore that into pieces and served it with the mussels.
wine match: 07 schloss schonborn riesling trocken, german.
main: marinated steak served with a puy lentil, rocket and toasted almond salad.
so the marinated steak is my own interpretation of a nigella lawson recipe that recommends marinating the steak while its resting rather than before cooking.
1 piece rump/sirloin steak (again i don't know the weight it was about 7€ worth)
olive oil, for rubbing and marinade.
3 stems lemon thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed.
juice of half a lemon.
i coated the steak with olive oil and seared it on a griddle pan for about 3 minutes on each side then transferred it to a large dish where the above ingredients were ready and waiting. i left it in the marinade for about 3 minutes on each side and then sliced it and put in back in the marinade again for one last little toss.
i toasted the almonds, dry, on the pan. i cooked up some puy lentils and opened a packet of rocket! combined those on the plates and topped it with the steak.
wine match: 07 norton barrel select malbec, argentina.
1 piece of cashel blue with many crackers
wine match: m.chapoutier muscat de beaumes de venise (not bought in o'briens)
desert: chocolate sauce with strawberries
1 big bar of bournville
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons cognac
1 packet strawberries
melt the chocolate and add the cream and cognac. serve in bowl and dip the berries in!
wine match: whatever is left over.....
all in all: yummy!