Part 1: An Autumn Easter Feast, the menu

April 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

Impressive vegetarian starter: Smokey carrot kibbeh stuffed with labne and cavallo nero

Easter was celebrated this year with friends in the form of a feast of seasonal autumn (or Fall if you prefer!) produce. This is the first dinner party I’ve hosted since staging in two healthy minded New York restaurants last year. A timely reminder of how satisfying preparing a meal for loved friends is.

This is part one of a four part series on creating Autumn Easter Feast, which includes recipes.

Keeping to theme, the menu was crafted based on what’s in the pantry, what’s seasonal and what’s healthy. How did I do this? I let nature guide me.  I noticed purple is the dominating colour of autumn produce. And I thought about complimentary flavours that capture the essence of autumn such as buttery and caramelised and the cooking techniques to produce it.

TCM dietary therapy considers seasons not only for produce, but cooking methods also. Energies are turning inward in preparation for the cooler months. Using techniques to compliment the flow of energy, working with nature and our bodies for best health. It’s a new concept to Western way of thinking. Since I’ve started cooking with the seasons, I often get compliments about how well people feel after a big meal. My guests comment (unprompted!) they are not over-full or have that sick-from-too-much-food feeling.

In case you’re interested, the purple colour is a phytochemical is called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are all about boosting cardiovascular function, reduce inflammation and strengthen immunity. With the changing of seasons, colds and flu can be frequent. So there you have it, nature gives us what we need and when.

A special shout out to Ollie for the fantastic photographs, amazing wine and cocktail matching and stylish table setting. You did the food justice and managed to turn a “pretty good dinner party” into an “amazing dinner party”.

Starter:

Matzoh Ball Soup with fresh dill and parsley. It is the time of passover after all!

Entree:

Smokey Carrot Kibbeh stuffed with labne and cavallo nero

Main:

Poached chicken and chestnut boudin blanc with hazelnut and almond crust, poached chestnuts, smashed potato, caremelised leek and fennel, grilled muscatel grapes, buttered broccoli with jus and a pear balsamic reduction. Topped with crisped basil leaves

Sides:

Warm lentil and wilted cos salad with preserved lemon

Roasted vegetable ratatouille then baked in my Chasseur crockpot

Purple and orange carrot carpaccio with dill, and apple cider vinegar. Not pictured: Beetroot and black sesame carpaccio

Dessert:

Baked plums with smashed amaretti and marinated new season figs. Topped with lane and caramelised fig ice-cream.

The result?

Feast, enjoyed!

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