For the first time we have had GUESTS at home for dinner! That is apart from Kids and Grandkids who have been here on and off , in and out of Lockdown! How lucky are we that they all, now live nearby ! BUT REAL LIVE PEOPLE, came to dinner and how nice was that!
I was rather naughty in giving Himself the job of cooking dinner. I ordered from a company called Banquist. So this was not a Heat up and serve type of dinner, but more “ You have to cook”!
The order arrived the day before, ( all in various types of recyclable packaging) Unpacked, sorted and put into the refrigerator. Himself scanned a barcode in order to watch the required Video.
Dinner came courtesy of Merlin Lebron Johnson. He has worthwhile credentials, good training and Michelin Stars.
The Menu du Jour was
- Chickpea, Amalfi lemon, rainbow chard, Burrata and Basil.
- 28 day aged rib eye of Wexford Valley beef, with walnut pesto tropes onions and potato al forno
- Ewes milk Panna cotta, olive oil crumb, macerated strawberries with lemon thyme
Merlin might be a magician in the kitchen but sorry folks he won’t be the number one hit on YouTube nor on TikTok. For me, watching him was like watching paint dry, however Himself dutifully watched it all.
The starter baffled me, especially when we opened the box, in it were three cans of Chick Peas. Three cans is an awful lot of Chick Peas! And so it was, with the finished dish, there were a LOT of Chick Peas. The Burrata was good, but within the whole dish, too many chick peas, not enough greenery ( we added spinach) and sadly lacked flavour ( we added, some pomegranate molasses). There were only clean plates afterwards, so I guess people liked it, or were they just being polite?
Next up was the main course. This required a fair amount of prep, if not cooking skills. The package came with pickled walnuts fresh Basil, walnuts, Tropea onions potatoes, parsley watercress and beautiful looking ribeye steaks.
Tropea onions look a bit like red shallots. They are from southern Italy are very sweet and have wide uses in Italy, such as raw in salads, on pizza, great for grilling , frittatas, for marmalade and even Ice Cream ! It looks like I will have to make a trip to Borough Market ( London) and find some.
His instructions were to fry the onions cut side down so that they were almost charred. Upon serving they were deconstructed and made to look like petals. The plain walnuts were grilled and finely chopped and mixed with the pickled ones, along with Basil to make a pesto. And the steaks which were supplied by a London butcher HG Walter, were very good indeed.
Dessert, needed much less on hands time, except for hulling and finely chopping the strawberries, otherwise the olive oil crumb was supplied along with the Ewes milk Panna Cotta. The video, showed the chef, using a spoon to make quenelles of the Panna cotta and I suggested that Himself use our Ice Cream scoop. Unfortunately the Panna Cotta, perhaps was not firm enough it was more like a thick custard. However that did not distract from the overall result as the flavours were very good.
From the standpoint of food, ( apart from the chickpea overload) it was good. For Himself, it was good, he obeys the rules and watches the video, without any interference from me. The next challenge is for Himself to plan a menu, do a shopping list, do a work plan and start it all from scratch? Am I asking too much, maybe but little steps!
And finally, a family of swans! Last year they had 10 babies, but the fox took 7, this year they had 8 and still have 8! Go anywhere near or not even near and Daddy swan comes a hissing and a flapping !