Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Quay Tasting Menu wannabe with a magnificent Snowegg

Its been over 2 decades, but we finally went ahead and renovated our kitchen. The only thing that didn't get changed in the kitchen was.....well, actually, we gutted the entire kitchen out and put a brand new one in there! Obviously with a new kitchen, I had to cook something special to break it in. And nothing is more worthy than the famous Quay Snowegg! Actually, after my first Quay visit when I saw the recipe online, I knew I wanted to attempt it!

Of course, if you're going to serve a Quay Snowegg for dessert, you can't just have any old food beforehand. So in the spirit of a Quay feast, I decided to hold a degustation dinner. Preparations started a week before the big day, trying out various recipes. As the day got closer, I started making the various components for the snowegg, starting with the ice cream and the granita. And just like MasterChef, I had a bit of a Callum moment when I was scraping the granita. A huge chunk of it flew out of the pan and onto the floor! Luckily I had plenty of granita left, so it wasn't an utter disaster. But I did have to get onto my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor and cabinets clean!

On the day of the actual dinner, I tackled the poached meringue, which was surprisingly easy to make. I left the maltose tuile as the very last thing to tackle, which was probably a bad idea. Don't get me wrong, I made the maltose toffee no problems. But the recipe then tells you to blend the toffee to a fine powder, so you can seive it to make the maltose tuile. Everything was going fine, until I crammed a MASSIVE hunk of toffee into my crappy little $15 stick blender with a tiny food chopper attachment. I hear a massive CRUNCH as I hit the pulse button. I press the pulse button again, and I can hear the motor whirring away, but it didn't seem to be blending. Sometimes the food gets stuck and you need to give the chopper a little shake and everything will be fine. On this occassion, as I lifted the chopper up to give it a shake, my hand slips and next thing you know, shards of maltose toffee flies out of the processor and lands all over the brand new kitchen bench top, cabinet doors, floor, my clothes and even in my hair. There was a full 5 secs of silence as everything sinks in, before I start screaming in panic.

There's about 2 hours before everyone arrives and I've just scattered shards of toffee like confetti all around the kitchen. 20mins of mass panic sets in as I try to contain the mess. When I finally managed to remove all traces of sticky sugar from all my orifices, I sent an emergency sms to all my friends begging/praying for someone to have a food processor. Looks like my $15 crapola was broken, and no food processor = no snowegg! Luckily my friend had one and offered to bring it over! *phew* crisis over. For now.

Strawberry, lychee and lime cocktail

Everyone finally arrived and dinner was served!

The menu

Amuse Bouche - Vichyssoise

I started the evening off with a Vichyssoise amuse bouche. Its essentially a chilled potato and leek soup. It was incredibly velvety and smooth. Of course, all the milk and cream I added would've helped.

1st Course - Smoked salmon and avocado pearl with potato rosti

First course was a play on the Quay sea pearls. I did a smoked salmon and avocado pearl, although its was more pingpong ball than pearl. I wrapped smoked salmon around a mixture of lemony avocado, diced smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese. This was served on a lightly dressed rocket salad, crispy potato rosti and fresh lemon juice.

2nd Course - Seared Scallop, cauliflower puree and chorizo crumble

Second course was inspired by Peter Gilmore. He's the first chef that has convinced me that Cauliflower is edible without having to be deep fried or covered in cheese. I did a simple seared scallop on a cauliflower puree topped with a lemony chorizo crumble.

3rd Course - Crispy fried potato prawns with garlic aioli

This was a purely experimental dish that went quite well. Large king prawns wrapped in wafer thin slices of potato, panfried til crispy, served with salad and an aioli dressing.

4th Course - Leek, mushroom and Camembert Flammenbrot

A simple leek and camembert flammenbrot served with sauteed garlic mushrooms. This got a big thumbs up and was one of the favourites of the day! If they liked what I served, they would've loved the bacon version! Maybe next time. (Forgot to take a photo so stole this from my friend! hehe)

5th Course - Beef Steakington

Fifth Course was a Beef Steakington with red wine jus. Basically a play on a Beef Wellington. Instead of a giant fillet of beef, I made individual portions out of steak. Except my portions were a bit off, and instead of being degustation size, these babies still turned out to be like a main course! The steak was a bit cooked for my liking, but perfect for my friends. (I do like my steak still mooing...) The red wine jus was a bit salty for my liking, but the beef steakington turned out quite tasty. But then, considering I've never eating a beef wellington in my life, I'm not sure how it compares.

The maltose tuile disaster did have a silver lining, as it meant a big break between courses as we tackled the last of the snowegg preps. Most of us were full to bursting! It took us about an hour to make all the maltose tuile and actually assemble the snowegg.

DIY Stencils

Since Strawberry Guava and custard apple wasn't in season, I made a Watermelon, lime and lychee version instead. And here is the final result!

6th Course - Watermelon, lychee and lime snow egg


Oh man, I was thoroughly impressed with myself even if I do say so myself!!! The maltose tuile covered the meringue perfectly. The meringue was soft as clouds in your mouth. The lychee ice cream was incredibly smooth, decadent yet light! Watermelon, mint and lime granita give a much needed freshness and tang to the dish, all nicely rounded out by the lychee fool! Success!!!

There was silence at the dinner table as we all dug into the snowegg. I can confidently say, my snowegg will kick Quay's Jackfruit version ANY DAY. Although, I must admit, the Strawberry Guava and Custard apple version will abolish my take in a second!

We demolished the dessert and sat around contently when one of my friend meekly said "ummm....can I have a little more granita?". Too full to move, I told them to help themselves from the freezer. Next thing you know, there were yells of "Bring the ice cream too!", "Oh! Can I have the leftover maltose?!", "Did anyone want the meringue?!". In a whirlwind of flying spoons and containers, everyone had taken the leftovers and assembled themselves another snowegg! hahaha

DIY snowegg

If only we weren't so greedy, we would've had room for the 7th Course, strawberries cookies and cream cake I made. But that extra serve of DIY snowegg just pushed us over the edge.

7th Course - Cookies and cream strawberry cake and Raspberry White chocolate macaron petite fours

I packed the cake into little doggybags for everyone before I bought out a container of white chocolate and raspberry macarons. These were meant to be the petite fours, but I packed a few into each doggy bag instead. That is, until one of my friends tried one before moaning out loud. Like a pack of wild animal, my friends grabbed one each, took a bite and then proceeded to grab, snatch, scratch and slap their way to the rest of the macarons! I almost lost a finger trying to salvage a few macarons for myself. Needless to say, they loved the macarons!

After 3 solid days of cooking, the dinner party was an absolute hit! But I think I need a few months off before having another dinner party. I was exhausted! But atleast now I can say I made the snowegg!! Not too bad when you compare them to the Quay ones!

For those of you who want to attempt the recipe, here's a few tips:
  • When piping the meringues, fill the mould about 3/4 of the way up. The meringue puffs up quite a bit and you will be able to make more meringues as backups with the remaining mixture.
  • Do not throw away any of the meringue trimmings! They make a great DIY snowegg afterwards!
  • The vanilla custard base makes almost 500g, but the recipe only requires 100g. I halved the recipe to reduce wastage. BUT, with that said, the custard is amazingly good and I did regret not making the full amout! (Although my waistline didn't!)
  • Put the tub of maltose into hot water before using. It'll be easier to work with when its more runny.
  • Do not over bake the maltose tuile. In my oven, it would form the tuile in 1-2mins. If you bake it any longer, the maltose will bubble leaving an uneven texture. Not a big deal, just not as pretty.
  • The maltose tuile once out of the oven, can be gently peeled off after about a minute. The tuile is quite durable and can be peel off like a sticker. I tried to lift it up as an entire piece and it made the tuile very uneven and ugly.
  • When you blow torch the tuile, start from the outside and work your way in to the middle in a circular motion. Any uneven bits you can use a blow torch and gently pat down with a fork/spoon.


Sinophile said...

Thats pretty epic yknow

SoRMuiJAi said...

haha I have to agree! I'm glad it was an epic win, rather than an epic fail! Especially after 3 days of cooking!

Two fit and fun gals said...

i'm impressed! totally epic yes i agree with sinophile

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