Saturday night I had some friends over for a bit of a dinner party. As with most of my dinner parties I like to go with a bit of a theme. The theme for the night ended up being Ezard - by chance actually. All 3 recipes I picked to cook happened to be out of Teague Ezard's first cook book. This book is definately my favourite of the many cook books I own. There is so many different flavours to be tried inside the pages of that book - more than I could ever afford to try one by one by eating at his restaurant - Ezard's.
Cooking an Ezard inspired dinner party isn't an easy feat - or a cheap one for that matter. There are so many ingredients involved in each recipe, that not only the shopping for the ingredients is time consuming, the cooking of it is too! I think Ezard is the reason that apprentices were invented - the more the better!
After about 4 hours of wandering around Victoria Gardens, Victoria St - Richmond and The Queen Vic Market, Rachel and I made it home to cook up the lovely food you see here.
First course was Grilled Sardines with a chilli, peanut, balsamic and Kecap Manis dressing, with vietnamese mint, coriander and coral leaf salad. The dressing was very unusual, especially mixing the lovely organic Simon and Johnson Balsamic with the super sweet soy, but it was fantastic!
For mains I served up Tempura Battered Flathead Tails, with Taro Chips, Sesame Salt and a sweet soy dipping sauce. I love this recipe and have made it once before. Unless you're handy with a knife, making the Taro chips could be a bit of an effort, but it will help you with your knife skills! You'll be a pro by the time you've finished them all! The tempura batter has lime and lemon juice in it instead of the usual chilled soda water. Only problem was limes were so expensive this weekend - one place in Victoria St was selling them for $3 each!
We even went to the trouble of buying a vietnamese newspaper and some bamboo leaves to present it all on, and we wrapped the lemon halves in Muslin (just like Ezard) to stop pips falling onto the food when they're squeezed.
Dessert time was a chocolate tart, which I made with the good old 70% Lindt Chocolate. The tart is served with a Raspberry Caramel, which is just plain old caramel and just as the sugar starts to colour in the pan, you add your fruit. The berries break apart almost instantly and it turns into a jammy texture. You then strain this and drizzle it on the plate to be served under the tart.
For all the effort that we went to; shopping for everything, preparing the ingredients and cooking it all up, everyone seemed to have a great time and really enjoyed the food. What more could you ask for when hosting a dinner party. Thanks Teague, you've inspired me again!