Recently we had some friends round for late lunch dinner party on Sunday – some failed matchmaking aside (a story for another blog perhaps) it went off really well. Sunday lunches are my favourite for having people round because I normally head down to the farmer’s market in the morning and see where my inspiration goes. The farmer’s market on Moxon street is one of my favourite parts of where we live – I love walking around and seeing so many people passionate about what they sell. I’ve never seen anyone extoll the virtues of the different varieties of potatoes quite like the man at the potato stall. He’s always right about which potato to use too!
However, this Sunday was a little different, I’d decided to be a little fancier than normal and I’d been preparing parts of the dinner party days before. I would come home from work (unfortunately a little late this week) and assemble components so when it came to Sunday it wasn’t so stressful. I wanted to post about this meal though, as it includes quite a few different ways of getting ahead – plus, if I do says so myself, it’s a really good eat. Everyone was pretty happy at the end.
Although almost everything was done in advance, I still wanted to get down to the market and I got lucky! I picked up some very fresh and very cheap scallops (6 large hand dived scallops for £3, yes thank you!). I love scallops and despite having to cook them last minute, they only take a couple of minutes so it works out ok.
The menu I was going to serve was…
Starter: Trio of Tomato essence risotto, spherified tomato essence and seared scallops with sweet raisin puree and apple julienne.
Dessert: Lemon Tart
Now, that has a lot of elements to it and I’d die if I had to get them all together at the same time, in fact it has 13 different elements which all need to come together, and many of those elements have multiple bits of process. There’s no getting around that it’s a lot of work, but, broken down and thought about from a restaurant point of view, you can front load almost all of the work so it doesn’t have to happen last minute. You may not want to do all of this, but I think parts of it can be applied to everyday cooking as well.
Starter: (3 minutes away from the table preparing the dish on the day)
Wednesday: I prepared the tomato essence over night from Wednesday to Thursday night.
Thursday: I made the risotto (bar the last 3 minutes) on Thursday night and made the sweet raisin puree at the same time.
Saturday: On Saturday morning I made the spheres (reverse spherification can keep a couple of days).
Sunday: Then on the day I prepared the apple julienne before guests arrived and in the 3 minutes before serving the dish I finished the risotto, seared the scallops and plated up.
Main: (5 minutes away from the table)
Thursday: I put the pork in the oven just before going to bed and took it out and put it in the fridge to chill the following morning
Sunday: I warmed the elements including the pork, plated up. The pork takes 10 minutes to warm but you can be sitting at the table the whole time. Griddled the pak choi
Dessert: (1 minute away from the table)
Thursday: I quickly made the pastry and left it to chill
Saturday: I baked the tart and made meringue
Sunday: I covered and glazed the tart. Served.