This piquant sauce is perfect for oysters and champagne and is as easy as it gets to prepare. Simply finely dice shallots and mix them into red wine vinegar with black pepper to season.
I have J Sheekey and Marco Pierre White to thank for the inspiration for this fabulously luxurious dish. I hope you like my interpretation. I advise you use the best champagne and caviar you can reasonably buy.
It seems most befitting that the oysters I used for the photograph are from Bigbury Bay, the very bay associated with Burgh Island. Anyone who has ever stayed or simply dined in the famous Burgh Island Hotel will know of the extraordinary Art Deco elegance that formed the backdrop of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun. The approach to the hotel is via a causeway or via the famous sea tractor, the only one of its kind. My experience in the restaurant was outstanding and comes thoroughly recommended.
10 large oysters
100 mls champagne
50 mls double cream
2 eggs, whisked
2 oz (60 gms) unsalted butter
Caviar (the best you can reasonably obtain)
Shuck the oyster shells retaining the juices. Carefully separate the oysters from their shells. Rinse and dry the shells. In a small pan, bring the champagne and oyster juices to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by two thirds. Add 30 mls of the cream and reduce further by a half. Warm half the butter in a separate pan. Add the whisked eggs and remaining cream and stir until the scrambled egg is thickened but still runny. Warm the oysters gently back in the champagne oyster cream. Pour the scrambled egg into the base of an oyster shell, add an oyster then pour a little of the champagne cream over it. Finally place a small amount of caviar on top of the oyster. Serve with a teaspoon. Enjoy.
My first encounter with a Filipino banana in sweet wrap was so exciting I immediately wanted to incorporate it into an exciting dessert. I have combined the flavours of banana, chocolate, mint and tequila. The result was just what I wanted and more. I hope you enjoy preparing this dish as much as enjoyed designing it.
10 saba bananas*
A packet of small oriental pancake roll wraps* (Large ones will have too much excess)
Light brown sugar
A large knob of unsalted butter
*(available in Filipino/oriental food shops)
The first step is to wrap the bananas tightly in the pancake roll wraps. Lay the square wrap on a flat surface in a diamond position. Place the banana lengthways on the corner and carefully wrap the banana as a tight fit. Tuck the outer corners into the roll. Lightly wet the free edge of the roll with water to seal the wrap. Lightly wet the whole wrap then coat the wrapped banana in the sugar. Lightly sauté the bananas in the butter until it turns golden brown then set them aside.
1 cup (250 mls) water
1/2 cup (125 mls) sugar
4 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp Tequila
Heat the water in a pan and dissolve sugar. Allow the simple syrup to cool then add the lime juice and Tequila. Refrigerate for at least an hour then churn in an ice cream maker. Store the sorbet in a refrigerator overnight.
For the bitter chocolate sheets
7 oz (200 gms) 90% cocoa chocolate
Very gently melt the chocolate in a bowl held over a steam bath. Place a sheet of cling film over a silpat and smooth out any creases. Place the covered silpat onto a baking sheet. Pour the melted chocolate onto the cling film base and smooth it into a thin layer with a palate knife. As the chocolate begins to cool and solidify use a knife to cut the chocolate sheet into large squares. Place a rolling pin lengthways under the silpat on the baking sheet. This gives the chocolate sheets a curve. Place the baking sheet and its contents into a refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, carefully peel the cling film off the chocolate squares. The square sheets will fragment into interesting curved shapes.
Using a sharp knife, cut the base of a banana so that it can stand up on one end. For a decorative effect, cut the top at an angle. stand the banana upright on the dish next to a small arrangement of the bitter chocolate and a quenelle of Tequila sorbet. Garnish with a sprig of mint. For an extra twist, I have used a sugar spiral.
I took my daughter to the excellent expo on modern cultural things Japanese – HyperJapan 2014. A number of stalls purveying delicious Japanese street food were available. Visitors were given wonderful opportunities to experience sake, takoyaki, sushi, gyoza, dango among many more irresistible items. One particular first-time experience treat for me was to sample sparkling sake. This turned out to a most refreshing aperitif to rival many high quality western sparkling wines.
I did not miss out on taking part in the HyperJapan sushi awards nominations. Five nominees each with their artisan sushi to try and vote for. Each one was as delicious as they were innovative. My personal favourite was Roka’s Seabed Shipwreck. The ingenious aspic jelly wrap complimented the array of flavours beautifully while the sushi itself retained much of its Japanese identity. Needless to say this prompted numerous calls from my daughter to eat at their amazing restaurant in Charlotte street, London. The Wagyu Crispy Cube was heavenly. The wonderful ingredients were a great hit with us. The winner was Eduardo Aguiar of Chisou in Knightsbridge. Excellent sushi it was and well deserved.