1. Oysters with caviar, crispy leeks and a champagne & pomegranate vinaigrette
12 Freshly shucked oysters
1 tub red &/or 1 tub black caviar - You can use seaweed caviar if the real thing is too pricey
1 tub micro-herbs for garnish
2 lemons – cut into wedges
For the crispy leeks
1 leek – very finely sliced
2 cups oil – for frying
For the Vinaigrette
¼ of a red onion – finely chopped
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
¼ cup dry sparkling wine
To make the crispy leeks, heat your oil in a small pot to around 180°C. Fry the leeks in small batches until lightly golden. Remove the leeks from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. The leeks should crisp up as they cool down. To make the vinaigrette, simply mix together the listed ingredients.
Serve the oysters on crushed ice alongside little bowls of the caviar, leeks & vinaigrette. Scatter micro-herbs and lemon wedges amongst the oysters for garnish.
2. Watermelon & strawberry gazpacho with grissini &
2 cups watermelon cubes - plus an extra slice to cut hearts out of
½ cup of strawberries
1 tomato – cubed
¼ red onion
½ a clove of fresh garlic
½ a red chili – deseeded (add more or less according to taste)
2tsp red wine vinegar
2Tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
To make the soup, blend the listed ingredients in a food processor until smooth. If the soup is too thick you can add a little water. Place in a container in the freezer for an hour or two before serving as the soup is best enjoyed chilled.
Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of a 1cm thick slice of watermelon. Use these hearts along with sliced strawberry, micro-herbs and grissini bread sticks to garnish and decorate your soup.
3. Seared duck breasts with piped potato & a port cherry jus.
And Green beans with almonds & orange zest
For the Duck & Cherry Sauce
2 large duck breasts
30-50g Butter – cut into cubes & chilled
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup fresh cherries – de-pitted & halved
2 whole star anise
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
For the Green Beans
1pk fine green beans
½ cup toasted almonds – roughly chopped
zest & juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
For the Piped Potato
3 potatoes – peeled & cubed
100ml fresh cream
Salt & Pepper
To prepare the creamed potato, boil the cubes until soft, drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Mash the potato cubes while still piping hot with the cream, butter, salt & pepper. The consistency should be smooth & slightly runnier than normal mashed potato. Season with salt & pepper, cover & and set aside until you are ready to plate.
To prepare the duck, trim any excess fat off of the breasts and score lightly along the skin in a criss-cross pattern.
Season the duck breasts with salt & pepper and place fat side down in a dry, pre-heated non-stick frying pan. Fry on a medium heat until a fair amount of fat has rendered out of the duck breasts into the pan and the skin side is golden and crispy. Now turn the duck breasts over and fry until cooked to your liking. Traditionally, duck breast - unlike chicken - should be served pink and medium rare. Remove the breasts from the pan and set aside to rest while you make your sauce.
Immediately after removing the breasts from the pan, add the red onion into the duck cooking juices and sauté until slightly softened. Now add the cherries, thyme & star anise and sauté for a minute or two. Add the port and allow it to reduce by about half before adding the stock. Reduce the sauce until it has slightly thickened then stir in the honey. To finish the sauce, whisk in the cold butter cubes. This will give the sauce a velvety finish.
Briefly boil or steam the green beans and serve tossed in the olive oil, orange, toasted almonds, salt & pepper.
4. White chocolate mousse with berries, sorbet, meringue & shortbread hearts.
Small store bought meringues
Heart shaped shortbread biscuits
For the Chocolate Mousse:
200g White Chocolate
2 Egg Yolks
2 cups cream
To make the chocolate mousse start by beating the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick. An electric beater is best for this.
Heat ½ a cup of the cream in a small saucepot until it is just starting to simmer then pour it over the egg mixture. Stir together well then pour the egg and cream mix back into the pot and stir gently on a low heat until the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Gently melt the white chocolate over a double boiler until totally smooth and allow to cool a little before stirring in the egg yolk mixture.
Beat the remaining 1½ cups of cream until stiff peaks form and fold a little at a time into the chocolate mixture until you have a luxurious mousse. Spoon the mouse into round moulds placed over baking paper and place into the fridge for a few hours until set.
To plate, allow the mousse to slide gently out of the moulds onto your chosen plate, you may need to give them a little tap. Decorate around your mousse with berries, meringue, sorbet, some crumbled and some whole shortbread biscuits. Serve & enjoy.