April Dinner Party

Blanch & Shock cooked a surprise Birthday Dinner for a private client at her home in London. We were keen to get our hands on some of the new fruit and vegetables that had come in to season since our last cooking job, and to try a few new tricks and surprises we have been interested in recently.

Testing and Prep:

Provençal Lavender for a pudding to be served with Rack of Lamb. We briefly infused the flowers in hot water, and then set the aromatic liquid into a jelly with Agar Agar, Citric Acid, salt and sugar (seen below). We then blitzed it until it was smooth.

Miniature Meringues for our petits fours service, drying in the dehydrator.

Granny Smith Apple Crisps for the Cheese Course

Dehydrated Fennel Stalks and Fronds about to be powdered for the Beetroot Course

Heating Dried Chamomile in a vaporizer to extract the aroma, which we fed into test tubes for the Flower Course (see recent Chamomile Post)

Fish head for a fumet

Channel Wrack Kelp for the Fish Course, sent to us by Iain McKellar of Just Seaweed For Iain's blog and more information about his business harvesting seaweeds from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, go here.

Bitter Chocolate Truffle for the petits fours, before being cut and dressed with Stem Ginger.

Edible menus, protected in plastic from the spray of Beetroot Juice


Apéritif of Champagne served with a Sphere of Rhubarb Juice infused with Rose Petals. The Rhubarb from Franklin's Farmshop in Dulwich, was force-grown by candlelight in Yorkshire.

Plating the first course . The three preparations included Beetroot as a Bloody Mary, shredded and macerated in it's own juice, and as a pudding (made in the same way as the Lavender)

Trio of Beetroot: (l-r) Cinnamon Toast with macerated Beetroot and Juniper Crème Fraiche, Goats' Cheese Crisp with Beetroot Pudding, Fried Dill Fronds and Fennel Powder, and Beetroot Bloody Mary with traditional accompaniments.

Sadly there was no way to both serve and photograph the fish and main courses and get the food served on time or hot, so you will have to imagine a pan-roasted fillet of Gilthead Bream atop planks of braised Salsify, surrounded by Steamed Clams, Channel Wrack Kelp and Salmon Roe and a velouté of Lemon Thyme...

Preparing the test tubes of Chamomile Vapour.

Plating the Flower Course. The flowers in the salad included Viola, Primrose, Rocket, Purple Shamrock (Oxalis) and leaves of Lamb's Lettuce. The flowers were from Derek Lewis at First Leaf. We served Derek's glorious Snapdragons at 'Eat Your Heart Out' in October 2009, and were glad to try some other varieties.

Salad of Flowers, Leaves and Bee Pollen, served with a test tube of warm Chamomile Vapour and an atomiser of Honey dressing.

The next course was also sadly unrecorded.

We served a Rack of Salt Marsh Lamb with a Purée of Pink Fir Potatoes, a glazed baby Carrot, Wild Nettle Fluid Gel, Wild Mushrooms, Lavender Pudding and Olive-Oil-poached New-Seasons' Garlic, with Lamb Consommé

Due to the hosts' preference of cheese over dessert, the next course was a selection of British Cheeses,  served with homemade Chutneys and garnished as follows:

Cheese Course (l-r): Stichelton with Apple Crisp and Apple Chutney, Ogleshield with home-pickled Spring Onion and Damson Chutney, and Tunworth with Coarse Oatcakes and Fig Chutney.

With coffee, we served the petits fours:

Bitter Chocolate Truffles with Stem Ginger, Salt-Caramel Dipped Physalis and Pistachio Meringues

The Edible Menu, presented with the petits fours


Salt-Marsh Lamb
William Rose Butchers, Dulwich, London

Moxon's Fishmongers, Dulwich, London

Vegetables and Fruit
Franklin's Farmshop, Dulwich, London
Pretty Traditional, Dulwich, London
SMBS, Dulwich London

DH Perkins' West Dulwich Honey, London

Neal's Yard Dairy, Borough Market, London

Cacao Barry Alto el Sol Plantation Organic 2008 Vintage Chocolate, Peru

First Leaf, Pembrokeshire, Wales


Post a Comment