Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Anna's (Morsels and Musings) 'Achiote and tequila cured beef knuckle with pozole rojo' was cured for 24 hours in sugar and tequila then poached for 30 minutes at 100ºC. It reminded me of the corned beef sandwiches of my childhood but in this case with pointedly Mexican flair. Avocado, corn, tomato and baby coriander were laden over the cured beef, dotted with pozole and a wistful hint of smokiness.
'Seared sirloin, buttered roots, horseradish and wakame' by Aficionado (that's me!). The sirloin was cooked sous-vide (vacuum sealed and poached in a water bath), seared and served alongside baby beets poached in butter and dashi, pickled radish and celery, enoki mushrooms, daikon jelly, wakame seaweed, horseradish and fried lotus. Simple, clean, seasonal flavours, a flirtatious integration of textures and totally fantastic (being completely objective of course).
Warren's contribution of 'Thai beef salad with mint, peanuts and chilli dressing' made use of the flat meats coupled with cucumber 'spaghetti', tomato, chilli, peanut caramel (made with roasted peanuts and palm sugar) and tiny cubes of intense lemongrass jelly. A very robust, deconstructed adaptation of the traditional.
Ellie of Almost Bourdain created a hawker dish of 'Beef satay with spicy peanut sauce, rice cake and herb salad', unlike any satay I've ever had. Ridiculously tender marinated rump was served with compressed rice rolled in toasted coconut alongside a surprisingly irresistible salad of betel leaf and was a real eye-opener to the world of Asian cuisine that I've still yet to experience. I have no idea what betel leaf is but I've since decided that I'm going to find a way to grow it so I can have it every single day of the week.
From Fouad came 'Scotch fillet with moghrabiyeh', seared first then cooked sous-vide. Moghrabiyeh I learned, is a type of Lebanese couscous which was paired with chickpeas, carrot puree, pickled carrot, saffron-poached onion, beurre blanc, cumin, cardamom and caraway. Rich, smooth and creamy countered with just a hint of acidity for balance.
Trina the Gourmet Forager had a hand in creating this 'Pulled beef and pine mushroom cannelloni'. The chuck was wet-roasted for three to four hours with red wine, beef stock and dried mushrooms for intensity of flavour before being pulled apart and rolled in delicate sheets of pasta. Speck was added to the reduction to impart an element of smokiness and pine mushrooms roasted with garlic butter and oregano. Reminiscing about this dish, I can almost imagine the perfect setting by the edge of a woodland forest - a chequered picnic blanket spread amongst a sea of wildflowers, sipping on a lusty red and licking mushroom cream from my fingers under falling light..
Ex-chef and experienced foodie Rebecca of Inside Cuisine incorporated 'Braised beef in coffee with brandied cumquats and onion milk'. The blade was cooked for eighteen hours at 63ºC and wet-roasted to create a coffee 'crust', wrapped in a croustillant of brik pastry and shoestring potatoes for a juxtaposing textural crunch, and dished up with tantalisingly sweet and nutmeg-y onion soubise.
The Internet Chef - Bridget's 'Slow braised brisket with cauliflower cream and Pedro Ximenez muscatels' drew immediate parallels with a dish of braised beef cheek with unbelievably smooth and creamy cauliflower puree that I tried at Movida last year. Braised, pressed and glazed, it wasn't quite as soft and gelatinous as Frank Camorra's, but undulating bursts of sweetness and acidity from plump PX-soaked raisins countered with a crunchy dissection of pickled cauliflower elevated Bridget's dish to another level. If I wasn't in full-view I'd have no qualms about licking my plate squeaky clean.