Carolyn, a woman I met through my friend Gina, has been following my blog and eying all the wonderful things I get to eat. So when she came to town this past weekend, it was a must to have her try a meal from the man she's read so much about.
Upon their arrival (and the rest of the crew – Donnie, Greg, Teresa), we had a cheese plate set out with mostly all Fifth Town cheeses that we picked up in a recent trip to Picton to wipe away any immediate hunger pangs. We also had some yummy rhubarb preserve that my mother made and that went oh-so-beautifully with the cheeses, and a homemade rillettes from Aubrey's. YUM. We sipped on a glorious Prosecco with this first course.
Forcing ourselves to stop eating and save room for dinner was pure torture. Until the smell of garlic started seeping out of the oven. But before making it to the main course, my husband served a velvety honey roasted parsnip purée topped with a garnish of crisp, fried sage. I was in heaven. What an amazing soup. I don't remember the last time I fell in love with a soup this much (probably the last one my husband made). But wow, this one was just divine. Gina's Sauvignon Blanc went perfectly with the soup.
For the main, my husband served spatchcocked hens cooked to a skillful golden brown and crisp around the edges. The secret he says, is to poke little holes in the skin and then add a dusting of cornstarch before roasting. The meat inside was so tender and juicy – an expected result after the hours spent in the fridge marinating in garlic, brandy, olive oil, salt and thyme. And if all these beautiful flavours weren't enough, a mild redcurrant glaze finished the job, leaving each cornish hen ready to wow us. And did they ever!
Sides for this delectable dish – whipped polenta and fresh, al dente green beens tossed with garlic infused olive oil and chunks of roasted garlic. I served a Prince Edward County Chardonnay with this meal, as well as a wonderful Pinot Noir that Donnie brought.
For dessert, tawny port and a luscious, silky, vanilla crème brûlée made with fresh vanilla beans. This dessert is slowly becoming one of my husband's specialties. The last one we had was maple pumpkin. I love sitting back, closing my eyes and just letting the sweet cream and vanilla flavours fill every inch of my mouth before it melts away. Desserts like this never last long enough.
We also had a second dessert (you can never have too many desserts!) Teresa brought moist chocolate cupcakes with a smooth almost mousse-like icing on top. Desserts like these make you want to smile. There's an element of being a kid again but also the fact that it's really cake – and instead of getting the crappy piece without the big icing garnish, you get the whole icing garnish to yourself. What more could one ask for? A macaron you say?! She brought those too!
Thanks so much to everyone for coming over and making our dinner night so special!