Serious Foodie Course; Day 5

22 Feb

It’s almost the end of February and that means that I am already more than halfway through my Serious Foodie course. I am disappointed it has gone so fast because that means that in only three more weeks my Wednesday nights will be devoid of delicious three course dinners. 😦

Day 5’s menu consisted of:

  • Assorted Canapés
  • Pan Seared Duck Breast & Scallops with Pineapple and Chili Sauce
  • Asian Slaw and Coconut Rice
  • Tart Tatin

I really could have used this class prior to my “Cocktails and Canapés” birthday party when I was stumped for ideas on how to make a variety of canapés!

As usual, we were split into groups and each group ended up creating five different canapés. Some of the canapés were made with a toasted baguette base and others with an endive leaf base. We were given creative freedom to make them as we wanted, with only the loose formula below to guide us. Note: the ingredients listed below are purely suggestions – you can use whatever you like but as along you follow the formula, it should all come together nicely.

Base + Spread + Main Event + Cheese & Extras + Garnish = Yummy Canapés

The Base:
• Toasted baguette slices
• Endive leaf

• Mayonnaise
• Compound butter

Main Event:
• Meat, such as prosciutto
• Seafood, such as salmon or shrimps
• Vegetables, such as red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes

Cheese and Extras:
• Nuts
• Cheese, such as goat cheese, cambazola, smoked cheddar
• Pomegranate seeds

• Fried capers, fried ginger threads, shallots, caviar

After munching our canapés, we moved on to making the Pan Seared Duck and Scallop. We started by coating the duck in a fragrant rub that consisted of many spices, including cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and cinnamon. We then seared the duck, skin side down. For the next 7 to 10 minutes we cooked the duck breast over a medium heat, whilst attentively turning the meat every few minutes. Whilst searing our scallops, we created a sauce from the leftover juices. To finish, we assembled our thinly sliced duck breast with the scallop, pineapple, and Asian slaw, on a bed of coconut rice and topped it all with the spicy sauce. The sauce was a little too heavily spiced for me and I found that unfortunately it over-powered the rest of the flavours.

We finished our meal with a Tart Tatin, which is basically an upside-down apple and caramel tart. The apples were slowly simmered in caramel until soft and then we placed the dough over the top of the arranged apple quarters before baking it. Once the pastry had turned golden brown, we flipped the tart onto a plate so that the apple side was upwards facing. The tart was actually quite bitter but I was told that you can make it sweeter by not cooking the caramel for as long. I would also serve it with a big spoonful of vanilla ice-cream!

Helpful tips that I learnt from Day 5:

  • Due to its bitterness, endive should be paired with sweeter things.
  • When making canapés, you can give endive leaves a base by slicing a small amount off the back of the leaf so that it sits flat.
  • Tart Tatin is generally bitter tasting, rather than sweet.
  • You always want to bake dough cold. Once you’ve rolled it out, put it back in the fridge to chill before assembling your tart or pie.
  • Compared to chicken, ducks (or flying birds) have more hemoglobin in their breast because they actually use those muscles. That is why their breast meat is fattier and pinker.

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