Jes the Chef

“There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The first weekend of December my officemate, Jes, invited me and few my colleagues to her house for a European Dinner. It’s a 3 course meal (that eventually turned into 4) and she said the menu was a surprise. When I asked if there’s anything I can do to help she declined and said she will prepare everything. I was in awe as I never knew anybody who can do an entire entree of food in one dinner alone. But knowing Jes, I knew it’s going to be an interesting evening for the main meal of the day.

Jes loves to cook, she reminded of the Nigella Lawson the domestic goddess. She’s a big Jamie Oliver’s fan and she planned to marry him someday. All of the recipes for the evening were from Jamie’s recipes. She was always generously sharing her cooking with us during lunch and all of us are excited and always looking forward to it every time there’s a heads up of her bringing food in the office. Having been invited for this formal sit down dinner I felt privileged… felt like the ‘chosen one’ after all, how many friends you got who will take this extra lengths of preparation just to feed you? To make this European dinner more classy Jes, asked us to dress up and to bring white wine to match her menu so I picked up a bottle of Chardonnay on the way to Jes’ crib.

All of the food here, the ice cream, and the pica-pica were created and handmade by the hostess nothing bought from the grocery ready-made (except for the champagnes, alcoholic beverages, etc.)  Or should I say, ready to eat. Also, all the dishes had a mixture of wine or vodka – this is Jes’ trademark. To add more drama to dinner instead of saying a prayer we individually say out loud what we are thankful for…Yeah, it was my idea, I picked it up from reading  eat pray love and Henny finds it awkward harharhar! c”,)

Pre- Dinner Starters

  1. Rose Champagne (Just a historical background, champagne first gained world renown because of its association with the anointment of French kings. Royalty from throughout Europe spread the message of the unique sparkling wine from Champagne and its association with luxury and power.) 
  2. Foie gras mousse on Rye topped with pitted cherries
  3. Camembert topped with Apricot Jam and Fresh Blackberries
  4. French Brie topped with Fresh Raspberries in Phyllo Shells
  5. Lingonberry Jam & Camembert Cheese topped with Pecans in Phyllo Shells

 First Appetizer

Mediterrean Mussels – The Hors d’oeuvres to pique our appetite. Mussels have traditionally been a delicacy in continental Europe. This serving was cooked with tomatoes, wine and garlic and it tasted very nice.  The tomatoes add a nice sweetness to this dish. Since I was aware that the every dish has wine I was conscious that the wine may overpower the delicate flavor of the mussel meat but I was pleasantly surprised that the sauce was so mellow not as sharp. I could not even taste the wine and the fact that it was served with baguette or crusty Italian bread made it very delizioso!!!  I will never look at mussels the same way again in fact if I happen to see one I will be reminded of this dish.

Second Appetizer

Roquefort salad with warm croutons and lardonsRoquefort is a sheep milk blue cheese from the south of France, it is one of the world’s best-known blue cheeses. Legend has it that the cheese was discovered when a youth, eating his lunch of bread and ewes’ milk cheese, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. Abandoning his meal in a nearby cave, he ran to meet her. When he returned a few months later, the mold had transformed his plain cheese into Roquefort.

I don’t eat my veggies since I was a child if I do I am very selective. Those salads with leaves they are just there for décor sometimes I wonder why people eat them.  But for this dinner, I don’t want to miss a thing. So I munched those greens and surprisingly find them very tasty.   

Palate Cleanser

Pear Sorbet– is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with fruit (typically juice or puree), wine, and/or liqueur Sorbet is sometimes served between courses as a way to cleanse the palate before the main course. This crushed of ice with pear and liquor was flavorsome.

Main Course

Pot-Roasted Poussins Agro Dolce served with olive oil mash – Poussin pronounced as [poo-SAHN] was a French word for a very young, small chicken, sometimes also called petit Poussin.   Agro dolce is a traditional sweet and sour sauce in Italian cuisine. Its name comes from “agro” (sour) and “dolce” (sweet). Agro dolce is made by reducing sour and sweet elements, traditionally vinegar and sugar.

As  an Asian (or maybe it’s just me) when served by an exquisite meal I tend to look for rice to maximize the taste but in this case I get hold of myself just to savor the chicken with the orange fruit  and turkey bacon on its own. All I can say now  with my index and middle finger  placed on the thumb and  the remaining two fingers point upwards is “Prelibato!” (Italian word for excellent, tasty)

 Dessert

Prune & Armagnac Ice Cream – Armagnac is  a district in Gascony in southwestern France that is best-known for distilling wine into brandy. I’m not much into sweets but this combination of ice cream, pear, and vodka was exquisite.

The dessert was over after 12 midnight.  For every meal, we took a break because we need to breathe really. We are all stuffed that most of us felt sleepy. I need to mention, the utensils used are fine, I love the shapes of plates and the bowls. This dinner was an awesome experience for me and I’m glad I came and more thankful that I was invited. I felt so bloated but in a good way it was a very soothing meal that beats all the fine dining and fancy restaurants here. Thanks Jes!

 
 

Dinner Attendees - Nen , Henny, Jeremy, and Chua

 

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