The 6-courses, meat-themed dinner for my girlfriend (preview for The Birthday Menu 2017)

There is still a month left until her birthday but a successful dinner is nothing without planning.

Usually, I try to gather all my new ideas and experiences at cooking workshops and then design a menu with all this new knowledge. This process actually doesn’t include meat that much but more a typical selection of aromas, cooking techniques and the introduction to new flavors.

The reason why I will make a meat-themed dinner this year is simply the need to share this wonderful dinner experience with more people than just my girlfriend. And who else would come into my mind than her mom and her brother. Since I also wanted to host a meat-theme dinner party for him because he’s a huge fan of meat, I felt that I could combine both ideas and cook a nice 6-course menu based on different meats with one goal: to meet the needs of meat. (That pun was lame, I know)

The menu itself starts with a little hors d’oeuvre combining different molecular cooking techniques.

There will be a little blini, holding a salmon-tartar, some fake caviar of dill oil (spherification) and a tiny notch of crème fraiche. The whole bite will be served in a transparent butter-dish bell and covered with rosemary, thyme and orange peel smoke.

The second course comes as a tramezzino filled with chicken rillettes. The rillettes will hold light aromas of thyme and lavender. On the side of the bite-sized sandwich, a warm tomato ice cream will demonstrate the potential of methylcellulose. A pretty cool hot thing with which you can cook something and let it melt as it cools down.

Of course, it would be a shame to leave out sous-vide cooking in this kind of menu.

So the third course features sous-vide cured and cooked pork belly, along with apple puree or gel , celeriac puree and small grilled and buttered carrot balls.

A little bit more wintry to match the season: the fourth course with pan-seared duck breast, a pumpkin puree, pumpkin oil drops, some vegetable garnish, creamy fried potatoes and some sweet port-jus will heat up the guests.

What would a meat-themed dinner be without a nice cut of a beef fillet? Nothing, right?

The beef will be served as a simple slice of truffled Beef Wellington. A whole meal on its own.

For the dessert, I wanted to avoid cinnamon because my brother-in-law doesn’t really like it. So I started thinking and I think something nice came to my mind.

A hemispheric bowl of white chocolate will be filled and garnished with homemade caramel sauce, vanilla and rum infused pineapple fillets, some black coffee sponge pieces, popping sugar and, for the acidic and fresh part, a few dots of crème fraiche.

 

The liquid part of the dinner will be an elderflower gin tonic served in an ice sphere.

 

Feedback and tips are welcome!

 

How to plan your dinner comes as an app!

Not all the how-to articles have been published yet but I wanted to give you a little sneak preview on what is coming the next year.

Since I will have written all the posts on “how to plan your (gourmet) dinner”, there will be a little thing missing in order to complete the package. What would all the tips and rules be for if we still work with a pencil and a sheet of paper. Come on, it’s 2017! There will be an app for that.

I plan to design, develop and publish an app for planning and executing a full course gourmet dinner preparation with special project management features and menu design tips! So far, the software requirements specification is done and I’ve got to say, it will be really helpful. A complete 8-course, culinary discovery trip, 6 people feeding menu could be planned in no time at all! And by saying “planned” I mean the whole menu, each course has its components and preparation steps defined, the preparation schedule is done and even a grocery shopping list is ready to be checked!

Right now, I’m working on the user interface and since I’m doing this with paper templates, I mocked up a fast and sketchy preview for the iOS-version.

mockupmoqups

 

There will be plenty of other features improving the quality of your gourmet dinner.

 

Stay tuned for more!

How to (my own): plan your dinner, step 6

Hi, I’m back again with another post today in the category: “How to (my own): plan your dinner.

We’ve planned the content of the dinner so far…

…what you want to do once your dinner is designed, is really planning it.

First of all, list up for each course each single component in order to visualize what you are gonna need to prepare. In my last 8-course dinner, I had not less than 46 components to prepare or put in place.

So this step might sound trivial but it is crucial for a successful dinner planning.

Once you have written down all your components, analyze each one and think of the way you will prepare it. Is there a recipe for it? Will you need to cook it yourself? Could you even cheat a little bit and buy it ready?

For most of the components, I prefer to prepare them by myself or think of a way to cook them. For example, making a pea puree or steaming a fish doesn’t need that much skill. On the other hand, when I bake, I really rely on recipes which have been approved by the online community where it is posted.

Then again, my so-called “lemon gel” is nothing else than some lemon curd coming out of a syringue, it totally does the trick.

Whether you cook it on your own or you use a recipe, the essential action here is writing down the total time it will need. If you make up a recipe, I’d like to advise you to calculate with 10% more time. This is really important for the next step in these series.

When you’re done writing the total time, you will need to decompose each component time into distinct parts: for example, if you intend to make ice cream, you need to calculate with 10-15 minutes preparing the mixture, 20-30 minutes letting the ice cream machine do its job and then again 10 minutes for putting it into a container for your freezer, then tidying up the little mess you’ve just made.

All these time sections will be useful in the next part so once you’ve done this, you are ready to move on.

At the end of this step, you should have something that looks like this:

(Don’t mind the German component names)

Missed part 5? Click here!

Go on to next step here!

dinnerplanningtable