8 – 12 Course Menu, with paired drinks

I have been a bad blogger.  There have been reasons for this, but I won’t bore you with them.  Instead I shall offer a gourmet feast for your delectation.

Birthday Dinner TableHowever, before I do that I’d like to quickly address a couple of things:

Firstly, number of courses…it helps to know how many you’re creating so you can brag say, “I cooked an X course meal for eight people”.  I promise, I can count up to twenty and beyond, without even using my fingers and toes, but on this I’m a little confused.

When making the count apparently certain parts of a meal don’t qualify as a course.  If you discriminate against certain foodstuffs in this fashion, and don’t include palate cleansers or coffee, then this would be an eight course meal.  I have questions about the validity of this counting method.

Then there’s the order of courses… Soup before salad? Cheese before dessert? Where do palate cleansers fit in? Surely there must be some kind of standard?  But no, apparently not.  I’m telling you, a quick look around the internet and you’ll see what I mean…anything beyond three courses the whole thing’s up for debate.  Right or wrong, this is how we opted to do things (‘we’ being me, of course!).

Centre pieceThis meal was a really fun thing to do for Big Sis’s birthday.  I had an awesome time, from planning to consumption. Hopefully everyone involved enjoyed themselves just as much!

Recipes will follow, as will the update on the now completed Cupboard Challenge, but for now, let me run you through the menu…

Amuse bouche - dried plums soaked in Armagnac, stuffed with duck breast pâté and topped with crisp pancetta.

Amuse bouche – dried plums soaked in Armagnac, stuffed with duck breast pâté and topped with crisp pancetta.
Drink pairing: Prosecco

Now, those eight courses I mentioned – that includes the amuse-bouche…but are you supposed to include them?

Hand made wild mushroom ravioli with white truffle butter sauce

Hand made wild mushroom ravioli with white truffle butter sauce
Drink pairing: Prosecco

Roasted tomato bisque garnished with crumbled feta

Roasted tomato bisque garnished with crumbled feta
Drink pairing: Wheat beer

Twisted Waldorf Salad - savoury profiterole filled with celery mousseline, topped with diced apple and toasted walnuts, served with a maple syrup and mustard dressing

Twisted Waldorf Salad – savoury profiterole filled with celery mousseline, topped with diced apple and toasted walnuts, served with a maple syrup and mustard dressing
Drink pairing: Dry cider

Lemon sorbet (Not home made.  Don't judge.  Time constraints guys, time constraints!)

Lemon sorbet.  Not home made. Please don’t judge me…time constraints guys, time constraints!

Seriously now, why do palate cleansers not qualify as a course?  In a meal of this type they’re about the same size as other things that pass muster.  Seems a little wrong to me.  It’s like saying, “You’re just here to clean my mouth out…you can’t be a course, you’re not substantial enough.  You’re not even really food.”

Poor bullied sorbet 😉

Hot-smoked salmon en croute with cucumber and dill salad.

Hot-smoked salmon en croute with cucumber and dill salad.
Drink pairing: Pinot Grigio (white wine)

Boeuf Bourguignon with creamy mashed potato and roast baby carrot

Boeuf Bourguignon with creamy mashed potato and roast baby carrot
Drink pairing: Malbec (red wine)

Mulled wine sorbet (I did make this one!)

Mulled wine sorbet (I did make this one)

Again, this was so freaking delicious it totally deserved to be counted as a course!

I know I’m obsessing about this course business somewhat, but I really don’t understand the reasoning for the etiquette…nor the lack of solid guidance as to what the accepted etiquette actually is 😉

Dessert - bite sized dark chocolate cups, with raspberry sauce.  One heart filled with whipped chocolate ganache, the other with home made raspberry jelly

Dessert – bite sized dark chocolate cups, with raspberry sauce. One heart filled with whipped chocolate ganache, the other with home made raspberry jelly
Drink pairing: Chambord black raspberry liqueur

Cheese board - ripe Somerset Brie, Cashel Blue, chèvre and Comté cheeses, served with celery, cornichons, grapes, almonds and oatcakes

Cheese board – ripe Somerset Brie, Cashel Blue, chèvre and Comté cheeses, served with celery, cornichons, grapes, almonds and oatcakes
Drink pairing: Green ginger wine

Tiny trivia crackers and mignardises - pear macarons, elderflower and raspberry bites and a chocolate truffle selection (None made by me)

Tiny trivia crackers and mignardises – pear macarons, elderflower and raspberry bites and a chocolate truffle selection (none of them made by me)
Drink pairing: Coffee/Cognac

This really is a course, don’t you think?

3D Corset cake - eight layers of vanilla Madeira cake, filled and frosted with fresh lemon Italian meringue buttercream.  Covered with fondant and finished with hand crafted sugar paste decoration.

3D Corset cake – eight layers of vanilla Madeira cake, filled and frosted with fresh lemon Italian meringue buttercream. Covered with fondant and finished with hand crafted sugar paste decoration and squiggly candles.  Very much made by me – so proud of this one!

Front detail of corset cake - with hand tinted embroidery front panel detail.  All edible except for the flowers (because of the diamanté embellishments)
Front detail of corset cake – with hand tinted embroidery front panel.
All edible except for the flowers (because of the diamanté embellishments)

What about cake…is birthday cake not a course?  I think it really should be.

Back ribbon and lacing detail
Back detail of corset cake – hand crafted and edible (again, apart from the roses)

So by my reckoning, if you’re not being at all strict, and you count everything, this was a 12 course meal.

A huge thank you needs to be said to Petit Man and Medieval for their invaluable help and extremely able assistance in helping me to pull this off. It was great sharing a kitchen, dining room and evening with you guys…you’re both awesome .

Massive thanks also to Chef J for the invaluable advance technical support and guidance – several pitfalls were avoided due to your sound advice – you’re a star!

So what do you reckon? How many courses was it? 😉
x

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