18 September 2006

The Secret Garden

Tarragon leaves, Coriander leaves, Rose petals, Dill leaves, Cornflower petals and Chive leaves all put together creates a sweet yet earthy herb aroma. The Secret Garden blend, yet again from BATS, is imported from JM Theircelin. With those bewitching flecks of pink, purple and blue amidst the rustic green, I thought they would pair flawlessly with a delicate tasting fish.

Instead of just concocting a sauce out of the herb blend, I decided to poach the fish in a liquid spiked with these flowers and herbs as well. Half an onion, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbspns of The Secret Garden, and some water were boiled and brought to a slow simmer and left to cool till only warm. The fish were slipped in and left to cook slowly in barely simmering heat for about 20 minutes then served with a Secret Garden sauce made from butter, cream, salt and pepper.

Using a recipe from Donna Hay's Issue 23 (Pg 54) for Zucchini Pancakes, I served Pacific Dory with three pieces of Zucchini Pancakes and drizzled sauce generously over them. A side of salad was tossed in a vinaigrette made out of truffle infused oil and truffle vinegar, rich and light at the same time if that even makes any sense to you.

Using another Donna Hay recipe for a Strawberry Ginger Punch, strawberries and mint were soaked in ginger ale and served chilled. While the strawberries and mint helped inject beautiful colours, the brown tinge from the ginger ale dulled these colours. I really liked the combination of ginger ale with refreshing hints of mint and strawberry jewels to have once the punch is finished. But because presentation is also a big factor for dinner parties, I might choose a clear soda or fruit juice like white grape juice instead.

Of course, if you knew me well enough, I would never serve just a one course when I am entertaining guests. But the 'entree', which actually could have served as a main in itself, and the dessert both deserve a dedicated entry each and shall be kept for another time while I work on perfecting each. Meanwhile, isn't it obvious that I'm now a Donna Hay convert? I think I'm gonig to start buying fewer O Magazines and more Donna Hays. Here are the two Donna Hay recipes I for this meal.

Zucchini Pancakes
Donna Hay Issue 23
Serves 4 as a side

2 zucchinis, finely grated
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
6 egg whites
3/4 to 1 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbspn butter

Mix all ingredients together, adding only 3/4 cup of flour, and adding more flour if the batter is too watery.
Heat 1 tbspn butter in an 8-inch non-stick frying pan on medium-low heat.
Pour half the zucchini batter, making sure you give it a stir first, into the pan.
Let the bottom brown considerably before sliding it out onto the plate.
Cover plate with non-stick pan and invert the plate such that the uncooked side of the pancake is now on the frying pan.
Return to heat and cook until brown.
Pancake should feel firm, if not, leave in frying pan on low heat.
When done, using cooking cutters, cut out circles of zucchini pancakes and keep warm for service.
Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Taste a little before serving and sprinkle some salt if necessary.

Strawberry Ginger Punch
From one of Donna Hay Magazines :)
250g strawberries, hulled and halved
1.5 litres ginger ale (or ice cream soda/white grape juice)
1/2 cup mint leaves, left whole
crushed ice

Mix all ingredients together in a clear glass pitcher and serve.


evan said...

hi i stumbled upon your blog. lovely food pics u have here :) im a foodie myself too and its great to know likeminded ppl. take care!

Anonymous said...

Hi Evan,
You've got a really good looking blog! =)

evan said...

hi daffy, thats really sweet of you =) yours is really good too. very informative!