Last night I cooked a celebratory dinner for my dear friend Jimmy who joined the fabulous 40's club last week. Sadly we won't be able to make his riotous weekend in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks time, as we'll be sunning ourselves for my 40th in Brazil, so to make up for this, I prepared a rather gourmand supper for 4.
We kicked off with a bottle of Champagne from our favourite Champagne house Yves Jacques in Baye. We make our pilgrimage there each year to stock up, the owners are knowledgeable and charming and they also sell a fantastic Bordeaux on behalf of their friends who produce it. The Champagne is delicious and very reasonable at 13 euros a bottle for their standard vintage. If you're ever in the Champagne region wondering where to buy, then make your way to this small producer. It was accompanied by a pecorino, fig and rocket salad, dressed with an orange and honey dressing from the forever intriguing Yotam Ottolenghi. A beautiful partnership of sweet and sour flavours. He uses spices and ingredients in a most unusual way that one couldn't ever dream up, but they always work so perfectly together.
The piece de resistence was the Venison Stew. Created from a recipe by the inimitable Gordon Ramsey, the sauce enriched by bitter chocolate and raspberry vinegar giving it a fruity tang, enveloped the Venison magnificently. Served with good old fashioned Mashed potato made with cream and lashings of butter seasoned with sea salt, made for exquisite Autumnal fare.
Pudding was a rather decadent whisky mac cupcake from Lovebakery's stunning book, served with my very own fruit salad. Grab any fruit you have lying around, I had strawberries, peaches, grapes and oranges. Chop into chunks then a separate bowl pour in a wine glass of Port wine, a little orange juice, a teaspoon of Cinnamon and a couple of tablespoons of honey. Mix it all up with a fork then pour over the fruit, give it all a good stir and pop in the fridge until you need it. The longer it's in there the more the fruit soaks up the heavenly dressing.
The dinner was complemented by a range of blissful fine wines, ranging from my favourite Le Chateauneuf Du Pape to Saint Emilion to a Fleurie. Needless to say I am now suffering somewhat, but hey what the hell it was worth it for such a perfectly indulgent evening with old friends.