Friday, 17 February 2012

Dinner with friends

It's time for having friends over for dinner. Not that this happens seldomly. It's just such a good occasion to try out more than a single bottle of wine (or two as it sometimes happens). Tonight we try out a whole lot.
T has decided that we shall have some white Hermitage and for this a lobster bisque seems like a good choice. Secondly we will have some Lamb, as this will allow us to select som wine together with our friends. Our friends brings delicious cheeses which also calls for some wine and in the end a little desert should also provide an opportunity for a glass of wine.
Since it is Friday we are a bit stressed, so our friends have to put up with us being a bit disorganized and very informal. They are placed the at the kitchen table (and are even doing dishes from our initial preparations) and are served some tapenade with toasted bread. With this we have a glass of champagne from Debas-Comin. (Un)fortunately, we are not even close to having the first course when the champagne runs dry, but this gives K an opportunity to serve a glass of Meursault that she tried on her own some time ago and which she is understandably quite fond of. The Meursault Les Charmes, Domaine Chavy-Chouet, 2010 is very good, full and buttery and the acidity is very well integrated in the young 2010 vintage. In the meantime...
For the bisque, which is a quick friday-version, we have started a vegetable fond by frying carrot, parsnip, garlic, onion, leeks, (one small) Jerusalem artichoke and a few fresh tomatoes, one chili, adding white wine, white pepper and letting it steam off the alcohol and then pouring water on top and let it simmer for an hour. The bisque tonight is made of Norway lobsters. The meat is taken out of the lobster tails. Then the claws, heads and empty tails are fried on a hot pan. Next a generous measure of what should have been cognac, but on this occasion was rum was added and ignited. This caused quite some panic as one of the guests is on the verge of fleeing the apartment. The pan is withdrawn from the stove, the fire subsided and the fleeing guest is calmed with another glass of Meursault. We’re sorry that we did not think of taking pictures of the scene.
Next the vegetable fond, which has been sieved and the vegetables discarded, is poured over the lobsters and is left to simmer for 10 minutes, then about 1 dl of cream is added and simmers until thickening. In the meantime large scallops are fried hard and short and are placed in the bowls along with the lobster meat and the bisque is poured on top.
We are very happy with the result and together with the 2001 Chave Hermitage Blanc we are mildly exuberant. 9,4/10.
The main course is a leg of lamb arranged on root vegetables – potatoes, carrots, beet roots and of course some fresh, crisp fennel. The lamb itself is prepared with a marinate of oil, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.
It goes in the oven at 180°C for a good hour and then it is simply ready to go and delicious.
Our friends may have a slight preference for Chateauneuf du Pape (but have on other occasions agreed to most of what we serve for them), so when given the choice the outcome seems inevitable, as T is also very much partial to such a selection on this evening. We try out the 2008 Vieux Telegraphe and also a 2008 La Roquète. This is not as good a year as most of the recent vintages in Chateauneuf du Pape, but it is still very much to our liking. 3 prefer the Vieux Telegraphe and 2 actually prefer the less well known La Roquete.
Our guests have brought cheese – Epoisse, of course, Langre, which is a bit similar and in the end a Roquefort. This calls for a little variety, we think so, we start out with a bottle of Tasman Bay Pinot Noir 2008 and then when getting to the blue cheese we turn to an Australian Port from Kalleske, which we tasted during our trip to London. Unfortunately it is corked and so we have to open a bottle of Ortiz Port.
Actually, one of our guests suggests that the Langre should be accompanied by some Calvados and so this has to be tried out also. Alas, T is feeling sleepiness approach and so it is just our guest and K who embarks on the Calva experiment.
This port  also goes well with our small dessert – apple crumble with whipped cream. The apple crumble is on this occasion made only with apples and made in portion sizes.

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