Christmas madness has officially begun! My Christmas tree is up, I’ve started my Christmas baking (more about that in another post) and I wish I could say that I’ve finished my Christmas shopping but I’ve only just begun that…
At least I’ve pretty much got the Christmas meal sorted since I got some great ideas from a recent masterclass I attended, where Peter Gilmore (of Quay Restaurant fame) shared his Christmas menu. We sat on the upper level of Quay, which is reserved for functions with a spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour and its landmarks, and also has an Electrolux kitchen installed at one end.
We sat around the kitchen and watched as Peter Gilmore cooked and plated up his three-course Christmas menu. The dishes were simple to prepare and most of the work can be done ahead of time to minimise the chances of you running around like a headless chicken after the guests have arrived!
The first course showcased Australia’s fresh seafood, with the marron being gently steamed and dressed with a fragrant herb butter. It was served with a young leaf salad with baby cress, sorrel, parsley and celery leaf as well as shaved baby radish and some edible flowers. The marron was juicy and sweet while the herb butter was an indulgent complement to the subtle flavour of the marron meat.
The main event of this meal was a huge roasted beef rib (about 4.5kg) with young vegetables and the most delicious potato gratin I have ever eaten. The beef had been in the oven for about 2.5 hours already and left to rest. It was simply reheated in the oven for 10 minutes before being carved to reveal the perfectly cooked meat. It’s not a traditional ham or turkey but I would certainly be impressed if this appeared at my Christmas meal!
The beef was served with a classic Bearnaise, and we watched as Peter Gilmore and his chef slowly and patiently emulsified the egg yolks and clarified butter to create the Bearnaise. Some baby turnips, spring onions, radishes, leeks and cauliflower were also steamed and then tossed in some melted butter before being placed on a serving plate with the beef rib. We didn’t see the potato gratin being made, but the slices and flecks of truffle managed to bring this dish to another level of deliciousness. I guess you can’t really go wrong with potatoes, butter, cream and truffle, can you?
For dessert, an ice cream terrine was brought out and unmoulded from its tin. The terrine was made in advance and was essentially vanilla ice cream with lots of Christmassy additions, including crumbled Christmas pudding, raises, amaretto, dried cherries and nougat. A punnet of fresh raspberries was scattered over the top, while fresh figs were caramelised and used as a garnish on the terrine. A few caramelised almonds and a smattering of icing sugar and it was ready to serve.
We dug in with our spoons and even though I’m not a fan of Christmas pudding, I loved the terrine. It was mostly vanilla ice cream until you got a surprise hit of dried fruit or a chunk of nougat – and that’s when the Christmas flavour hits you. The figs were amazing with the dark caramel around them and a great accompaniment to the ice cream. I’m definitely going to try and make this one at home Christmas!
Believe it or not, we still had a 5-course meal to get through afterwards, so I’ll leave you with the photos of the dishes and let them do the talking :)
Penguin says Feed Me attended the Quay Festive Masterclass courtesy of Open Haus and Electrolux.
Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9251 5600
Lunch: Tuesday to Friday, noon to 2.30pm
Dinner: 7 days, 6-10pm