French gourmet dinner: 5th & 6th courses
Full menu here
So, now we're up to the real meat-and-potatoes of it all...or in this case pheasant, champagne and rice. This was a very rich dish, that to me, was a perfect main course for a decadent French meal. The description for the Faisan a la creme was roasted pheasant served with a rich champagne cream sauce, grapes macerated with orange zest, a savoury rice pilaff and a croustade of duck pate with red currant jelly, based on Lasserre and La Tour d'Argent restaurants, in Paris.
Robert ordered the pheasant through the poultry suppliers at the market, but forgot to tell them he really wanted the frozen birds. He says they are a superior quality as they are hung for a few days before being frozen, which makes them more tender and fully flavoured. But when he went to pick them up he found them beside themselves with pride and excitement...they had found him fresh pheasant! Just shot yesterday! Wasn't he excited? Well....no. He wasn't excited, but he didn't want to burst their bubble. He took them home and roasted them and...yep, they turned out dry, as he expected. So, that's why they're covered in so much rich sauce. I wasn't very impressed with the taste of the pheasant actually; I couldn't taste anything different from a fairly bland chicken breast. Being that pheasants are $24 each (about 3 times as much as a chicken), I don't think I'll be putting in an order anytime soon!
My favourite part of this meal was the amazing rice served with it - it was moist, fluffy and had a gorgeous flavour (from cooking it in shallots softened in French butter, apparently). That and the duck pate with croutons we served with it....ooooh they were fab!
The cheeses were all donated from the French cheese stall at the same market, which was an incredibly generous thing to do. We had a Swiss Emmental, a French goats chevre, an Australian blue and a French d'Affinois, which was like a very well ripened brie (easily the favourite on the night). They were served on large fig leaves, in the style of restaurant Les Pres d'Eugenie where Robert once spent far too much money on a very light lunch. They were served with a huge platter of fresh and dried fruit and another platter of crackers, nuts and fruit bread. Despite all the guests groaning in agony when they saw all the cheeses after their previous 5 courses, and knowing they still had two dessert courses to go, they polished off nearly everything on all the platters! I was extremely surprised! Speaks volumes for the quality of the food. Figs with soft creamy d'Affinois, dates and the chevre, fruit bread and the blue cheese...mmmm.
The fabulous cheese - easily the best cheese platter I've tried.
Nuts, breads and amazingly good grapes, with the French butter I got to take home.
A veritable banquet of fresh fruits. I loved this platter - to me it looked like something someone would have painted in the Renaissance. A still life of perfectly formed fruit. The apricots and blackcurrant grapes in particular were outstanding. I really should eat more fruit from the market rather than the supermarkets...you can easily forget how spectacular fruit can taste.