Tuesday started like a dream in the morning, and it just went on. Kat had been planning her Bugs Bunny Project for days, and me… well, I wasn’t able to do any thinking whatsoever. Note to self: trying to find out what is going on in other people’s mind is only good for one thing: driving me crazy.
Krzysztof was coming over to supply our daily bread and to witness how the rabbit selection is turning into a rather interesting assiette dish. Without him we would end up with a very empty stomach! :)
After her gym session and some shopping Kat attacked the kitchen. In her basket there were various parts of a rabbit, like some smoked loin, a confit, teeny-tiny chops :), half a kidney(!) and a belly(!!!) vacuum packed – you know, only basic stuff, sure you will find them in every normal household.
In rapid motion mode she systematically started to prepare all the above mentioned parts (everything in the same time basically, she’s a robot…!) and I weaponed myself with my own gear. Poor Kat, I don’t even know how she is able to do any sort of work in the kitchen having me constantly in her way: over her shoulder, under her underarm, in front of her face, on top of her head; a hundred times asking her to stop whatever she’s doing :)
The rabbit stock had been bubbling for hours: all the meat and bone parings and trimmings from the late bunny, vegetables and magic seasoning. Quite nice the soup became, but this was not the end of the tale: Kat mixed some agar-agar flakes into the muslin-filtered stock, poured in a plastic container and put it in the fridge to set.
Not much happened to the loin, it was just covered with marmelade and sesame seeds, or at least I think so, but to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to that part, I was more busy with investigating the rabbit belly. From an organ like this I would expect to be something like a little bag, but this was just some 2-3 inches long pink stripes, loosely attached to each other. These bits needed to turn into crisps by deepfrying and Kat appointed this job easy enough so left the belly with me to play with.
I have to say, deepfrying a rabbit belly is as far from being easy as the north pole from the south one. First of all the stuff is sticky as hell so just separating the bits from each other was taking up about 98% of my processor capacity. Good god, I was frying only one single bit at a time! When it reached the oil in the pan, sizzled up like a drop of water and a few seconds later it went off, ready to leave the oilbath.The result is tiny brown, crinkly bits and I still have no idea how they taste, I totally forgot to try them as I was far too busy for that (did I mention what a grand performance it is, deepfrying a rabbit belly whilst taking pictures?), but later on the masterchefs said that it must not have any distinctive flavour, more like any other deepfried animal-origin stuff, crackling for e.g.
(Not to mention, after the belly-story my fingers were not only sticky but proper black for a whole day, they looked like I had been digging in the garden with bare hands!!!)
In the meantime Kat was preparing the confit-part of the dish, so I didn’t even have a chance to observe that. All I had seen is that she was creating some rather suspiciously looking, frothy green liquid which she turned into a light fluffy ball in the microwave owen. Then she caramelized the baby carrots (previously prepared by me; dealing with carrots seems to be another dead easy thing to do, nearly as easy as the belly).
By this time the rabbit stock jelly had set in the fridge, so Kat could cut it into small cubes:
There was still something missing: the tiny chops! Omg, this stuff is sooooooo supercute, the bones are like matchsticks! :) Kat spread some dijon mustard on it and coated with chopped parsley and crushed pinenuts >>> oven, whatever degrees, short time – because we do love the nice pink color of the cut chops!
Gosh, the chops in this picture are at least
three times bigger than in real life! :)
And just when Kat started to build up the dish, Krzysztof rang the doorbell. I nearly dropped the camera, goddamned bell is so loud! :D
So, let’s have a look at Masterchef Kat’s Bugs Bunny Assiette together:
(Feck, I just realized, that I missed the liver tartare…! Doh!!! – Ehh, anyway, it was fake, not even liver was used for that but black olives instead, finely chopped, and some leftover raw meat; it actually did look like some mixture with liver in it. And yes, on top of the tartare there is the yolk of a real easter egg, the easter bunny laid it just for this special occasion!)
This dish was so complex, it really gave me a headache how to photograph it. Eventually I decided to take pictures separately about the different sub-parts and just took this silly looking from-above one as a map! :)
And after I finished with the dish, Kat threw everything in the bin with one slack movement of a hand, end of story.
Fooling around the rabbit plate I nearly missed all the cool stuff Kris already started to prepare. On the menu today: pork fillet, black pudding ravioli, rosemary gnocchi, cream cabbage, mushrooms and raw enoki – did I forget to mention that Kat and me we are trying to keep our diet…?! :D
Ok, from the menu you can tell already that Kris is a real chef, just like Kat. We all used to work in the same hotel before, then he went for the restaurant where Kat is working now (only for a short while, though!). And guess what, I ended up in the hotel where he’s working now :) Small world, small town! Apart from being a superstar in the kitchen, he is pretty much involved into photography, too (and turntables…)! It is a shame that cooking and taking pictures simply can not be done at the same time (I tried, it just won’t happen! Both creating a meal and turning it into a pure visual dimension require the whole person, that’s for sure.)
Kris is known of his razor-sharp knives. He says that a chef just can’t work without well sharpened equipment, it is just basic in the kitchen:
I’m quite sure he could fillet a fly with this!
Kat was just a little surprised, when he started to make the dough for the ravioli and the gnocchi, ab ovo. (Hm, the expression ab ovo is more than appropriate in this case: did you know that it means “from the egg” in Latin?)
The filling in the ravioli is black pudding, quickly cooked together with onion – this is very basic with black pudding, it has to be cooked in whatever way before it goes on the plate (or at least basic for a chef, but now I know it too!).
I simply fell in love with this picture, even if the one in the middle is way out of focus. I don’t know… the lights seem so natural for me, despite of that I couldn’t use anything else but the on-camera flashgun. Taking these pictures took me only a minute, so it was really an instant job – still loving them so much! <3 Kris was really helpful even in this one minute, he was basically modelling by stopping the motion for the time I was shooting his hands :)
The idea for the gnocchi came from Kris’ current experience: he went to Ollie’s restaurant for lunch and had the best gnocchi ever, so he wanted to re-create the same. Well, I don’t know how gnocchies taste in the Coal Shed, but these were delicious!
So our dinner was being built up. Fillet of pork in the oven, ravioli cooked, gnocchi ready, cabbage in the pan with cream.
I just realized the next day what “fillet” exactly means. In Hungary fillet or “filé” is a piece of fish (or meat) with no bones in it. What we call fillet in english is called “virgin” in hungarian, refferring to that this is the most precious piece of meat – where the most precious piece of meat equals to a virgin… :)
And even the apple sauce was freshly made from reeeaaal apple, yummie!
My absolute favourite part of the dish was the whole thing as it is, special thanks for the 5* cabbage, that was AWESOME, and immediately I have to apologize for my upside-down taste, but I just loooooooove green stuff! :)
Having chefs around is one of the few luxuries in my life. Not only because they can cook, but when they’re doing it is always big time, either at work or at home. We’ll love Kris forever! Dinner was amazing, he is more than welcome at ours anytime! ;)