F*CK F*CK F*CK…. i had such a hard time in the last 3 weeks… basically my battery needs a huge charging, cause im off. The restaurant was surprisingly busy with functions, weddings, school holiday and we dont really have staff to deal with it. Fortunately the situation is pretty much the same on the floor as well – we both try to support each other in these `going down` periods… Well, as we use to say, if something can`t kill u, makes u stronger… trying to belive in this stupid phrase and force to be proud of myself, totally alone was able to manage and run my whole section (2!) after all… Big thanx to my secret love (Scott), he was dealing with this hell next to me quite a lot. So its just too much. When u need to go one hour earlier and leave two hours later (without extra benefit) just to keep the same level of quality and achieve the expectations … yes, u are a big idiot. However, u are stupid if u just try to ignore the huge prep-list and stick with the official working hours – u gonna face with a humiliation from your headchef `big time`… :)
And well… of course there was this pathetic Valentine-day, fully booked, all tables for two all night long (will u marry me??? BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW) with special very very sexy menu… i hated that night. Everything went smoothly, food was amazing and everyone was soo happy… if u hardly could breath… I still hate it and i will. But one beautiful dish just born that time. Actually a little later and has nothing to do with Mr. Valentine – my inspiration was a nameday of a `really good` friend – but it is just as sexy, as the Valentines day should be in anOTHER dimension.
Obviously we are talking about a sweet and extraordinary dessert based on the marriage of Mr. Foie Gras and Ms. Hazelnut Praline….
In a breadcrumb:
It is a foie gras ballotine stuffed with creamy praline and crunchy hazelnut brittle with a thin layer of rasberry jelly (for the necessary sharpness), sous vide 58degrees for 30min and coat in a toasted caramelized hazelnut-vanilla crumb, serve with a `salty` pepper-praline microwave cake and a refreshing creme frache sorbet, decorate with a hazelnut-tuille.
So start with your liver. The preparation is nothing else but take off all the veins – yes, this is a messy job and feels so unrespectful in the point of the foie gras… but has to be done, even if u destroy the structure of the liver – u will give a new shape after. Make your crunchy brittle with melting some sugar in a pan (clean it first with lemon juice) till reach a light brown color and empty it into a flat tray cover with baking paper. Make sure that your caramel-layer is clear and thin (set really fast, it helps if u work on a hot surface, like your tray is warm a bit). Last step is to sprinkle with your half-grounded nuts and leave to set. After u can brake into pieces and mixed with your praline mix (sugar-coated nuts blend into a really smooth paste) – your stuffing is ready.
The rasberry jelly is funky a bit, i used agar (because it needs to stand the heat, we are going to sous vide after this) and gellan gum (im impatient). Maybe u can go for the ordinary gelatin-sheet-technic (nothing wrong with it, for a nice runny jelly i use 2,5 sheet for 1 liter, but in this case, i would double it because of the heat in the waterbath – maybe the whole thing will melting together) or try something cool… I wanted to reach a `sweet sharpness` so i used a really nice jam, blix and pass as many times as u need to reach a totally fluid texture (add a few gulp of rasberry vodka). U would need 500ml of liquid, 4g of agar-agar and 1.3g of gellan gum. Thats it. Put a clean, flat tray in your fridge to cool it down and boil your chemicals and rasberry-water together for a few minutes (dont let it reduce, but we need to cook out the agar). Prep yourself ready – need to be really f*cking precise and quick: get the tray, empty your liquid into the cold tray, move the water around till its cover the surface everywhere and get rid of the extra rasberry stuff, if u dont want a thick jelly, just a paper-style one. Leave it for a few minutes in the fridge and IT IS READY. Very delicant, but much more sexy. So everything is done for the liver. Get a cling film, arrange a thin layer of `smashed` liver on it, cover it with the jelly and spoon your praline stuffing at one end of the `rectangle or square`. Try to furl the whole thing together with the cling film and make it really tight closing the two ends. U can get your vac-pac bag (sous vide bag) and chuck it in your waterbath. This job is done. The crumble is easy, just smash your hazelnut (get small dust and bigger bits as well), mix with a vanilla pod and sugar while toast in a pan till goes nice golden and the sugar turns to caramel covering the nut pieces.
Another freaky-funky stuff is a micro-cake – THANK U VERY VERY MUCH MICHAEL J BREMNER, TO SHARE YOUR FORMULA WITH ME AND HELP TO DEVELOP THIS LITTLE ONE – the idea is to make a fluffy-airy sponge base (flour, egg, sugar etc…) what the microwave will `blow up` in 40 seconds. I was dreaming about a savoury cloud sitting next to the ballotine, so i used maltodextrin as a substitute for the sugar (gives less sweetness but does the sugar`s job), add a praline paste and fresh ground pepper (with some dark cocoa powder for the color) next to your flour and eggs. If the mix is too thick, whisk in a shot of Frangelico. It can goes to your little ISO whipper bottle, u might need two chargers and lets go! Get a plastic cup (make some holes at the bottom and side), fill it half way and micro! :) Your cake gonna look like a piece of bread with lots of air-bubbles but sooooo soft….. hmmm… :) Oh yes, and u can add any flavour (like fruity puree). This job is done. What else?
Just the decoration… Blend or brake your hazelnuts into tiny-dusty pieces, add some stock syrup (sugar&water&glucoze) and push thru a very fine sif. Get a tray with a parchment paper, use a palette knife and try to make as thin layers as possible from your puree. Owen, 5-7min (180degrees), leave to cool down a bit and done. Delicant, careful.
I have a feeling, this stuff is something, what everyone should try once. But no one allowed to get it second time. \:)