“We’re not making Quay food today,” Peter Gilmore tells us, easing the blow with a friendly chuckle. “Tonight’s all about ways we can make home entertaining easier.”
I couldn’t have been more relieved to hear this: his Quay cookbook – though an amazing visual read – is quite limited in what it offers the humble home cook. I wondered whether my foodie companions felt the same, as we sat in on this special masterclass organised by Electrolux.
Tackling the tricky category of seafood which many shy away from (myself included), Peter set out to show us how quick and easy it is to prepare seafood at home with two simple recipes: seared scallops with lime creme fraiche and sauce vierge and steamed snapper with soy and ginger.
Peter offers these tips:
* For scallops, the key is to sear quickly and evenly on a hot pan. The middle should still be glassy.
* One trick to cooking scallops is to line them up on a sheet of baking paper and wack it straight onto a hot pan.
* For steamed fish, Peter uses a pin boned snapper, which he squares off so the fillet cooks evenly. Steaming is a very delicate and healthy way of cooking fish requiring no oil at all.
* Microherbs and flowers make all the difference to the presentation of a dish by adding that special gourmet touch!
It’s a joy to watch Peter in the kitchen – he makes it all look so darn effortless, tossing ingredients together like an orchestrated symphony. His knack for turning simple ingredients into elaborate creations has earned him the awe and respect of diners around the world. You also see just how much Peter enjoys induction cooking. In fact, most of the entrees at Quay are prepared at a dedicated induction station in the kitchen.
The masterclass ended with a sinfully decadent caramelised French toast, which he confesses he has never made for his wife but will need it one day for when he’s in the dog house.
As Peter bid farewell, we all sat down for a five course degustation at a beautifully elaborate long table with the harbour lights surrounding us.
I’ve always been a fan of the produce Peter selects for his menu and tonight is no different – from the rich bluefin tuna belly and marbled Berkshire pig jowl to the crimson confection of vegetables that is the starter – each is a decadent highlight.
What Peter does with textures is also quite intriguing. Take the corturnix quail breast for instance, slow cooking gives the quail a delicate, chewy, almost raw quality, yet it sits on a bed of creamy chestnut purée, milk skin and a crunchy mix of quinoa and walnuts. What a delightful and unusual contrast!
While my companions were disappointed not to see the snow egg on the menu, the amazing caramelised white chocolate in the dessert certainly made an impression. The chocolate nibs had a dulce de leche taste about them with the aroma of roasted nuts, I could really see myself getting hooked on these!
Many thanks to Open Haus and Electrolux for the great evening, I certainly will be pulling out Peter’s recipes for the warmer months ahead!