Saturday, 23 February 2013

Brunch & Co Event #16 - The Perfect Pairs Brunch

So I'll tell you all a little secret - one of my life ambitions is to successfully match make two people. What could be more rewarding than being the catalyst for two people falling madly in love and living happily ever after? It would be a dream come true... I could cater their engagement party, bake their wedding cake and they could name their first child after would be sweet.

With hope & expectations at cloud level, I set to work preparing a menu and guest list for our first ever singles brunch. I decided to have a theme of "perfect pairs" and focus each course on a food pairing that was either a classic well known one or a more unusual one for the taste buds to try.

To get the party going we had our first "pairing" of Champagne and truffle infused popcorn - the smell of warm truffle & butter was amazing!

Our place settings were decorated with homemade cookies inspired by Christina Tosi's famous Momofuku Milkbar "Compost cookies" - a perfect vehicle for a sweet & salty pairing.

It felt kind of wrong mixing in pretzels, salty chips, coffee grinds, caramel popcorn into the sweet buttery cookie dough but amazingly, the sweet & salty mix seemed to work.

Once everybody was seated, we started with an amuse bouche of the first food pairing that I found when I googled "awesome food pairings" - gherkins & peanut butter is apparently an unusual match made in heaven - better than some of the other suggestions such as tomato ketchup & bananas!

For our first course we served up one of my current favourite food pairings - scallops & prosciutto.  The recipe we used was actually given to me by my brother - who by the way, also happens to be single & gorgeous but unfortunately over 6000km away in Melbourne... Anyway, I digress, he took the recipe from chef Andrew McConnell's "Cumulus Inc" cookbook.  This guy is one amazing chef and the recipe which my bro & sis made for my Mum's birthday last month is to die for.  The scallops were pan seared and nestled on puddles of warm cauliflower purée & topped with a caper, raisin & chilli vinaigrette.

For our main course we served a classic food pairing of pork & apple. Slow roasted pork belly served with toast, apple slaw and topped with a velvety apple & onion soubise.  We served this with a 63 degree egg - which I will need to keep working on as the whites were still really runny while the yolks seemed to firm up quite a bit....hmmmm.

Our palate cleanser was a granita hit of watermelon & chilli inspired by a recipe from a book called "What Katie Ate" - I loved the colour!

I had a bit of a tough time trying to decide what food pairing to do for dessert.  So many awesome choices: chocolate & coffee, lemon & ginger, plum & crumble, banana & caramel, custard & well, anything... the opportunities were endless. In the end I decided to do something fresh & zingy, and something a little different - a pairing of strawberries & fresh basil served with a tangy lemon posset & a finger of homemade buttery shortbread.  Decadent yet refreshing at the same time.  We received lots of compliments for this course so it must have hit the spot!

Photo courtesy of Chris W. - thank you!
So I think we managed to find a few perfect pairs on the food front - we shall see if any sparks flew on the people pairing side of things in the weeks/months to come!  Who knows, a girl can dream can't she?

Special thanks to Santi for his expert kitchen & front of house waiting skills today and also to Gah Wing for all her help & fun chatter in the kitchen yesterday - we love you both!

Stay tuned for our next round of events planned for the coming months.  With two recent new additions to the Brunch & Co silverware family (a freshly polished one shown below) I'm thinking a Covert Cake Club or Decadent Afternoon Tea is on the cards!

Happy Brunching to one and all!

Louise & Mark xx

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