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A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

24 Jul 2009

It’s ShowTime!

The show went on yesterday night. Starting 4pm the ponytail was in place, the hat was on and the apron wrapped around me (do you get the tacos look?). Part of the shopping was delegated to a friend of mine (also guest for the dinner) that kindly performed it with success (only the mint was missing, no big deal compared to my forgiveness of the precision scale and small pots at home).
All started from the cookie dough: butter and brown sugar creamed together, egg in, then the roasted sesame seeds, oatmeal and flour. Once the sweet sausage was shaped, it was time to let it firm up in the fridge.
Time to prep the carrots! After peeling them (with a lefty-peeler) they were cut in a bias in chunks and braised in some butter and brown sugar.
By then it was the good time to move to the canapés and appetizers (did I tell you already that I was preparing a 4 courses dinner? actually 5...). The kalamata olives caviare was the next one on the list. Oh man, isn’t pitting a boring job?? But you get so much more taste! So pitted kalamata and fresh thyme leaves ended their journey under the blade on my sharp knife RIP.
The cookies were then ready to be shaped and baked.
To continue with the appetizer, the next ones on the list were the chocolate-cilantro rolls. So cut the big sheet of the bric dough, brush them with butter and fill them up with fresh cilantro, chocolate, red chillies and mascarpone. Roll them up brushing them with a bit more butter and voilà!
Second on the line of the appetizers were the salmon pouches. This time I needed rice paper. After having moistened it a bit (it comes in brittle hard round sheets) they were filled with diced salmon fillets, some red currants berries, mascarpone cheese and a pinch of Melange Noir from Ingo Holland. All is ready for the oven!
Once all the guests were arrived, I served the cocktails canapé: Sesame-Oatmeal Cookie with Kalamata Caviare and Strawberry.
Time to start putting together the main course.

The day before the dinner, I braised a few chicken thighs in a simple broth of white wine, bay leaves, tomato purée and juniper berries. The shredded meat was then mixed with the reduced juices and set aside as condiment for the pasta (that I also made the day before: home-made multicoloured maltagliati). I had then to warm up the pasta sauce and naturally fire up the burner under the huge pot of water for the pasta.
The appetizers were by then ready as the guests. Time to serve them:
Chocolate-Cilantro roll and Salmon-Red Currant pouch with shredded iceberg salad in a simple vinaigrette.
The main course was almost ready; I had only to prepare the sauces. Once measured the tea-leaves (Russian Mixture + Smoke Earl Grey) it was time to steep them. The tea was ready in 2 minutes, bringing it to a simmer I added a bit of cornstarch slurry to thicken it to the nappé stage. Adjusted in salt and sugar, added a bit of chopped tarragon, swirled and voila the black-tea sauce. The second sauce was based on brown butter and roasted peanuts; quite simple even this one.
The dishes were clean and warmed up; the pasta was ready and dressed with the chicken sauce; the carrots and the home-made oven dried tomatoes warm: time to plate the entrée.
Multicoloured Maltagliati with braised chicken thighs topped with a Peanuts and Nutty butter sauce; Caramel Glazed Carrots in Black Tea sauce and Oven-Dried Tomatoes.
The dessert course was easy to put together; the only boring part was to pit half a kilo of juicy cherries. These were then let sweat a bit with some macadamia nuts bits roasted in a caramel sauce. A touch of prosecco and a bit of cornstarch made the garnish ready for the service.
The double chocolate brownies were diced and arranged on the serving plates in a checker patter. The cherries spooned on a side and the sauce drizzled over the whole:
Double-Chocolate Brownies with Cherries Ragout.
Since the grocery was quite generous and the guest quite happy so far, they asked me to put together a fruit salad with what I had at my disposal; the result? Strawberries, Red Currants and Cherries salad garnished with basil leaves chiffonade and sesame seeds; the all dressed in olive oil and Melange Noir (I forgot to add a pinch of Fleur de Sel...).
The overall result of the evening was very fulfilling! Perceiving the guests’ comments when eating your food can really be rewarding and when you hear that the discussion at the table is getting livelier course after course that means a lot!

The laughs of a group of friends sit together sharing the food you prepared for them is the reason why I will always like to be a private event caterer.


  1. It was incredibly delicious! Thx once more!

  2. I never thought it could be that relaxing to have 5 guests at home after a busy day at work. With Alessio in the kitchen it was. His order of the menu was ingenious and his first class preparation left nothing to be desired. A great way to enjoy a superb evening with your friends! Thanks again!

  3. Thanks for the nice words guys, it's always nice to cook for you. :-)

  4. Dear Alessio,
    now at home in Windhoek, Namibia, I still think I must be dreaming. It was a once in a life-time experience. Thank you so much for the variety of dishes; the salmon and redcurrant pouch was initially my favourite, but the more I talk about the evening, the more difficult it gets to pinpoint a favourite dish. Thanks to Dieter, Alex and Holger for making this possible.
    Summer greetings from Windhoek