Our arms shot up at the opportunity to run our dinner service on the first night as a majority of our menu consisted of seafood – so it was absolutely crucial that we could serve our seafood nice and fresh! Our menu consisted of four courses with seafood as our main proteins and a completely overindulgent chocolate dessert. Our inspiration for menu stemmed from stepping outside the square, by using proteins that we wouldn’t usually use, incorporating fruit into our main courses and exploring techniques beyond our skill set!
Chili calamari with watermelon & cucumber salad
For our entree, we served Fuzzy from Celebrity Masterchef’s Chili Calamari with Watermelon and Cucumber Salad (and funnily there was no cucumber in the salad at all!). The calamari was crispy with amazing flavours of paprika and garlic served with a refreshing watermelon salad tossed with red onion, mint and a fresh lime dressing. And although it was a pretty final outcome, the journey was quite messy indeed…
So we wanted fresh squid… and boy did we get fresh squid – covered in squid ink and when they opened up, we discovered that we definitely paid more than we bargained for, the squid’s lunch! Kudos to the amazingly good job my team members did for cleaning this outside and in!
Savoury zucchini muffins
Next on the agenda was Savoury Zucchini Muffins served with cream cheese and smoked salmon (which we cheated a little as they were adopted from the season of Junior Masterchef…) And although I’m not a fan of savoury muffins, this was an absolutely perfect dish in between our courses. Rising perfectly with their little muffin top flowing over the tin; inside was light and fluffy with a little crunchy outside.
Fennel, orange and apple salad with BBQ marinated prawns
Our second main dish was Courtney’s Fennel, Orange and Apple Salad with BBQ Marinated Prawns. Yes, another dish with fruit! This dish was amazingly fresh and perfect for a balmy summer night. Fresh prawns that were lightly panfried and marinated with chili and lime served with salad composed from crunchy granny smith apples, segmented oranges, finely sliced fennel and celery – with a dash of tangy handmade vinaigrette.
To end the night, it was finally our (my cooking partner Matt and I!) time to shine with Gary’s Chocolate Gluttony. Each glass contained a bed of whipped cream, gooey chocolate nut brownie with a large dollop of vanilla bean ice cream with homemade raspberry coulis and dark chocolate sauce, topped with spun sugar.
And I was absolutely over the moon that our spun sugar turned out perfectly during our live demonstration. We had secretly hoped that this would woo our “judges” a little. We also took a shot at molecular gastronomy, spherification from raspberry coulis to make “look alike” caviar. It involves mixing a liquid such as raspberry coulis with sodium alginate and dripping this into a water bath of calcium chloride.
Forgetting the syringe back at home, we put on our thinking caps to use straws and individually dripped each ball into the solution. Not perfect as we hoped but we could definitely see the result! At least all of us had a little fun in dripping them into the solution. Brownie points for interaction! And definitely have syringes, scales and a hand-blender whenever attempting molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy ingredients were from Simon Johnson and tools from Chef’s Armoury.
Very very proud of Team Red for pulling this dinner service off! Amazing job!