Largesse Dining @ Amuse

Largesse Dining @ Amuse

If Largesse Dining is what happens when a bunch of chefs get together and start drinking, then I may have to start taking bottles of tequila with me every time I go out. Let’s keep these guys drinking and hopefully they’ll all start feeling the love on a regular basis and put together plenty more amazing meals.

I was fortunate to be among the first people to attend one of these events, which I tip to be a popular and well patronised institution in no short time.

So basically without too much waffling because this event was a month or so ago, and all the cool kids have already written about it, 6 chefs and a certain sexy Eurasian food writer got together to plan a dinner that would rival the Power Rangers and Captain Planet kids for the combined power of their culinary skills. Each chef picked a card and got given a dish number to prepare to showcase their skills at the same time as fitting in with what everyone else was doing. Wine matchings were provided by Thumbprint Wines, and Myattsfield Vineyards, and all proceeds for the dinner went to Food Bank WA, a fantastic charity who do great work in distributing food to people who really need it.

So the menu for the meal looked a little something like this:

Goats Cheese, Bunya Nut, Tortilla
Kiren Mainwaring – Dear Friends

Snow Crab, Scampi, Scallop
Todd Stuart – Bouchard

Porcini and Spinach Rotolo
Jason Jujnovich – Divido

Salmon, Rabbit, Beetroot
Stephen Clarke – Clarkes of North Beach

Pork, Black Pudding, Molasses
Hadleigh Troy – Restaurant Amusé

Au Chocolat
Scott O’Sullivan – Red Cabbage Food + Wine

And if you’re wondering how any of those dishes actually looked, you can find out below:

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Personal highlights for me was the gin and vodka punch on arrival (soup kitchen style), the deep fried fish skin appetizers, the wonderful selection of wines (notably the Myattsfield Viognier), Hadleigh Troy’s pork with hay smoked molasses, and having Clint Nolan (head chef of Harvest) as my waiter for the night.

Sadly they have a ‘no double dipping’ policy, which means you can’t book consecutive events (to make sure lots of people get a chance to attend), so it looks like I won’t be able to make the next one, but fortunately my identical twin brother Mark still can !

A dinner worth waiting for…


So I’ve been friends with someone for a very long time. Well a long time in my book. I’m not the best at keeping in touch and staying in regular contact, and so I’ve never been the best at maintaining a close group of friends. Couple that with the fact that my family moved around a lot when I was younger means that I’m lucky to still be in touch with anyone I’ve known longer than a few years.

Amanda is lucky (?) enough to be one of the old guard… which means I’ve known her for a good few years now. But surprisingly in all that time, haven’t been around to her place for dinner. Curious as to whether she actually ate at all, I’ve been trying for a while now to wrangle my way into her kitchen, and finally got the chance a couple of weeks ago when at long last, an invitation was sent out, with all necessary pomp and ceremony.

I think there was a sense of making up for lost time involved… although I know once she sets herself to do something, Amanda is not one for half measures. There were wine and oysters on arrival, a plate full of entrees including smoked salmon, capers, cheeses, fruits, and nuts… probably a meal in itself, but just a primer tonight.

Next was course one… chilli mussels… a giant bowl of fresh mussels heaped in a precariously arranged tower with a hearty tomato chilli sauce that warmed us from the insides. Not wanting to seem impolite… I made sure every last one of them got eaten after a considerable number of “seconds”.

Onto the mains and a lovely piece of swordfish steak, on top of mash, with some steamed veges… hearty and delicious, and more than meaty enough for my rampant carnivorous tendencies that don’t quite mesh with Amanda’s vegetarian sensibilities.

Finally, after a couple of bottles of wine, including a Gran Reserva Rioja, and a fantastic Ashbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot Franc, it was time for dessert. Chocolate mouse to start with, with shavings of cognac truffled chocolate on top, decadent enough in itself. Followed later by Tiramisu, a rich spongey delight of flavours and textures, smothered lovingly in cream and chocolate.

If my pants were a little tighter around the waist before this meal, they were doubly so after. We left satisfied and slightly giddy at the gastronomic onslaught, and have vowed to make sure the next dinner doesn’t have to wait for quite so long.

So here from the woman herself is Amanda’s wonderful Tiramisu:

Amanda’s Tiramisu

  • 375ml espresso coffee
  • 500g marscarpone
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 185ml Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 125ml cream, lightly whipped
  • 250g thin sponge fingers
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

How She Made Hers
Pour the coffee into a shallow dish (do cool it down otherwise the biscuits go soggy too quickly). Mix the marscapone, sugar and liquor in a large bowl until you have a thick mass, then gently fold in the cream. Cover with plastic then put in the fridge. Dip half the biscuits into the coffee then lay them out in a thin layer on the bottom of a 2 litre ceramic dish. Spread half the marscapone mixture over the biscuits and dust liberally with half of the cocoa (use a fine sieve to make it easy).

Dunk the rest of the biscuits in the coffee and add a layer of them before spreading with the remaining marscapone mixture. Dust with the remaining cocoa, then cover and keep in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to develop before serving.

A (Curry) Night to Remember

Curry !

I had the idea recently of organising a little curry night. I’ve been getting into all sorts of curry over the past couple of years, spurred on by Sharon introducing me to some excellent Malaysian curry. I’d never really understood the curry before then. I just figured it was a hot spicey kind of soup that other people ate, and that I didn’t like. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I think it’s an important one to get rid of if you ever want to experience all the world of food has to offer.

Since then I haven’t looked back, having tried out a whole range of Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian, North Indian, and Vietnamese curries, a good number of Moroccan tajines (which are almost kinda like curry), and doing my best to avoid Japanese curry, which still defies all logic.

So just last Saturday night a few of our closest curry making friends dropped by to share the love, and the food in their own special way. Sharon and I spent the better part of the day procuring supplies from Kongs (the local Asian supermarket), and preparing the base for her curry. I’m always amazed walking around in those places… it’s like, just when you think you have a pretty decent grasp on a type of food, you step one foot into a store, look around, realise you don’t know what even half of the stuff is for, and suddenly feel very small again.

A recent discovery along those lines for me personally was Asafoetida… which i’m sure is pretty common to my sub continental readers, but was a complete mystery to me. Turns out it’s a kind of spice made from the resin extracted out of the stems and roots of the Ferula plant, and is used particularly by Indians who are practitioners of Jainism, as a replacement for certain foods (onions, ginger, garlic) that they aren’t allowed to eat.

That has nothing to do with this post of course, other than to state formally that I still know bugger all about a great many things… and any education my learned readers are able to give is always appreciated.

So on to the curries.

Dan and Mabel brought a lovely lamb curry, I would say vindaloo, but I might be wrong, so i’ll stay general for now.
Dave and Mel also brought a lamb curry, this was a southern Indian style dish with no coconut milk and a predominant clove, cinnamon flavour to it.
Jen and Ben brought a Bicol Express (!). My first experience with Filipino curry and apparently one of the few of such dishes that exist in the Phillipines, It’s basically pork, chicken, beans, chilli, tumeric, and… ummm, stuff. Very tasty indeed and sadly too hot for the creator to manage, but well done Jen for taking one for the team.

Sharon made a Malaysian chicken curry. This one had a lot of ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, onion, tumeric… all blended into a wonderful paste that got smeared all over the chicken (one the bone) while they cooked away for a good few hours til nice and fall apart-ified.
I was stuck for options, not having a home land from which to draw curry making experience from I either had to choose from my list of previous conquests that turned out ok, or tread the lonely road of experimental curry making.

Lamb curry Duck Curry

Plucking up all my courage, I turned the pages of Mel’s curry book she had kindly lent me, and settled on one that looked sufficiently different yet still tasty… Duck curry. A slightly odd choice perhaps, and not the most well known of all curries, but it was in the book dammit, and apparently is quite popular in the Kerala region of India where water fowl are more prevalent, and clearly not fast enough to not get eaten.

So I started with Duck breast… three of em, skinned and cubed. Fried a little fenugreek and fennel seeds in some oil and then added a whole onion, two green chillis, and a good dose of shredded ginger. When that was nice and soft I added some more chilli powder and a dash of turmeric. To that lovely concoction went the duck breast, to get coated and loved with all the spices and flavours. The rest was simple, throw in a few baby potatoes, a handful of curry leaves and a spash or three of coconut cream, and Babu’s your uncle. It turned out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself, and I do… Of course I am the worlds most biased food critic, and can quite easily overlook the slighty dry and somewhat gamey texture of the duck, which perhaps would have been nicer had I used it on the bone and cooked it for a couple more hours. Still, it was a triumph for experimental curriests the world over, and a great first effort.

Mel's mango cocunut puddings

We finished off with these lovely little mango and coconut puddings that Mel lovingly coaxed out their shells and served with a good dollop of ice cream.

All in all a great night, and like all things curry, the best was yet to come. Two days later and I’m still going strong with the left overs, and as much as a fan of Johnny Cash I am, there hasn’t been one ring of fire to speak of. Thanks to everyone for putting in the effort and all I can say is the next one will have some huge expectations… Anyone know where I can buy Iguana ?

Mouse Traps

Mouse Traps

Another lazy night, sitting around, drinking, chatting, doing nothing imparticular, and once again it gets to be late at night and all I’ve eaten is half a bag of Nacho Doritos and two bottles of strongbow. So now to find a proper solution for dinner.

I quickly realised that the house was almost completely devoid of any real food, but did manage to find some cheese, bread, and a few grape tomatoes… So the choice was simple… Mouse traps !

Mouse traps were what my family has always called grilled cheese on toast. I have no idea where the name originated, however it’s no great mystery as to why. If i were a mouse i’d find it pretty hard to resist delicious golden grilled cheese oozing over crispy toast as well. Basically if it was Sunday night, and mum couldn’t be bothered cooking for 5 children, mouse traps were what we got.

The stock standard mouse trap was ham, cheese and tomato, however we also experimented with creamed corn, baked beans, spaghetti, and any else you could conceivably make fit onto bread, cover with cheese, and grill.

These literally took 5 minutes to make, including preparation time, and about 1 minute of cooking time under a hot grill.

I pimped mine up with grape tomatos, fresh basil, mozzarella, cracked pepper, and a liberal splashing of extra virgin olive oil.

The ultimate low impact dinner solution.

Cheese on Toast