Sunday, 9 November 2014

A meal by Thomas Dorfer, in Vienna

While in Vienna for the launch of the Maragogype Special Reserve with Nespresso, we were treated not only to a funky hotel stay (at the Ruby Sofie boutique hotel) but also to a fantastic meal by Michelin starred Austrian chef Thomas Dorfer, of restaurant Landhaus Bacher. Since Austria is not a country I visit often, I know very little of the culinary scene, I confess. And seeing the beautiful room at the Ruby Sofie set up for a very large number of people, I had kind of basic expectations of the gala dinner.

In Vienna

I could not have been more wrong. 

After the customary canapes and aperitif we took our seats at beautifully laid tables, named after Nespresso crus, and beautifully detailed too - the butters were shaped like the recognisable Nespresso capsules. 

The first course was an incredibly refreshing Radlberg char pickled with herbs and buttermilk and marinated cucumber. Humble ingredients, elevated to delicate highs, I loved this opener. It was paired with a 2012 Schutt-Gruner Veltliner Smaragd.

In Vienna

To follow, what sounded like a little odd combination of flavours and textures: Summer pumpkin, braised watermelon, almonds, pepperoni and ricotta cream. Yet again, chef Dorfer surprised us with a light, harmonious dish, colourful on the plate and paired with a 2011 Brundlmayer chardonnay  
In Vienna

The main protein came next, more substantial in the form of Ox fillet roasted in whole potato bacon crumble with burned onions. Once again, I could not fault Dorfer's skills and choice of garnish. The fillet itself was tender and cooked to perfection (despite the huge number to prepare). This was paired to a 2011 Cuvee Solitaire, Feiler-Artinger. 


Finally, dessert time. Perhaps, compared to the other courses, this was the least memorable by by no means disappointing. Marbre from Manjari and ivoire chocolate, mousse of Amarula and caramel brittle with sea buckthorn, paired of course to a Nespresso Maragogype in a Riedel glass. 


After dinner, we had the opportunity to briefly meet Thomas, and thank him personally for such a fantastic meal. His food is creative, original, light and beautiful. I should learn more about Austrian chefs!

Thank you Nespresso and Weber Shandwick for inviting me to Vienna. Opinions are my own.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Mini bites product review - Lurpak Cook's Range

I thought I would start posting some 'quick reviews' of products I either receive as samples or I buy myself (such as kitchen gadgets), which might turn out useful for readers. 

I am going to start with Lurpak Cook's Range, a liquid blend of butter and vegetable oil which is supposed to make cooking using a number of techniques 'effortless'. The range include a Cooking Liquid (odd name indeed), Baking, Clarified butter and Cooking Mist. The information sheets sent from the PR company for each of these have some sensible testimonials including Tom Sellers from Restaurant Story, 1 Michelin star. Each info sheet does come with plenty of information on each of the products and what its preferred use is, for example the Clarified Butter is recommended for searing and creating rich sauces. So far, the two products I have had a chance to try have been the Cooking Mist (which I had actually already purchased for myself) and the clarified butter. I use the 'mist' a lot indeed, particularly for very shallow frying as it is a great way of dosing the amount of fat in a dish, especially when, like me, one is counting the calories! I use it for glazing vegetables as well when roasting, from potatoes to carrots, it does really work well.

The clarified butter is an interesting one: before opening the pot is solid, and once open, it melts and has to be kept outside, and it is something I had never utilised before. I used it for roasting potatoes and basting and was pretty good, although I could not really detect any specific difference with regular butter. 

What I really like about this range as well, and it should be noted, is that the 'vegetable oil' used is thankfully rapeseed oil, not the omnipresent, wildlife and tropical forests' enemy palm oil. 

I look forward to trying the rest of the products, and thank you Wild Card and Lurpak for sending over some samples.