Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Global Gobbler guest #2 - Cat

Name: Cat
Age: 24
Occupation: Creative genius – too good for acting school
Favourite food: Anything Thai
Why she deserves the Global Gobbler experience: I've eaten my way around the world, love everything involving food and i'm food critic waiting to happen!

The Verdict
I’ve been to a lot of places in the world and eaten a lot of different sorts of food but Denmark is somewhere I’ve never quite gotten to, nor have I any experience of Danish food, save for the token pastries, back in the good old gluten days.

I’m not convinced that Saturday nights meal has brought me any closer to experiencing the delights of Danish cuisine, however, I certainly experienced a creative array fusion dishes, containing many of my favourite foods presented in captivatingly adventurous ways.

My main criticism of Joel’s experimentation has nothing to do with the ingredients used- so many marvellous flavours ingeniously combined- it rather lies mainly in the presentation and portion sizes- small things I know, but definitely aspects worth perfecting for a special meal.

The soup was lovely and thick, delicately flavoured with thyme, and the sweetness of the fig and crunch of the walnuts gave great texture to the dish. The caramelized onion could perhaps have been finely sliced and stirred through rather than blended with the soup to make its presence more obvious. Perhaps try experimenting with another herb so that the thyme in the soup or garnish has something to complement it? Sage with the figs? Garnish with black cracked pepper and salt.

The hollowed cucumber certainly looked impressive when it was served, and I would have been impressed by anyone who could have managed a whole plate of this dish. Delicious, yes, but far too big- especially with the expectation of desert limiting my capacity to consume savoury items.

The filling of the cucumber was really interesting and inventive, the consistency could have been more solid for my taste, perhaps add more avocado? I liked the cucumber’s texture and colour in combination with the filling but perhaps find a way to combine the two in a way that makes it possible to finish the whole plate.

Chickpeas are a real favourite- especially when you can tell your host has gone to the trouble to do all the soaking themselves. The best part of this dish was the nigella seeds that add an interesting quality to the standard combination of spinach and chickpea.

The garnish-like addition of tomato was like a meal in itself- knowing my inability to consume large amounts of raw tomato I spread the garlic (yum!) mix across just a few slices of tomato. Slicing the tomato more thinly without altering the quantity of garlic used would look attractive and be more realistic for a small stomach! Maybe look for a larger variety of tomato that gives wide slices that can be thinly sliced.

Talk about saving the best till last! This desert is ingenious. All the flavours combine well to make a desert that is rich in flavour but not heavy- sweet but not sugary and seemingly decadent without being sinful.

My suggestion for these combinations would be to stir the macadamia nuts through the carob coconut oil mix rather than through the yoghurt and set in a conical shape. That way you can really get a good mouthful of the mix- and it draws the eye upward- which is uplifting for the spirit too! There should be more food feng-shui! The quantity of the yoghurt mix rather overpowered the carob part in the horizontal fashion that the desert was presented- literally smothering it, my preference would have been to drizzle a small amount of the lavender infused yoghurt as a sort of dressing that would complement the carob rather than compete with it. Top the conical mould with honey comb and garnish with lavender and I am in heaven!

Thanks Joel for combining great food and great conversation- and for inspiring me to get inventive in the kitchen, and really think seriously about the marathon!


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