#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

« Home | Brewtown Newtown » | Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood and Knafeh, North... » | Mary's, Newtown » | E-San Saap, Sydney » | Nom, Darlinghurst » | Madera Kafe, Warwick Farm » | The Black Groodle, Ultimo » | 4Fourteen, Surry Hills » | Great Aunty Three, Surry Hills » | Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2014 »

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014

Christmas pate en croute for the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014

"Omigod what is that?" It's hard to miss the giant pastry centrepiece on the dining room table when we arrive at the home of Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin'.  Pressed into the top are pastry decorations of Christmas trees with tinsel and doves mid-flight. It's magnificent and awe inspiring. "Don't worry. You'll see more of that later," Pig Flyin' says mysteriously.

And that was our introduction to the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner for 2014. It always astounds me that this amazing couple have no commercial cooking qualifications or industry experience. They're home cooks with a zealous approach to food and an unsurpassed level of generosity to feed their family and friends. And we're so grateful for it.

Homemade seasoned seaweed at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Homemade seasoned seaweed

We start with pre-dinner snacks: homemade seasoned seaweed that tastes just like the seasoned packets you get from Korean grocery stores. Mrs Pig Flyin' explains it's easy to do. Simply moisten one sheet of nori seaweed with a little water, press another sheet on top, and then deep fry until crispy. It bubbles and blisters into the umami treat you know so well. We dip this into a dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise on the side for extra deliciousness.

Homemade pork crackling at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Homemade pork crackling

There's homemade pork crackling too, sheets of dried pork skin deep-fried until crispy. We're crunching like happy campers.

White chocolate balls with foie gras and fennel flower at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
White chocolate spheres with foie gras

Dinner starts with white chocolate spheres, not the first thing you'd expect until we're told they have foie gras inside.

White chocolate balls with foie gras and fennel flower at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
White chocolate spheres with foie gras, amaretto cherry syrup and fennel flower

We ooh and ahh over their prettiness, each orb garnished with fennel flowers freshly picked from the Pigflyin' garden.

The crisp shell shatters and gives way to a cube of foie gras that melts in the mouth. Hidden at the bottom is a puddle of amaretto cherry syrup that works perfectly with the foie gras. I recognise the white chocolate spheres as part of Pigflyin's haul from the recent Simon Johnson sale but using these for foie gras, and not dessert, is wicked genius.

Crispy duck skin wafters with foie gras at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Crispy duck skin wafters with foie gras

We're in for more foie with crispy duck skin topped with whipped foie gras. The duck skin crackers are breathtakingly beautiful. Sheets of duck skin pressed and then roasted until they crisp up like brittle duck crackling. It's so good I want to cry.

Burrawong Gaian duck heart with candied rhubarb on shiso at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Burrawong Gaian duck heart with candied rhubarb on homegrown red shiso

We move onto duck hearts from pasture-reared ducks reared by Burrawong Gaian on the mid north coast. The heartiness of the duck hearts is offset by the sweetness of candied rhubarb, served on beds on homegrown red shiso leaves that give a faint aniseed flavour.

Monaka wafers with foie gras at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Monaka (最中) wafers with foie gras

We're all intrigued by the arrival of the monaka wafers, crisp shells that are made from mochi pounded rice cakes.

Monaka wafers with foie gras at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Side view of the monaka crackers sandwiched with foie gras

Pigflyin' tells us he sourced the wafers direct from Japan using Amazon. Usually these wafers are filled with adzuki red bean paste and eaten as a snack. They can also be stuffed with sesame seed paste, chestnut paste, mochi rice cakes or ice cream.

Monaka wafers with foie gras, nanazuke pickles and pineapple jam at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Monaka crackers with foie gras, nanazuke pickles and pineapple jam

Pigflyin' says this is his copycat attempt of the signature dish at Jimocho Den in Tokyo. This amuse bouche is served at the start of every meal. He's yet to actually eat there - the restaurant is tiny and reservations are rarer than hen's teeth.

Inside the wafer package is a large slice of foie, nanazuke pickle and a small dollop of homemade pineapple jam. Nanazuke pickles are native to Nara - Pigflyin picked up a jar of these in Kyoto on one of his recent trips.

Together it works oh so well. The wafer is so light and airy, a textural foil for the creaminess of foie accented by the sweetness of pineapple and the pickled bite of the nanazuke.

Tonight's foie has come from a half lobe of Rougie semi-cooked foie gras de canard.

Homemade black pudding with quail eggs at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Eggs on toast: homemade black pudding with quail eggs

Eggs on toast is the kind of breakfast I'd like every day. It's an assembly of Pigflyin's homemade black pudding with a fried quail egg on Melba toast. The black pudding is lusciously soft, sweet and fragrant. The quail eggs were home-reared too.

Mud crab and tomato terrine at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Mud crab and tomato terrine

The mud crab and tomato terrine is a wonder of engineering mastery. Mrs Pig Flyin' was the chief engineer for this dish, the hand-picked crab encased with poached roma tomatoes and tomato water.

Mud crab and tomato terrine at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Hand-picked live mud crab terrine encased in tomato and tomato water

The hand-picked live mud crab has been bound with blue swimmer crab stock. The vibrant colour of the tomatoes is mesmerising.

Mud crab and tomato terrine with purslane at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Mud crab terrine encased in tomato with purslane

To serve, the terrine is sliced and then covered with fresh purslane. "I cannot go without the current practice of salad covering protein," Pig Flyin' jokes.

The lemony flavour of the purslane is an ideal match for the sweetness of the crab, its delicacy enhanced by the soft poached tomato and quivering tomato jelly.

Cucumber, kohlrabi and yuzu juice pairing at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Juice pairing for the mud crab terrine: cucumber, kohlrabi and yuzu juice

Mr and Mr Pig Flyin' have also embraced juice pairing tonight. It's a movement that's taking off across much of northern Europe and is slowly making inroads here. Juice pairing can be more than just apple juice, orange or peach. There's a heightened art form to blending different fruits and vegetables that will enhance your experience of a meal as much as wine.

After much testing and experimenting, our juice pairing with the mud crab terrine is cucumber, kohlrabi and yuzu juice. It's wildly different to what you'd expect. There's the coolness of cucumber, the broccoli-stem nuance of kohlrabi and the lemony kick of yuzu citrus at the end. Together it accents the briny sweetness of the crab so well.

Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Christmas pâté en croûte

It's time to break open the pâté en croûte. We're all dying of curiosity to see what's inside.

Cutting the Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Cutting open the pâté en croûte

A hushed silence falls over the table before we find...

Inside the Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Ta da! Duck and rabbit terrine

... a kick ass duck and rabbit terrine hiding inside all that pastry. Everyone clamours around with cameras and mobile phones while Pig Flyin' casually rattles off every ingredient lovingly placed in the terrine.

Duck and rabbit Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Christmas pâté en croûte [from top]
  • duck and pigeon bones with Noble One jus
  • rabbit forcemeat
  • rabbit liver, loin and kidney
  • veal sweetbread, foie gras and brandied figs
  • confit chestnut and duck breast
  • duck leg forcemeat
Butter and duck fat shortcrust pastry on the Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Butter and duck fat shortcrust pastry

It's magical. The elaborate construction has been carefully lined with sheets of back fat, hand sliced and flattened by Pig Flyin' and a very obedient steel saucepan. The layer of fat allows the pâté en croûte to mature. This one was matured for six days.

Christmas pâté en croûte at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Christmas pâté en croûte aged for six days with homemade pickle and homemade mustard

The pastry itself is jaw-dropping good. It's extremely short and buttery, made with both butter and duck fat bound with eggs. "It was very hard to work with," says Pig Flyin'.

Everything in the terrine is majestically cooked. It's all plump and juicy and well seasoned. The terrine has been tightly compressed. It's the first time that Pig Flyin' has used this terrine tin too, bought from E. Dehillerin several years ago in Paris. Pig Flyin' says "I've been waiting years saving up the courage and doing my research to do this." Um, I think he killed it.

Pouring the kefir carrot juice pairing at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Pouring the next juice pairing

Kefir fermented carrot, pear and bergamot bitters juice pairing at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Juice pairing for the Christmas pâté en croûte: kefir fermented carrot, pear and bergamot bitters

Our juice pairing for the pâté en croûte is kefir fermented carrot juice with pear juice and bergamot bitters. There's a gentle fizz from the kefir carrot water, rounded out by the pear juice. Bergamot bitters adds a citrus complexity.

I'm so fascinated by the idea of water kefir that Pig Flyin' ends up giving me some spare kefir grains so I can brew my own probiotic drinks. It's fascinating stuff.

Spaghettini with mussel cream, bottarga and duck croutons at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Spaghettini with mussel cream, homemade bottarga and crispy duck croutons

We move onto pasta, a nest of spaghettini smothered with mussel cream that is far tastier than it looks. Wafer thin shavings of homemade bottarga, or cured mullet roe, give a satisfying saltiness. The icing on the cake are crispy duck croutons, made from deep fried duck scratchings that add pops of crunch.

Pigeon, aniseed and watermelon at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Pigeon, aniseed and watermelon

It's known as squab in French restaurants, but we're not afraid to embrace this bird by its other name, pigeon. The modest assembly of poultry belies its masterful execution. We revel in star anise braised pigeon legs and the most succulent pigeon breast I've ever eaten. Candied rhubarb makes another support act appearance along with a new player, aniseed marinated watermelon. I can't get enough of the watermelon - it's intriguingly good and matches so well with the pigeon. Drizzled over the top is a rich pigeon jus.

Pig Flyin' says this dish was inspired by a menu item served at Alinea several summers ago spotted online but never actually eaten.

Beetroot, red grapes, vanilla and balsamic juice pairing at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Juice pairing with the pigeon: beetroot, red grapes, vanilla and balsamic

The juice pairing with the pigeon is a ruby red combination of beetroot, red grapes, vanilla and balsamic. Beetroot is commonly associated with game meats but the red grapes add a mouthfilling sweetness. The vanilla and balsamic isn't overpowering but helps offset some of the characteristic earthiness of beetroot.

Roasted whole cauliflower at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Roasted whole cauliflower

Pig Flyin' says they'd panicked when they realised they hadn't included a vegetable side, but we're more than happy with the roasted whole cauliflower, basted generously with butter so the florets take on a caramelised nuttiness.

Sorrel sorbet and parsley granita at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Sorrel sorbet and parsley granita

Dessert is Pigflyin's take on the famous Evergreen dessert at LuMi. Again it's a dish Pigflyin' hasn't actually eaten, but its omnipresence on Instagram had him intrigued.

His version includes sorrel sorbet and parsley granita, both a vivid green in hue. It's a terrific palate cleanser that works after the richness of the preceding dishes.

Summer trifle with panettone, passionfruit and Italian meringue at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Summer trifle [from top]: Italian meringue, passionfruit jelly and panettone

The finale of the meal is a monster of a summer trifle. It's gigantic.

The massive glass enables us to examine every layer of its construction. From the top-down it includes:

  • Italian meringue
  • dice mango and cubes of passionfruit jelly
  • panettone
  • yellow and white peaches with vanilla custard
  • panettone with passionfruit  curd
  • passionfruit jelly and raspberries.

Summer trifle with panettone, passionfruit and Italian meringue at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Italian meringue topping

The blow-torched Italian meringue on top is my favourite part.

Homemade umeshu at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Homemade umeshu by J&J

J&J also break open their homemade umeshu, a labour of love that's taken them over a year to make using homegrown Japanese plums. The plum wine isn't as sweet as the commercial brands but the taste of plum does shine through.

Lego winter skiers at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Lego winter skiers

And if you thought you noticed Lego in the background of earlier photos, you were right. In addition to sous chef duties, K was also responsible for the table decorations. There's a whole series of Lego winter scenes that bring the inner kid out in all of us.

Lego winter village candy store at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Lego winter village candy store

Lego carousel at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014
Lego carousel 

The carousel is especially wondrous. It actually does rotate if you wind the crank on the side. All that's missing is fairground music.

Summer trifle with panettone, passionfruit and Italian meringue at the Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2014

Whether you're feasting on prawns and ham, a roast turkey with all the trimmings, or fish and chips by the beach, I hope your Christmas is filled with love, appreciation, laughter and extra dessert. Merry Christmas everyone!


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas 2013
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas 2012
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas 2011
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas 2010
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas 2008

25 comments - Add some comment love

Bookmark and Share
posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/24/2014 01:44:00 am


25 Comments:

  • At 12/24/2014 10:21 am, Blogger Amy zhong said…

    your stomachs eleven dinners are always such a droolworthy read! MR &Mrs pigflyin are so talented!

     
  • At 12/24/2014 10:23 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    These dinners get more and more amazing every year. Wonder how many days of work it took. Merry Xmas Helen!

     
  • At 12/24/2014 11:04 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    Wow Mr and Mrs Pigflyin' outdo themselves every year! That pate en croute is amazing! Merry Christmas Helen :)

     
  • At 12/24/2014 1:15 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    OMG! What a feast and what culinary feats have been achieved from this very amazing meal! Hats off to Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin'. Merry Christmas to you too Helen! :)

     
  • At 12/24/2014 4:29 pm, OpenID napolirestaurantalert said…

    Epic! All that foie gras - heaven! Best wishes for Christmas Helen

     
  • At 12/24/2014 5:07 pm, Blogger Karen To said…

    Such an amazing meal! I could've eaten 100 of the monaka foie gras. :D
    Hope you have a fabulous Christmas!

     
  • At 12/25/2014 10:02 am, OpenID mrdleu said…

    Omgoodness I always look forward to your stomachs eleven posts! Soo good! Looks like you had a delicious christmas

     
  • At 12/26/2014 1:05 pm, Anonymous DroolWorthyWorld said…

    This post is making me salivate especially that Italian meringue! Everything on it looks incredible! Merry Christmas Helen! :D

     
  • At 12/26/2014 4:15 pm, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    OMG what a feast. So much foie gras! And that Christmas pâté en croûte looks epic! I take it that there were some leftovers at the end :P

     
  • At 12/26/2014 8:53 pm, Anonymous Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said…

    That's the most outstanding meal ever! I can see why you're glad to get one of the prized seats. Best wishes for a great holiday!

     
  • At 12/27/2014 9:44 am, Anonymous Francesca said…

    What an amazingly talented couple. Quite incredible. Must reaad all the back posts.

     
  • At 12/27/2014 11:16 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Merry Christmas! What an incredible feast! I so love reading your "Stomachs Eleven" posts. And I can't believe these elaborate meals have been going on since 2008!!!!!! :D

     
  • At 12/27/2014 6:37 pm, Blogger Simplicity by Sarah said…

    What a feast!! Loving that dessert show stopper - the Summer trifle /froth.

     
  • At 12/27/2014 9:04 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    This meal can rival some of Sydney's best restaurants. What do we have to do to get to one of these dinners?

     
  • At 12/29/2014 4:24 am, Blogger AdriBarr said…

    My stars, but what a fantastic meal. I bet a fine time was had by all. Happy New Year!

     
  • At 12/29/2014 10:49 am, Anonymous Elaine said…

    What an astonishingly fabulous feast. I can't imagine how many hours work went into this spread! If you are interested in learning more about kefir, grab a copy of Superfoods for Life - Cultured and Fermented by Australian author Meg Thompson. It's available through Booktopia http://www.booktopia.com.au/superfoods-for-life-cultured-and-fermented-beverages-meg-thompson/prod9781592336012.html. I grabbed a packet of kefir from my local health food shop to get started.

     
  • At 12/29/2014 8:27 pm, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    It's all just incredible. I can't believe the lengths some people go to to put on a Christmas meal. From start to finish, every dish had the wow factor but of course, the favourite would have to be the terrine (followed closely by the trifle) xx

     
  • At 12/30/2014 9:05 am, Blogger Shanshan Lam said…

    what another amazing feast and a lego carousel? that is so cool!!

     
  • At 12/30/2014 4:09 pm, Blogger irene said…

    Mr & Mrs Pig Flyin should open their own restaurant!

     
  • At 12/30/2014 8:47 pm, Anonymous Jason Galletti said…

    Amazing Food blog! well done one of the best i have seen. The Christmas pate looks ridiculously good.

     
  • At 1/03/2015 10:22 am, Anonymous Fran @ G'day Souffle' said…

    Hi Helen, this is Fran from G'day Souffle'. I am so impressed with your 10 years of blogging- I'm just reaching my 2 year anniversary. I would love to get my hands on those giant prawns from Dubai!

     
  • At 1/05/2015 7:17 pm, Anonymous Padaek said…

    I'm pretty much speechless and in awe about this Christmas feast! Glad to know you had a great Christmas! :)

     
  • At 1/06/2015 11:34 am, Anonymous paulus said…

    Hi Helen, a very great post again and drooling pictures of pigflyin's Christmas dinner. Do you know any restaurant in Sydney that are already serving juice pairing?

     
  • At 1/06/2015 5:42 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    I am so impressed by the efforts that your friends went to! What an incredible feast. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Helen!

     
  • At 1/08/2015 10:04 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    These guys are just amazing. I look forward to every Stomachs Eleven dinner you write about.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home


      << Read Older Posts       |       >> Read Newer Posts