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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stomach's Eleven: A French feast

Savoy cabbage

Let me set the scene.

Only forty minutes before, I'd been eating six different desserts at the conclusion of chocolatesuze's flavour tripping party. Before that we'd been sucking on lemons, eating citric acid and drinking vinegar. Because we could. And prior to that, we'd gorged on a late lunch of roti canai, sticky glazed ribs, fried seafood dumplings, mushrooms, pumpkin salad, lentil salad and sushi.

Can you say "belly ache"?

And here I am. Walking through the door of Chez Pig Flyin for dinner. Oh yes, my beloved digestive tract, I'm not quite done with you yet.

K folding the crepes

It was Mrs Pig Flyin's birthday and as Stomach's Eleven to'd and fro'd phone calls about suitable venues, Pig Flyin had a great idea. Dinner at his place. How could we refuse?

We could smell the deliciousness from the driveway. A kitchen radiating with the joy of homecooking, the ever-calm and always laughing Pig Flyin casually tending to the stove and the chopping board.

Scallop pancakes on a prawn glace

We started with scallop pancakes. Oh my god. I believe I reached another level of enlightenment. There was a moment when I sat there, spoon halfway to my mouth, a small smile on my lips, trying to compute that yes, I really was eating this, and yes, I was sitting in somebody's home.

A star on the plate, this gossamer thin crepe, flecked with chives and broken apart with a spoon to reveal a creamy luscious mound of scallops lolling about quietly in mascarpone.

And then the sauce. The. Sauce. A deep vermilion hue of prawn glace, a seafood stock so rich and pure and flavoursome you wanted to pick up your bowl and lick it clean.

We did.

Top: Maine lobster pancakes with pea-shoot salad
in the French Laundry cookbook by Thomas Keller

Scallop pancakes on a prawn glace
made by Pigflyin, and plated by K

Its inspiration, I discovered, was a recipe for Maine lobster pancakes in the French Laundry cookbook by Thomas Keller. Pig Flyin adapted the recipe and whilst sous chef K wasn't copying the pictured dish exactly, it did turn out impressively similar.

And then the soup.

French onion soup

Homemade French onion soup. I haven't always been a fan of French onion soups finding them too thick and too salty.

But this one. Four kilos of beef bones simmered for six hours for a killer beef stock.

Onions. Silky. Translucent. Sweet.

And the crunch of a toasted baguette topped with grilled Gruyere cheese.

That was the appetiser and the entree. Now onto the mains.

Dutch carrots

Potatoes dauphinoise

Sauteed savoy cabbage with Croatian speck and roasted chestnuts

The sweet simplicity of Dutch carrots, so sweet I was convinced he'd added honey or sugar (no). Two small dishes of potatoes dauphinoise, delicate mandolined slices of potato slow-baked with cream until tender and soft with a crunchy top.

And a celebration of chestnuts. Sauteed savoy cabbage with pieces of pan-fried Croatian speck and the buttery crumble of roasted and peeled fresh chestnuts.

Veal rack

Oh yes. A gluttony of meat.

Carving the veal

Veal cutlets

Juicy. Pink. Perfect.

My only regret was I couldn't eat more.

Digging in

Suffice to say, it's amazing how much "compacting" one can do given the mention of "dessert" and twenty minutes respite.

Preparing the crepes by cooking oin butter and orange juice

Crepes Suzette

They say that crepes suzette are making a comeback, but I think I'd rather comeback to Pig Flyin for more. Again, beautifully thin satin-soft crepes, drenched in a sauce of freshly squeezed orange juice and butter that wasn't overly rich or sweet. The crepes were doused with Grand Marnier and then flambeed for a spectacular finish.

Oh so full. Of happiness. Of bliss. Of crepes.

I was silent for a moment.

And then I quietly helped myself to seconds.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday Mrs Pig Flyin and thank you Pig Flyin--and sous chef K-- for the incredible meal as always. Masterchef Australia? I know who my pick is!

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2010 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Teochew feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Mole poblano and pulled pork tacos (Me)
Stomachs Eleven: Pizza and friends (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Ten kilograms of mussels (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Shanghainese banquet (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Wagyu shabu shabu and dessert sushi (Silverlily)
Stomachs Eleven: Stuffed deboned pig's head + nose-to-tail eating (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: French feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Whole suckling pig and Chinese banquet (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Hotpot night (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Crackling roast pork and black sesame cupcakes (me)
Stomachs Eleven: No ordinary steak dinner (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Polish feast (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2009 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Char siu and Hainan chicken (me)
Stomachs Eleven: Amazing impromptu dinner party (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Dumplings and Shanghai soy duck (M&L)
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/21/2009 01:54:00 am


  • At 5/21/2009 9:19 am, Anonymous shez said…

    ohmygoodness! everything on that table looks so delicious... and so much care and time must have gone into making it all.

    if only all birthday dinners could be like that :)

  • At 5/21/2009 9:49 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Wow! I'm super impressed at your ability to jump from feast to feast! Really quite jealous!

  • At 5/21/2009 12:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh wow, how do I wangle an invitation to one of these dinners? I'm very *very* good at washing up? ;-)

  • At 5/21/2009 1:23 pm, Anonymous aptronym said…

    I am weeping in a corner with vicarious joy....

  • At 5/21/2009 4:04 pm, Anonymous Howard said…

    holy moley, this is very nice indeed. The pancakes look particular tempting. Stomach's Twelve perhaps ? :P

    Funnily enough our next theme is French for our monthly cook up, I can't wait as this has me drooling!

  • At 5/21/2009 7:36 pm, Anonymous kay said…

    they should join master chef lol, to be this dedicated to make dinner for friends

  • At 5/21/2009 8:08 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    You know what, somehow 'wow' doesn't quite cut it.

    I cannot believe that you had this to eat after the tasting party, or that you managed to have some of everything including seconds of dessert. I probably would have given myself an eating disorder just to make room for what was on offer. How you managed, I have no idea. Kudos to you.

  • At 5/21/2009 8:57 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    Flambe crepes suzette looks quite spectacular! What an amazing meal.

  • At 5/21/2009 9:12 pm, Anonymous Megan {Feasting on Art} said…

    Your feast looks incredibly delicious!!

  • At 5/21/2009 9:40 pm, Anonymous Anita said…

    What a dinner!!! Everything looks sooo fantastic! From the pancakes, to the soup then the Veal and the beautiful crepes. You're very lucky :)

  • At 5/22/2009 12:36 am, Anonymous yas said…

    I can't believe these are what you had after the party LOL my god, food looks amazing! Now I'm craving for a bowl of french onion soup..

  • At 5/22/2009 11:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am weeping with envy and joy looking at that. Its hard to tell which one is winning!
    and you have some amazingly generous and talented friends.
    also kudos for not pigging out on any one dish.
    I for one probably lack that discipline!

  • At 5/22/2009 1:35 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    You lucky sod. Spectacular feasting.

    And the cabbage. You know how much I love looking at crinkly savoys.

  • At 5/22/2009 3:05 pm, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    I dream of throwing a dinner party like this but sadly I don't think I'll ever have the skills :(

  • At 5/22/2009 6:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy Bday to Mrs Pig Flyin ^^! and dayyyummmm what a great feast! I would kill for such a meal XD (Pllleeasse ask me to kill so I can have some XD)

  • At 5/23/2009 12:34 pm, Blogger dyeo said…

    Wow! What a feast! Everything looks so delicious...
    I love how the scallop pancakes are shaped into stars and the pictures of licking the bowl dry.. hehe :)

  • At 5/24/2009 5:40 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Shez - lol. I wish my birthday dinner was like that, but ha, I'm not complaining. I had to pinch myself I wasn't dreaming!

    Hi Betty - Oh I've been in training for ages. lol. It's quite easy if you try!

    Hi Reemski - lol. There is a dishwasher at their place, but I'll let them know!

    Hi aptronym - I was weeping with happiness :)

    Hi Howard - I did notice your next theme is French. Can't wait to see what you all contribute!

    Hi Kay - lol. We did suggest that. I think he'd win for sure!

    Hi Simon - Ha, I think kudos deserves to go to Pig Flyin. The eating is the easy part :)

    Hi Arwen - The crepes suzette was amazing. Truly appreciate this dish now. Restaurant versions often don't do this dish justice!

    Hi Megan - It was amazing indeed. I'm very lucky!

    Hi Anita - I'm very grateful. So great to have food loving friends, especially ones that can cook! :)

    Hi Yas - lol. It was quite painful editing these photos. I had a hankering for soup, for veal, for crepes... lol!

    Hi Anon - I don't think I have much discipline when it comes to pigging out! But I do like to try a little bit of everything. And then try it all once again!

    Hi Veruca Salt - I'm lucky indeed, and the cabbage photo was just for you :)

    Hi Pickles - Me neither :)

    Hi FFichiban - Aww thanks. I'll pass on your best wishes to her, and lol, I'll let them know!

    Hi Foodie-Central - It was quite funny how people actually did lick their bowl clean. It wasn't actually staged! And the pancakes were divine. Eating them certainly made me see stars :)

  • At 5/25/2009 9:25 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    I think Pig Flyin has missed his calling.

    Can I pretend to be you at the next gathering of Stomach's Eleven?

    Somehow I think they'd notice ; )

  • At 5/26/2009 11:52 pm, Blogger Gun said…

    I can still remember that you nodded 4 times after the first bite of Crepe. lol

  • At 5/27/2009 1:58 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Divemummy - Yes I think Pigflyin would be the Masterchef winner if he were so inclined, altho' really I'm quite happy to be his tasting panel any day! And ha, I think they might!

    Hi Gun - lol. I forgot about that. It was sooooo good. I want more :)


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