Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dinner at home episode 2

Cognac evening

I am surprise not seeing more chefs out there using cognac for cooking, just like wine, cognac is base on grape. The double pot still distill process ensure a smother taste than the average brandy. Depending the time the cognac rest in the cask, you just get so much flavours from the French white oak barrels, flavours wise you can get from berries, floral, banana, vanilla to more robust flavours like spices, citrus and leather. So surely with all these interesting flavours, cognac will be an ideal drink to use as seasoning/ cooking? So created a dinner using cognac and matched with cognac base cocktail.

Starter: beetroot ginger yoghurt - Pierre Ferrand Amber, Salmon goat cheese mousse - Pierre Ferrand Reserve, topped with caviar and cucumber.
Drinks: The Summit
Pierre Ferrand Reserve on the left
beetroot ginger yoghurt - salmon goat cheese mousse

Two layers of main flavours here, Pierre Ferrand is a very floral cognac and it was ideal to blend with the fresh beetroot and ginger to bring out the sweet and shapes notes. The Greek yoghurt was used to add settle down the spiciness of the ginger and the woody notes from the cognac.  The idea of the salmon and goat cheese mousse was to create a creamy but yet light in body taste. I selected a very low fat fresh goat cheese and used Pierre Ferrand Rserve which is a very fruity cognac to add a bit of sweetness and fruitiness to the mousse. Drink wise I did The Summit, one of the official cognac cocktail from the International Coganc Summit. Fresh ginger, cucumber, lime, cognac and topped with Rose lemonade, a refreshing summer cocktail.

Main: rack of pork, olive oil sweet potato, truffle spinach, Cognac shallot sauces.
Drinks: Brandy Crusta
rack of pork, olive oil sweet potato, truffle spinach, Cognac shallot sauces

The pork was rubbed with salt and pepper, double cooked. Pan fired to seal the surface before finished in the grill. I used Camus XO cognac and shallot for the sauces. First I used the remaining pork fat from the pan, and added cream and butter, The shallot added some sharpness and bitterness to cut through the rich and creamy taste while the Camus added a touch of nuttiness and spices.
I did the classic Crusta for the drink but removed the sugar edge and lemon slices. I also added more orange oil and orange bitter with lemon to give the drinks a good kick. Spirit wise I used Camus XO and Pierre Ferrand orange curacao.
Camus XO

Brandy Crusta

Dessert: Cheese!
Drink: Frapin Château Fontpinot XO

I selected some cheese from La Fromagerie store, all from southern France to pair with the fine Frapin Chateau Fontpinot XO, a very complex cognac from a single vineyard. Some dry orange notes with very earthy and nutty taste. Each sip tasted different depending on the cheese pairing.
Frapin Château Fontpinot XO
cheese from La Fromagerie

I definitely found cognac a very interesting spirit for cooking, different brands offer different flavours profile, a very good alternative for wine. It just offer so much in term of taste and nose, not easy to understand the character of each brand and how it works with different food items, but well worth the troubles and the result can be very rewarding.

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