Every time I go to the Queen Victoria Market I ask myself why I don’t go there more often, and I’ve now made a commitment to myself that I will. The produce is second to none. If you do what I did, and go just before closing on Saturday afternoon, the bargains in the meat/poultry/seafood section are amazing, and everything looks just so fresh and lovely. I’m so lucky to have it on my doorstep, I just need to get there more.
This is not a difficult recipe at all – it takes some time, including parfait cooling and chocolate foam chilling, but there are no difficult elements as such. That’s one of the things I love about my thermomix – most of it is hands free cooking – so even if something takes an hour to do – you can go outside, do the washing, play with the kids, do some work or whatever, because you don’t need to stand over a saucepan stirring or watching.
The parfait is as easy as can be. I’m not sure if I failed the butter clarification part though. I used Western Star butter this time, as I had it in the fridge, and I am generally a home brand girl for butter. I drained it through a fresh, damp kitchen cloth, but it didn’t do much in the way of trapping the solids. It sat on the bench for a while as I did the onions, garlic, and the reduction, and I noticed as I was pouring it in that there was some thicker yellowy-white stuff at the bottom…so I’m not sure if that was what the kitchen cloth was supposed to capture, or just the process of butter solidifying.
You need to make sure you prepare the duck livers really well. I bought extra duck liver from Nifra Poultry, by 50 grams. Next time I’ll do it by 100 grams. as there are always bits of sinew and gristly bits in the livers, so I chopped them all out, as I didn’t want any of the in my lovely parfait.
I used a pretty decent port (against someone’s wishes ;-)) but I’m a firm believer in using the best you can get for wines in cooking…if you wouldn’t drink it, then you shouldn’t cook with it!
I used a cereal bowl to pour the parfait into, and used the soup bowl as the bain marie container. There was a little more parfait that would fit in the bowl, but not so much as I was worried about not using it. I propped up the bain marie with egg rings, so it wouldn’t cover the holes of the varoma. Lucky I made those crumpets last week, or I would have completely forgotten about egg rings – and they were great to use for this.
This makes a huge amount of parfait – I served this to 5 adults and there was plenty left over.
The Gingerbread Crumb
Oh, this smells gorgeous! So gingery – it makes me remember Christmases in Europe. I think I should have kept it in the oven a little longer though – it looked cooked on top, but once I cut it in half, the inside was still quite moist. I kept the crumb in the oven a little longer than suggested, just to dry it out a little more. Be warned – 5 grams of ginger is quite a lot – the spice jar I had of it was only 25 grams in total, so you’ll have to shake it out for a while, but I assume that’s what makes it smell so beautiful. (And taste so beautiful too – you only need half the gingerbread for the crumb, so the other half makes a nice little treat to nibble on).
Next time I make it, I think I’ll only blitz about a third of the cake to make the crumb, as it makes quite a lot. I’ll also spread it out on a much bigger tray with more defined edges than the one I used – mine was piled a little high in places, which is why it took longer to dry out, I think.
The Chocolate Foam
The chocolate foam wasn’t as bitter as I thought it would be – but it was still delicious. I had it in the fridge for a few hours before I served it, so I put it in the sink of hot water about half way up the siphon for about 15 minutes before I served it. Before I tried spraying it, I shook it to make sure what was in there was liquid – you can hear a distinctive sound of liquid when it – so make sure you hear it before you start siphoning. It wasn’t as bitter as I thought it would be – and it was pretty liquid, so I need some more siphoning practice. Maybe I let it warm up for too long?
Altogether, this was lovely. It’s extremely rich, so you only need to prepare very small serves. I’m still not 100% on the combination of flavours, but each element by itself was lovely, if not unusual together.