A farewell feast

Roast beef

If I'd known how much fun a farewell feast was, I'd have left years ago. In fact, my new goal in life may be to move somewhere, live there long enough to find friends who will attend a farewell dinner, then leave. My life will be a glorious adventure from one farewell feast to another, perhaps interspersed with an occassional welcome home feast when I return to Adelaide.

It's a pretty easy process too. The first step is to leave your hometown, leave all your friends, your family, your favourite places and faces. Easy, right? Next up, host a farewell dinner for yourself. Once that's done, you're free to dream up any kind of menu you desire.

Here's what I went for:

We started with a light sparkling pinot served with ricotta and chargrilled capsicum on something that I don't know the name for. It's a little bread square, buttered on both sides and crammed into a small muffin dish so when you put it under the grill the bread toasts into little cups. Let's call them toastinis, or crustettes, or something similarly naff.

Fortunately, I had my partner in crime Tim to attend to the entree. He made up a prawn stock by boiling up tomatoes, lemon zest and pulp, salt, prawn shells, parsley, and whole peppercorns. This was then magically turned into seafood risotto which was served with a prawn poached in butter, with a garnish of chilli oil. I'd have a photo and a recipe, but it was far too delicious to tear myself away from. This one went hand in hand with a NZ gewurtztraminer, which was a lovely and buttery supplement to the seafood.

The next dish was a purely experimental one. The official name was lime salmon with avocado and mango salsa on a bed of coconut rice. The coconut rice was simple enough (rice + water + coconut milk + rice cooker), as was the salsa (avocado + mango + coriander + lime juice). I panfried the salmon with a sprinkling of lime zest at the end, and constructed a mini food tower consisting of a rice and salsa foundation with a salmon ground floor and lime antenna. In retrospect, the hot salmon on cold salsa was an odd combination, despite the flavours working well together. An Adelaide Hills sav blanc provided the tasty wineyness for this one.

If you think that two tasty courses were enough to get me to leave, you're sadly mistaken. Main course, dessert, and a big breakfast cook-up are after the jump.

Okay. Seafood's done, right? It was nice and light and interesting and whatever. That was foreplay. That was the warm up, the soprano singing scales while we wait for the tenor to come on stage. The tenor in this instance is a 4.2 kilogram hunk of rolled scotch fillet that Tim was lovingly stroking all the way home from the market. We gave it an oil, garlic and rosemary massage, then exfoliated it with a rub of seat salt, pepper, and chilli. We lay our precious meat-baby in a low (150ºC) oven for a few hours, and gave it some potatoes, pumpkin, onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes to play with while it slowly roasted. It came out crispy and glistening on the outside, medium rare and juicy on the inside. Again, I'd have taken a nicer photo if I wasn't so busy enjoying it. We served this with a 1986 cab sav from the Coonawarra. I had opened and decanted it when the meat went in, and the initial taste was far from impressive. Right out of the bottle it was flat, boring, and far too acidic at the back of the palate. The rewards of patience are many, however, and a few hours in the decanted allowed this distinguished old wine to slowly unfurl to reveal the chewy, smoky, leathery flavours of awesomeness that only a truly old wine can have.

Once sufficient time had passed to even contemplate eating more, it was time for dessert. This was a nutella cheesecake (a creation of my sister, who still refuses to tell me everything). I know it has a crust made from moist cookies, and a filling that is some combination of nutella, cream cheese, and whipped cream, but that's all I've got. This was accompanied on the plate by vanilla cream, raspberry coulis, and port jelly. The jelly was a bit of an experiment too, and a successful one at that- about a cup of port (the nicer the port, the nicer the jelly) mixed with gelatin dissolved in hot water. Tasty stuff. We served dessert with a 1985 vintage port from the Barossa.

Mmmm bacon

The rest of the evening was well lubricated, which necessitated a glorious breakfast the next morning. Hash browns, smoky bacon, spicy sausages, scrambled eggs and parsley, crusty toast, and fresh fruit. The perfect end to a farewell feast.

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