Birthday Banquet

Posted on
in Menus, Recipes, Dips & Pieces, Pasta & Grains

Birthday Banquet

Posted on
in Menus, Recipes, Dips & Pieces, Pasta & Grains

I’ve been blessed for the last year living with a girl who loves to eat, and will eat anything I put infront of her. So for her birthday I decided that instead of going out for dinner, we should have a dinner party at home. So we squeezed 15 people into our tiny apartment for her birthday feast.

I wanted to cook something special, and also something that I had never really cooked before. Walking around the farmers market, I managed to score an organic rabbit. Growing up in Australia, rabbit is not a very commonly used (or easily sorced) meat, so I had never really eaten, let alone cooked rabbit. Now I can say that rabbit is definitely one of my favourite meats to eat, to cook and to butcher. Rabbit has such a beautiful subtle flavour, so pairng it with pasta is perfect for a delicious rustic dinner. 

The Menu

Duck confit & pea shoot toasts
Goats cheese, honey & arugula fllower crostini

Braised Rabbit Pappardelle
Purple Cauliflower, roasted red grape & ricotta fettucine
Green salad
Fresh baguette

Earl Grey Tea, lavender & chocolate cake

Braised Rabbit Pappardelle

1 rabbit, jointed (you can do this yourself or ask your butcher to joint it for you)
plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper for dusting
5 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 brown onions, quatered
2 spring of rosemary
300ml dry white wine
250ml chicken stock

For the papardelle (and fettuccine) follow this basic pasta recipe. To make the papardelle, fold the pasta sveral times  (if dough is too sticky, sprinkle lightly with semolina to prevent sheets sticking together) and chop roughly with a sharp knife.

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Lightly dust rabbit in flour (shaking off the excess), and cook until golden. Remove and set aside. Add onions and cook until translucent, then add garlic, spring onions and rosemary. Deglaze with white wine, bring to a simmer then add the stock and browned rabbit and return to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook in oven until tender and meat is falling off the bone (about 1.5 hours).

Remove meat from braising liquid and set aside to cool slightly before you pull it apart. Strain and reserve the liquid. When the rabbit is cool enough to handle, carefully pull the meat from the bones. Take extra care with this as rabbit bones are very small and brittle! 

Put the shredded rabbit meat back in to the reduce braising liquid, cook & drain the pasta then toss rabbit and sauce through until pasta is well coated. 

Purple Cauliflower, Roasted Red Grape & Ricotta Fettucine

1/2 head purple cauliflower
Small bunch of red globe grapes
200g ricotta cheese  
micro-greens (or arugula) 

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Toss grapes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray. Roasted in the oven for 10 minutes, or until grapes start to wrinkle. Remove from oven and set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and blanch cauliflower, once cooked (soft but still with a bite) strain and shock immediately in a ice bath (this will help keep the vibrant purple colour).

Cook fettucine, drain and toss through cauliflower, grapes, ricotta cheese, greens and a drizzle of olive oil.