Saturday, 22 December 2007

Icecream and Iron Chef

Ah, winding down. Since I last wrote I've made a chocolate sorbet - late on Thursday night, after choir practice. And I've made a fruitcake, shopped, and been to Sydney, had dinner at Belmondo, and come back again and rustled up a quick mini lamb roast dinner. And now I'm on the couch, watching Iron Chef, with my dessert: a scoop each of the sorbet, and Gundowring honey walnut icecream. Bliss. There's only one more day of obligations - tomorrow I have a choir carolling gig, after which we are hosting a cocktail party - and then there's nothing to do but sloth about as I please. It's strange this year; we're having Xmas at home with no relatives and no specific cooking plans. I keep thinking that I must have forgotten something.

The new KitchenAid ice cream attachment is great. It's good having a whole freezer bowl, not just a disc in the bottom. The mix freezes up quickly to a great soft serve texture, then it's off to the freezer to mature overnight. Although I did have some at the soft serve stage - at which point I discovered that I hadn't let the chopped chocolate melt quite enough before chilling the mix. It's rich and intense, as promised, but also it's just slightly granular. Since the grain is only chocolate, it does melt in your mouth, so no big drama. My sorbet is merely slightly short of perfection. Obviously I have to practice some more...

Dinner at Belmondo was nice. The location and view is terrific, the food and drink is pretty good, the service was a bit slipshod and slow, but mostly OK. I got to see fireworks over the harbour as I sat by the window. I had a spaghetti vongole entree - excellent pasta, with lovely buttery juices, but the clams were a bit gritty. The roast duck was very well done, falling off the bone tender, with a rich port jus. And the honey torrone dessert with figs was nice, but tonight's Gundowring ice cream wins. I was cheerful though, with a cocktail and a few glasses of wine in me, and good food that I wasn't paying for. It's a little sad seeing all the Good Food awards and chef's hat certificates and so on lining the wall on the way to the toilets. They all date around 1997 - 2001 - back in the days when it was Stefano Manfredi's family restaurant. Perhaps it's not such a great idea to keep them there.

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