Monday, November 10, 2014

Launch of SAISON at The French Cafe

I was one of the fortunate folk attending the launch of Simon Wright's second book, SAISON, held last evening at the recently rated fourth-best restaurant in the world, The French Cafe in Auckland's Symonds Street.

The stunningly beautiful book was launched by Nicola Legat, her final book launch on behalf of Random House NZ. What a high note on which to go out!

Simon Wright, Nicola Legat and The Bookman in conversation at the launch.

 The band entertaining in the Cafe's courtyard at the launch

Part of the extensive kitchen garden, and beehives, at The French Cafe,

And three pics from the photographic first section of the book:

The publishers have kindly agreed to let me reproduce the foilowing recipe from the book:

Sweetcorn fritters

For this Kiwi favourite I use only fresh corn, grating half the cobs to make my own creamed corn. The result is a sweetcorn fritter that really tastes of sweetcorn, with great texture and all that natural sweetness. I like to fold through some diced crayfish meat to give them a more luxurious feel.

Sweetcorn fritters
Serves 6 as a canapé
For the basil salt
Preheat the oven to 60°C / 125°F. Place the basil and sea salt in a food processor and pulse together until you have a green crumb-like consistency. Spread the basil salt on a tray and dehydrate for 3 hours or until the salt is dry. Allow the basil salt to cool. Pulse to a fine powder in a spice grinder and store in an airtight container until required.
50g / 2oz basil leaves
50g / 2oz sea salt

For the lemon mayonnaise
Place the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a food processor, and blend together. With the motor still running slowly add the oils followed by the water. Check the seasoning and place in the fridge until required.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
juice of 2 lemons
125ml / 4.5fl oz olive oil
75ml / 2.5fl oz lemon-scented olive oil
30ml / 1fl oz hot water

For the sweetcorn fritters
Remove the kernels from two of the sweetcorn by holding the cobs upright with your hand and running the blade of a sharp knife down the sides. Grate the two remaining sweetcorn on the largest blade of a grater into a small bowl, add the sweetcorn kernels, the remaining ingredients and a pinch of sea salt. Gently fold the mixture together.
4 fresh sweetcorn, husks removed
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tbsp flour
200g / 7oz raw chopped crayfish meat

to finish
Heat the deep-fryer to 160°C / 320°F. Using a tablespoon, spoon the sweetcorn fritter mixture into the deep-fryer in batches of six and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, drain on absorbent paper and keep warm. Repeat until all the sweetcorn mixture has been fried and serve immediately with the lemon mayonnaise and basil salt on the side.

In conclusion:
This is a truly beautiful book, a fine piece publishing, something to really treasure.
My congratulations to Simon Wright, Nicola Legat, Emma Hayes and Nicola Merrie and all who have been involved in making this very special book.You should feel very proud.

SAISON - A Year at the French Cafe
Simon Wright
Godwit - $95.00
Publication - 12 November.

Saison: The French word for season, a natural period of time into which the year is divided, a way that Nature finds balance in itself and a time where everything gets a moment to shine. - From Simon Wright's superb nine page introduction to his book.

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