What a delight to invite 45 people to my home kitchen ! As a pre-Burns event, I cooked two dishes which I paired with two delicious single malts and I presented three other gems. A one woman show on zoom. This is when you miss a kitchen help to do the washing up.
Invited by the Ottawa Whisky Guild to perform two online cooking demonstrations and a tasting on Sunday 23rd January, I was apprehensive. What if my pathetic Islay wifi collapsed? What if I burnt my scallops? What if I forgot to add the whisky to my orange sauce (I am known for forgetting that essential touch to the dish)…
6pm (early afternoon in Canada), everything is ready, the computer is in place, the lights are switched on, I wear my “Queen of the still” blue apron.
And the whisky guild members are all logged on with their whiskies in the glasses, some of them will even prepare the dishes as we get along. They all have my cookery book opened at the right pages.
SCALLOPS AND BLACK PUDDING SURF AND TURF WITH APPLE SAUCE
I have chosen a “surf and turf” dish to start with. It can be served as a starter or even a main dish: Scallops and black pudding “surf and turf” with apple sauce. We are blessed with the best scallops in the world on Islay. Black pudding is an iconic Scottish delicacy, following an old Stornoway recipe. The addition of a strongly flavoured ingredient to delicate shellfish may sound a bit daring. The apple sauce (made from apple juice and sour apple compote) provides a fruity bridge between the food and the whisky.
For this particular recipe, I chose a characterful whisky which combines marine aromas and earthy flavours: Old Pulteney 12 Year old.
I would not have made this choice if cooking just scallops with lemon and butter. For these, I’d rather have chosen a medium peated bourbon matured malt like Caol Ila or Bowmore.
The black pudding which was crumbled and toasted to make it crisp offered an incredible match with Old Pulteney.
Old Pulteney 12 year old – 40% – bourbon cask matured
Color : pale gold
Nose : malty and fruity. Cereal, straw with an earthy hint. A marine influence. A “surf and turf whisky”. Fruit slowly comes through (peach and apricot). Feet on the soil and head to the briny wind…
On the hand : freshly cut grass, dried flowers, honey.
Palate : Smooth, sweet maltiness. Cereal. Touch of spice, ginger.
Finish : Dries on almond and ground ginger.
Matching : Interesting surf and turf combination (scallops and black pudding), chicken stew with cider, apple crumble, gougères.
The recipe : A wide aromatic palette with the delicate marine note of the scallop and the spicy rustic character of the black pudding. The sauce (apple juice and compote), deglazed with a good dash of Old Pulteney, is the bridge.
BITTER CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH AN ORANGE AND WHISKY SAUCE
The second recipe was a dessert. Very few people hate chocolate. Prepared with dark chocolate, these individual cakes are enjoyed warm, as they get out of the oven. They are firm on the outside and lightly runny in the inside, provided you don’t exceed 9 minutes in the oven. Well, mine were slightly overcooked. Too busy talking, I left them 10 minutes. This is why using a timer is not a bad thing. Next time…
The sauce complements the cake as well as the whisky. Orangey as it can be: orange zest, juice and marmalade. And of course, a good tablespoon of Glenfarclas 15 at the end. My recommendation is to be very light on the sugar. As marmalade is added to the zest and juice, there is no need to add sugar. That bitter edge will match perfectly with the sherry notes of the whisky.
Glenfarclas 15 year old and that scrumptious cake laced with a velvety orange sauce performed a fusion match.
Glenfarclas 15 year old – 46% – sherry refill maturation
Color: bright gold with amber hues.
Nose: Fruity and malty. Influenced by sherry but not overwhelming. Dried fruit, earthy touch, whiff of peat. Butterscotch.
On the hand: Gingerbread cake
Palate: Crisp, dry, dried fruit, crème caramel, marmalade.
Finish: Dry, oaky elegance. Perfect balance. Complex, tastes older.
Matching dishes: Chocolate cake, beef stew, old comté
Perfect combination with the chocolate cake and orange sauce. Keep the sauce on the bitter side.
While the cake was cooking, we tasted Lagavulin 16 Year Old. I wish I had the energy and the stamina to present five recipes but it would have been over the top.
Just a little piece of blue cheese (especially roquefort) makes a perfect match.
Tasting note Lagavulin 16 year old – 43%
Color: ripe gold
Nose: phenolic, thick smoke, earthy note, smoked meat. Sandalwood, bergamot.
On the hand : burning seaweed and dune grasses.
Palate : smoky, sweet cereal note. Dry, salty, rich oak. Seville orange.
Finish : dry, lingering, earthy.
Matching dishes: chocolate and cardamon tart, figs and foie gras, duck breast, pear and stilton tart
Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 year old – 43% – Sherry finish- Lasanta means warm in gaelic
Color: bright gold with copper hues.
Nose: Fragrant, fruity, with a note of plum. Light winey note. Vanilla, apple tart, dried sultanas.
On the hand: raisin buns
Palate: Crisp, earthy. Raisins, orange marmalade. Sweet vanilla. Spices (nutmeg ginger)
Finish: Dry, spicy.
Matching dishes : monkfish in pancetta, duck breast with poached pears, plum tart
Balvenie 12 year old double wood – 40% – bourbon maturation and sherry finish
Color: ripe gold.
Nose: fruity and pastry-like. Orange biscuit, vanilla, honey. Wax. Embodies the speyside character. Apple tart. Nuts.
On the hand: vanilla waffle.
Palate: fruity, sweet pastry. shortbread, vanilla, raisins. Cinnamon.
Finish: long, complex, licorice.
Matching dishes : chestnut and foie gras velouté, wild mushroom risotto, rhubarb crumble.
Glenmorangie Lasanta and Balvenie Doublewood offered an interesting comparison of sherry finishes. Same type of finish but two different profiles.
More ideas for cooking then. Never a dull moment !