[Cooking] Venison steak, stewed red onions, mash

Finally another cooking post!
Yesterday, my butcher had some venison steaks, an offer I couldn’t resist. At home, I marinaded them in rapeseed oil, ground pepper, allspice and thyme for about five hours in the fridge.
I started with the onions by cutting them into wedges and separating those into layers, sweated them off in butter. When softened a bit, I added about a glass of red wine and a good glug of balsamic vinegar, half a Knorr beef stock pot, salt and pepper and let them bubble away gently for about an hour with the lid on.
Next I made a simple potato mash with milk and butter.
I scraped the spices and herbs off the meat, fried the steaks gently in rapeseed oil for about three minutes each side until there they had a nice crust, basted them with a generous knob of butter and then transferred them to a low oven to finish for about 10 minutes.
I moved the stewed onions to the meat pan to deglaze it and reduce the liquid to a sauce to which I added the resting juices from the steak.

Venison steak, stewed red onions, mash
Venison steak, stewed red onions, mash

As you can see from the photo, the sauce had a wonderful consistency and had a nice sheen to it. The meat was on the spot, too, tender and juicy. I was very happy with how this meal came out, especially as the meat had been a bargain (under a fiver for two chunky steaks).

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Lunch at Aumer’s La Vie, Nuremberg

Having recently researched the fine dining options in Nuremberg and dismissed the two-starred Essigbrätlein because of too many negative reviews, the lack of website and online booking facilities, I decided I wanted to give Aumer’s La Vie a try as the reviews were good, they had recently received their first Michelin star and their menu looked interesting. One downside was that the restaurant is open for lunch only on Saturdays so I adjusted my travel plans accordingly.
La Vie is conveniently located opposite the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, a few minutes walk from the U-Bahn stop Opernhaus and even walking from the main station won’t take longer than 15 minutes or so.
When I arrived at 1, the restaurant was not busy, there was only one couple sitting at a table by the window and I was shown to another of a total of three window tables. The rest of the tables are in the back of the dining room with space for about 30 covers.

The menu options were a four-course and a six-course menu as well as a la carte. While the longer menu was tempting I wasn’t quite sure of the time it would take so I opted for the four courses which turned out to be an excellent choice.

Bread

First was the bread which overall was the only disappointing item as it was neither warm nor particularly fresh. This was served with soft butter, a little bowl of sea salt flakes and a small bottle of peppery olive oil.

Amuse 1: Marinaded tuna

The first amuse of marinaded tuna with yuzu and cucumber was served by one of the chefs. This was interesting and fresh and much more exciting than the bread so already breaking the rule that the bread is an indication of the quality of the rest of the meal.

Amuse 2: Duck liver and ham

The second amuse, served by another chef (two of them would alternate throughout the meal), was a duo of duck, a superbly cooked piece of liver and a slice of tender ham (cured and smoked breast).

Veal sweatbread, Jerusalem artichoke, rose hip,

The first proper course was a nice piece of fried veal sweetbread, served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, braised onion and, a first for me, rose hip (gel and leather). The tangy rose hip contrasted really well with the meat and the artichokes provided earthy crunch.

Ray wing, celery, mustard seed, cabbage, dashi broth

The fish course was a piece of soft ray wing with celeriac, mustard seed and cabbage in a dashi broth, again with perfectly harmonising flavours and contrasting textures and fun to eat. Of the deeply flavoured broth I could happily have eaten a whole bowl full. Simply excellent.

Saddle of roe deer, carrots, herbs, wild mushrooms

The previous courses had already been excellent but the main cranked up the quality and enjoyment by another notch. Venison is one of my favourite types of meat anyway and this saddle of roe deer was a superb example. Cooked medium rare with a nice crust, it was a delight to eat. On a side was a forest of sculpted carrots with wild mushrooms and herbs, equally deeply flavoured and a perfect accompaniment.

Quince, Whisky, Hazelnut

The dessert was quince in various forms, a sponge similar to rum baba but flavoured with whisky and crushed and pureed hazelnut. After the strong flavours of the main this was almost a bit boring but the quince was tart and the baba not too sweet so it worked well.

Petit Fours

After a rather rich meal I fancied a coffee and I am glad I had one as the petit fours that came with it were a delight. On a piece of would were a quenelle of meringue filled with liquid almond, a jelly with chocolate flakes, a candied apple and a ginger snap shard. Brilliant and fun.

With a half litre bottle of water, a glass of wine with the main and the coffee, my bill came to €87.50 so about £73 at the current exchange rate. For Nuremberg, this is quite pricey but adequate for the quality of the offering. I am highly tempted to go again in summer, provided I can plan my holidays accordingly.

The first Franglais Kitchen supper club

If you’re in the Cambridge area and interested in food you might know Franglais Kitchen from their blog or twitter account or even one of their cooking classes. Last week they moved into the Cambridge supper club scene with their first offering of French-Indian fusion food. The event was held in their modern home in Cambridge and, with only 12 guests, worked perfectly.

We were greeted by a duo of nibbles, a home made Bombay mix which was so much better than any packed versions I have tried as there seems to be always something inedible in it.

Bhel Poori and Bombay Mix

The other bowl of the dish contained some bhel poori, also freshly made, with a fantastic tamarind sauce. Many thanks to Deepa for the permission to use her photo.

Pani puris

The other snack were pani puri, a crispy shell filled with a few bits of crunchy veg, into which a fresh sauce of coriander and mint was poured. Very refreshing with a little zing to awaken your tastebuds.

Spiced duck rilettes, mango and papaya chaat, crisp caraway seed flatbreads

The meat starter were spiced duck rillettes, mango and papaya chaat, crisp caraway seed flatbreads. The rillettes were very much like what you would get a French bistro in texture and base flavour but enhanced by Indian spices. The fresh chaat cut nicely through the rich meat and the flatbread worked well, too.

Roasted peppers with Rajasthani Paneer, coriander, mint

The vegetarian starter were roasted peppers with smoked rajasthani Paneer, coriander and mint. I only took the photo but I was assured by those who had it that this starter was equally excellent.

Haleem Stew

Then there was a Haleem Stew, with slow cooked lamb for the meat eaters and roasted butternut squash for the vegetarians. This rich and flavourful soup came with sourdough naan, which I sadly didn’t take a photo of.

BBQ Broccoli, Aubergine, Cauliflower, Achari couscous

The vegetarian main was BBQ broccoli, aubergine and cauliflower with Achari couscous.

Spiced Roasted Poussin, cinnamon/anis jus

The meat main was roasted poussin with a spiced crust, served with mushroom rice and okra. Extras for both mains were pickled lemons, cucumber raita and more pickles. The poussin was well cooked, the meat tender and moist, its flavour enhanced by cinnamon and star anise. All the sides matched perfectly, too.

Trio of desserts

The trio of desserts was just as delicious as the previous courses. There was a chilli chocolate macaron with just a hint of the spice, a coconut halva which reminded me of marzipan in texture and a very light chocolate mousse with chocolate “soil” and pistachio. I could easily have eaten another plate of those…

It was a splendid and entertaining evening with excellent food and equally excellent company. Highly recommended. Their next event will be in January. You can sign up for the announcement on their website.

There are a few more photos on flickr.