A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Take my knife skills. I know enough to impress but not quite enough to prevent the accidental lopping off of a finger. Because of this, I embrace every chance to do a cookery course. Recently, Miele asked me to try out its new Christmas entertaining course – a combination of favourite foods, such as gravy and bread sauce, as well as tasty ways with leftovers. And not a festive curry (my default dish) in sight.
Amy, one of the London Gallery‘s home economists, began by telling us how they’d cooked the turkey we were going to use later in a Sous Chef warming drawer for 12 hours at a low temperature to keep it succulent and juicy with no need for added fat. The juices that then came off it were used to make a rich gravy on the induction hob.
After seeing how simple it was, I may never touch gravy granules again, though I make no promises. One thing I definitely will be adding to my repertoire is the easy bread sauce – essentially bayleaf, clove and onion-infused milk with bread, butter and cream. Impressively delicious.
But soon it was time to let us loose on appliances. My menu – a canapé dish of soft steamed quails’ eggs with finely ground celery salt, starter of chicken liver parfait and a leftover main dish of turkey quinoa superfood salad – started quite simply by popping the eggs in the steam oven for a minute. What I really liked is that there was no need to worry about them overcooking. Not only did the timer only start once the oven was up to temperature, it pinged off once the minute was up. While they were gently cooking, I ground the salt in a mortar and pestle. Then, with a little help, popped the eggs out of their shells. And voila:
Next, the parfait – and time for the steam oven again. Now we put chicken livers, a shallot, bacon, garlic and thyme in for 20 mins, then it was into the food processor with them along with some reduced (in a pan, not in price) Cognac and butter.
Sieved with a dollop of double cream and it too was ready to be deposited into cute-as-a-button mini Kilner jars. In the meantime, other class members were whipping up dill blinis with beetroot gravadlax – the latter made by giving the salmon a deep pink coating of beetroot.
Finally, my superfood salad – and a chance to play with knives properly. Into the steam oven went the quinoa, broccoli and sugarsnap peas while I chopped up handfuls of mint and parsley and the leftover turkey. Tossed together with sunflower seeds and pomegranate and it was done.
Elsewhere, mini souffles were being prepared in the combi-steam oven and don’t they look impressive?
What I took away from the day is how versatile steam ovens really can be. I knew they were good for meat, fish and vegetables but probably would never have tried steaming eggs or whole trays of ingredients together. Let alone soufflé in a combination steam oven.
So this Christmas, my relatives had better watch out. With a bit of practice (and a steam oven from Santa), I hope to seriously up my game in the festive food stakes.
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