Oscar Nosh

2010-03-05 14:14

CELEBRITY chef and restaurant mogul Wolfgang Puck has brought in 800 lobsters and a host of other wildly ­expensive treats from the sea for his 1 500 guests to nibble on after all the applauding at the ­Academy Awards.

There will also be a selection of his unusual pizzas and Kobe beef ­burgers from his famous restaurant Spago, as well as salmon cut in the shape of the Oscar. Sherry Yard, one of Puck’s pastry chefs, is handling ­dessert with 2 300 gold-dusted ­Oscars as the centrepiece and a ­selection of cookies to tempt even the most anorexic of starlets, as well as Baked Alaska to tuck into during the sit-down part of the feast.

However, Puck’s starter and main for the Governor’s Ball – a smoked salmon dish and a chicken pie – are simplicity itself and can easily be replicated at home (with modifications).

Puck explains his somewhat ­pedestrian choices, saying: “The Governor’s Ball is a celebration of artistry and achieving your dreams. Our art is on a plate for everyone to savour and enjoy. We cast star-quality ingredients and keep the ­focus on flavour.” One of these ingredients is black truffle (an edible group of fungi which sells for R12 000 a kilogram wholesale), which can easily be replaced with cheaper truffle oil to keep the flavour authentic.

The Academy Awards take place tonight at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. They will be shown live on DStv’s MM1 at 3am tomorrow and will be rebroadcast on M-Net on Monday at 7.30pm.

DRAPE pieces of smoked salmon over hot potato pancakes, finish with dill cream and garnish with caviar if you can stretch your budget that far.

For the pancakes:
500g of potatoes, peeled and grated
2 eggs, beaten
100ml milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
Salt and pepper

Add the eggs, milk and butter to the ­potatoes and mix. Add the dill and season. Fry spoonfuls of the mixture in butter until golden brown on both sides.

For the dill cream:
200ml white wine vinegar
200ml water
Two shallots or one small onion, finely chopped
A small bunch of dill
10 black peppercorns
400ml crème fraiche
Three teaspoons Dijon mustard
Bring the vinegar and water to the boil. Add the shallot and the dill, as well as the crushed peppercorns. When the liquid has reduced, remove from the heat. Remove the shallot and dill from the reduction, return to the heat, stir through the crème fraiche and add the mustard. Bring to the boil and then ­simmer until it is the consistency of ­double cream. Season.

Adapted from Larousse ­Gastronomique


MAKE one big one or make them in ­individual ramekins.

200g smoked bacon rashers
500g boneless chicken, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
200g shitake and oyster mushrooms, chopped
200g puff pastry
1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons water
A generous slug of truffle oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a pie dish or individual ramekins with the ­bacon rashers. Place the chicken pieces on top, season and cover with a layer of onion and parsley, then with the chopped mushrooms. Douse the whole pie or individual pies with truffle oil and top with the remaining bacon rashers. Roll out the pastry then cover the top of the pie with it, leaving spare to tuck around the edges. Brush with egg yolk, prick all over with a fork and bake in the oven for one and a quarter hours, less if you are making individual pies. Leave to stand before serving.

Adapted from The Silver Spoon

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