Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Garden to Plate LUNAR DINNER

I'm quite delighted by idea of the monthly Lunar Dinners at Sydney's Universal restaurant. This month the Lunar Dinner was aligned with the Spring Equinox. That's an important landmark in the gardening year for those who follow biodynamic planting by the phases of the moon. So, it was quite fitting that the September Lunar Dinner was 'From Garden to Plate' with guest chef for the evening Stefano Manfredi.

A highlight of the event was definitely the freshness of the produce, much of which was grown at the restaurant garden of Bells at Killcare. Stefano had earlier described the menu as 'vegetables as the hero without being vegetarian". It was not only low in 'food miles' but seasonal and at optimum same day just picked freshness. We'd been treated with pictures of the produce still growing in the garden, in the lead up to the event. For me, this provided a marvellous extra level of anticipation.

At my table of eight friends, the night, the food, the company were all perfect. None of us could isolate a favourite dish. We loved them all!

Stefano told me that while guesting at such an event is not always easy, this night went as planned and he found working with Christine Mansfield and the Universal team was excellent. My group were delighted because not only was the food sensational but also because Stefano was a most charming host. Stefano, grazie!

For those who didnt get to 'this' event, here's a peek at what you missed:

Stefano Manfredi 22nd September 2009

BaccalĂ  balls

Crostini with vitellone tonnato

Salad from Bells’ garden: broad beans, Italian white radish, baby artichokes, radicchio and mustard cress with pecorino and walnut salsa

Prawn, leek and barley stew

Wild weed raviolini: borage, nettles and cime di rapa with sugo pomodoro

Grilled lamb shoulder “roman style” with cavolo nero gratinato, salsa dragoncello

Panettone pudding with balsamic strawberries

Caffè served with crostoli

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