In the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been involved in food and recipe development, one of my biggest influences and inspirations has been British chef; Heston Blumenthal. I was lucky enough this time last year to eat at Dinner by Heston in London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Next on my long-standing wish list, is The Fat Duck, which hopefully I’ll be able to experience in person next year when the restaurant opens in Melbourne for 6 months. His noted and famed/mind-blowing approach to Molecular gastronomy aside, I find his general attitude to food and his whole process of making food fun, surprising and a holistic experience for his diners, utterly mesmerising. Being an ex-graphic designer I have always marvelled at the sense of playfulness he instills and his magical 'Willy Wonka' approach to cooking.
I have long been a fan of his Heston Feasts show, as I adore the sense of playfulness and awe he instills in his diners through the food and it’s presentation. It’s a whole wondrous-themed experience as he takes his guests on one, big, fantastic food journey. Therefore when I was asked a few weeks ago by Coles if I would be interested in throwing a dinner party for my friends using Heston’s new range of food for Coles I jumped at the chance as it meant I could have a dinner party for mates and throw an element of mirth and frivolity into the occasion, all the while serving up great food which was supplied to me compliments of Coles.
I was lucky enough also to be invited beforehand to the media launch of Heston for Coles new food range which was held at the Sydney Opera House a few weeks back. Here I got to experience first-hand the full range of food on offer, see Heston himself in action and chatting to the audience, and I got to take home a goodie bag of food to try out myself at home. I don’t normally use my WKA blog as a platform to showcase mass produced food but honestly I was really rather blown away with the standard of this new range of products and thought it would be bit of fun. I tried out the Beef, Onion and Shiraz pies that night for dinner and was super impressed with the outcome. I love a decent pie ever since moving to Australia, and these are some of the best I had eaten, especially for ones you can cook at home. Massively packed full of flavour, rich and super tasty especially when paired with the accompanying Remarkable Tomato Sauce which is thick and textural and moves the usual bog-standard tomato sauce into a gourmet realm. The BBQ sauce is even better.
Therefore with my brief in hand to host a dinner party I thought the only option was to do a good old-fashioned and fun, British style-themed night what with Heston being English himself and given the style of food within the range ~ aka sausages, pies and wonderfully slow cooked meats, as well as burgers, slow-roasted meats and a great range of bottled sauces. I wanted to have a lot of fun with this dinner party and really celebrate full on British-ness in all it's pomp and splendour. Create my own 'Katie's Feast' so-to-speak.
After 2 days of sourcing all things’ British props and decorations, and sprucing up the house (with much help from Romina Panetta ~ a great girl who was an amazing styling help to me in preparation for the night), I invited 9 of my good mates over for dinner 2 Saturdays ago ~ a lot of whom are British (thought it only fitting) and we had a total ball ~ black tie/dickie bows/bow ties and all! It was one of the best dinner parties I have ever thrown. Everyone adored the food and the conversation, much laughter (and wine) flowed. Being used to throwing dinner parties and serving up quite lavish food, I was thrilled with the outcome of the food on the menu and made a pleasant change from me cooking up my own recipes. I also felt confident, having eaten the food already, that it would stand up to the plate (no pun intended) and my guests would not leave hungry.
My good friend Andy Arnfield from the Gourmet Grocer was an amazing hand to me in the kitchen, he’s an incredible cook himself and manically passionate about food, so no better person to have to help at such events. He’s like a little whirlwind in the kitchen ergo between the two of us we cooked up all the items ~ all of which go on the oven at the same temp and for the same time ~ a brilliant advantage when cooking pre-prepared food for a dinner party for 10 ~ which are, less face it normally pretty stressful events. I found cooking the pies, ribs and pork a total doddle due to all the equal cooking time and temps which were generally 180˚C for 25 mins so everything cooked pretty quickly. I decided to pair the range with some of my own super creamy mashed potato and minted peas as well as roasted carrots and the broccoli recipe which is featured on the Heston for Coles website.
The sausages, pies and ribs were the biggest hit of the night. Being Irish, something I really miss from home ~ like most Irish and English expats will attest... are decent sausages. Back home in that part of the world, sausages have a finer meat texture and thinner casing in comparison a lot of the ones you find in Aus, and Heston’s ones did not disappoint any of the expat guests. They’re the closest thing to the sausages I miss from home and had great texture and flavour. They’d be brilliant on for an Aussie BBQ or equally good for a week night family dinner.
Overall I would highly recommend this new range of foods to anyone looking to present good, high-quality fare at a get-together or as mentioned, a week-night meal or weekend BBQ. It's clear a lot of time, care, experience and research has gone into producing this range of pre-packaged food. One expects a high quality from the likes of Heston and this range does not disappoint. I rarely buy ready-meals myself, but would have no hesitation personally using this selection of products again.
HESTON BRITISH-THEMED DINNER PARTY MENU
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Pimms with Apple and Cucumber Tanqueray Gin and Tonic
Remarkable Beef Burgers Pork and Sage Sausages Beef and Pepperberry Sausages Beef, Onion and Shiraz pies Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pies Potato topped Lamb and Rosemary Pies Slow Cooked Asian Pork Roast with Lemon Myrtle Slow Cooked Beef Pork Ribs with Pepperberries
Spicey Honey and Mustard BBQ Sauce Sweet and Sticky BBQ sauce Remarkable Tomato Sauce
Katie's Creamy Paris Mash Smashed Potatoes Minted Peas Chilli Brocollini Roasted Carrots with Thyme and White Wine
The wall of all things stupendously British and wonderful... and the legend himself
Heston's Remarkable Burger
Slow Cooked Beef Ribs with Pepperberries
Pork and Sage Sausages
A great testimonial from Andy...
I was lucky enough to be invited for dinner at food blog goddess Katie Quinn Davies' house where she was serving a dinner party using Coles new Heston Blumenthal range of products.
I have to say WOW what a fantastic range of premium products and everything was so easy to prepare! And OMG the evening was a real belly buster as we ate our way through everything available in-store! First were the Beef Burgers, which were deliciously moist and meaty smothered in Heston’s Remarkable Tomato Sauce. Katie used Heston’s brioche buns and all the trimmings, now that’s what I call a burger. Next were the sausages, two types one made with beef with an indigenous twist using native Pepperberry and the other my favourite, Pork and Sage. Now originally being born a POM and growing up the UK, I was brought up on pork sausages, I have to say these are the best I have had in Australia, thick, meaty, full of flavour and worthy of being called a British Banger.
Next we attacked the pies; Chicken Leek and Mushroom, Potato Topped Lamb and Rosemary and Beef Onion and Shiraz, all the pies had perfect pastry and were filled with quality tasty ingredients. Then (We were getting really full by now) out came out the Slow Cooked Asian Pork Roast with Lemon Myrtle, the pork was juicy and the sauce was sublime. Finally the favorite of the night the 17 Hour Slow cooked Beef Ribs with Pepperberry the meat just fell from the bone!!! All in all I don’t think I have been as excited about a Supermarket range of food before, I know our fridge will always welcome these products as they are easy to prepare and taste so delicious!! High fives Heston, you’ve done it again
Andy Arnfield ~ The Gourmet Grocer
Andy finally finds the best British bangers this side of the equator in 12 years...
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