Thankfully the weather last Saturday held up so we were able to serve my mum’s Beijing hand rolled noodles with cold aubergine and tomato topping. It seemed to go down a treat in the hot weather as did the watermelon and cucumber mocktail served on the night.
As you guys know, we always demonstrate how to make the main dish of the evening and invite our guests to have a go. As techniques go, rolling out dough may seem harmless enough but it was perhaps the most difficult technique we have asked our guests to have a go at.
In short the technique involves initially rolling out the noodle dough so that it’s just large enough to be wrapped around the rolling pin. The rolling pin wrapped in dough is then rolled over itself applying even pressure across the whole pin. The result is that the dough gradually grows wider and thinner with more and layers wrapping around the rolling pin – which you then remove, slice and unravel to reveal long even strips of noodles.
Sounds simple enough but the trick is not to squash the layers wrapped around the rolling pin or else you’ll just get short stubby and not very nice, doughy noodles!
Unfortunately our guests couldn’t quite get a handle of the technique this time around – with one Italian guest exclaiming “this is why we invented pasta machines!” (though I think this is an old Italian technique as well!)
I've never laughed so much doing a demo!
The last word has to go the dessert though. What was sold to me by the boyfriend as a plain Jane chocolate tart turned out to be (... take a deep breath ...) the croustillant au chocolat or the Louis XV chocolate dessert made famous by Alan Ducasse and then by his disciple, Alexis Gauthier.
The dessert consisted of three layers – a hazelnut meringue base, salted caramel with oat praline (added by the boyfriend) and a light chocolate mousse which was all covered in a deep chocolate sauce!
We couldn’t find any gold leaf though despite making trips to 2 different Waitrose stores so the boyfriend topped the ‘tart’ with more crunchy praline. Yes...I know it’s not traditional Beijing but the rice flavoured ice cream had no chance!
Check out the comparision below...
The real deal
Last Saturday's dessert (apologies for the blur, but we had to resize the picture)
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