I was asked a few times about what aphrodisiacs Susie and I chose to use for our menu for the show. Instead of answering everyone one at a time I thought it would be a good idea to post the menu and rationale for each.
We started with a welcome cocktail that was made with honey mead and a Spanish cava that was called "Love Potion #9" and was served from an Erlenmeyer flask after having a touch of dry ice added. It was sweet, but what do you expect from a mead-based cocktail? As a non-alcoholic alternative, we prepared. A dilution of lavender honey with sparkling water. It actually tasted very similar to the mead beverage and, of course, we threw in a little dry ice.
Next, we brought in a professional to show us how to shuck oysters and gave all of the guests a chance to try something that they never had before ... Shuck their own oyster!
Up almost immediately after the shucking was a BBQ prepared Asparagus, wrapped Proscuitto di Parme.
We incorporated basil a few times because, not only is it an aphrodisiac, it's one of our favourite flavours to cook with in general. The fourth element of our menu was a gazpacho, made a'la Nathan, which means lots of basil and a little heat with a dollop of sour cream. We served this as a cold shooter to keep it interesting and light.
Aphrodisiac: Avocado, Fig, Arugula, Strawberry
The second use of basil came in the ménage a trois salads that we prepared. All three were served together in a triple service platter. First, a simple arugula dressed with white balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Second, a spinach salad, featuring strawberries, figs, avocado, and dragon eggs for colour dressed with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper. And, finally, we called an audible and prepared a simple Caprese salad after our plans for a Panzanella were thwarted by our own over-proactivity.
The menu was originally designed to be light enough that guests could be inspired by the aphrodisiac theme, but to ensure that there was enough food for hungry guests, we added a grilled pork tenderloin served with a garlic, shallot, reduced chicken stock cream sauce to be served with roasted potatoes as a side to the salads.
Aphrodisiac : Chocolate, Berries
For dessert, we had two courses. First, we made a dessert pizza on the BBQ, featuring Nutella, mascarpone cheese and various berries. The Susie arranged for chocolate cupcakes from Sweet Things to celebrate my birthday.