Colour Blocking

hf_Seb1Building striking dishes with bold colours

By Sebastien Centner

It’s all about the ingredients…

Mushrooms—these shemeji mushrooms provide the perfect shade of white, with a small shape, interesting texture and a flavour that complements our other ingredients in the dish.

Carrots—the versatile carrot lends a burst of colour to any dish. For a different effect, use a melon-baller to produce orange spheres that can be used in a variety of ways. While somewhat time-consuming, this process will ensure a presentation your guests will be astounded by.

Beets—this root vegetable is often overlooked as a source of sweetness, but its natural sugars make it an easy addition to any dessert. The juice is as vibrant in colour as the outer skin, and can naturally colour lighter ingredients it is mixed with for a beautiful hue of purple in the dessert.


Pasta—standard beige pasta may not bring much excitement to a plate, but this black pasta is far from ordinary and adds a subtle flavour for an additional surprise.

hf_Seb4Sebastien’s suggestions:
• When composing dishes, use contrasting colours, varying textures and unusual presentations to add vibrancy to the plate.
People eat with their eyes first, so make a bold statement with your presentation.
• Use mousses, jellies, foam and powders to introduce texture and shade variants.
• If using more than a single colour, maintain the core colour in accents such as edible orange flowers.
• Maintain the similar accent colour throughout; the gold truffles pair well with the salts and don’t detract from the bold squid-ink pasta.
• Ensure that the ingredients also complement each other in flavour. Onions, asparagus, cauliflower and fish naturally work well together.
• Take time to compose a plate artfully. A simple green salad is elevated from the ordinary by careful placement of each ingredient.

Thanks to Executive Chef Christopher Matthews for the outstanding menu.

Sebastien Centner’s,
Homefront Entertains recipes:

 hf_Colour-blockingCarrot – 4 Ways

Comsomme Ingredients
• About 2 1/3 pounds carrots
• 5 grams gelatin sheets
• Kosher salt

1) Juice enough carrots to yield 17.64 ounces (500 grams) of juice.
2) Bloom the gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water.
3) In a medium saucepan, bring the carrot juice to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl or pan set over ice. Immediately incorporate the softened gelatin.
4) Refrigerate the mixture until chilled, then transfer to the freezer until frozen. When completely frozen, unmold the juice into a cheesecloth-lined strainer.
Set the mixture in the refrigerator and leave to drain slowly through the cheesecloth, 2 to 3 days. When the clear consomme has drained though the cheesecloth, discard the remaining solids.
5) Pour over carrot balls made with melon baller on blanched carrots.

Gelificated Carrots Ingredients
• 6 carrots
• 2 grams agar-agar
• 1/3 cup of water

1) Juice the carrots.
2) Pour the water and agar-agar in a small pan and bring it to a boil.
3) Set aside to chill for no more then 5 minutes.
4) Add the gel with carrot juice ingredients and mix well
5) Place the in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
6) Cut and serve over soup.

Foam Ingredients
• 2 cups carrot juice
• 20 grams lecithin
• 5 grams salt
• 5 grams chardonnay vinegar

1) Add ingredients to a blender and puree to combine.
2) When ready to serve, add to a container and froth with hand blender.
3) Dollop over gelificated carrots and consomme.

Mousse Ingredients
• 1 pound carrots
• 2 tbsp (30 ml.) olive oil
• 2 tbsp (30 ml.) malt vinegar
• 2 tbsp (30 ml.) light miso
• 1/2     tsp (2.5 ml.) dried thyme
• 1– 1/2     c. (about 370 ml.) firm silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
• 2 tbsp (30 ml.) organic cornstarch
• 1/2     c. (120 ml.) chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1) Preheat oven to 325 F.
2) Grease a small loaf pan, line with waxed paper, and grease paper.
3) Cook carrots, covered, in lightly salted water until tender. Drain  and cool.
4) In a food processor, whir the carrots until well pureed. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth.
5) Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
6) Let cool on a rack, refrigerate at least 4 hours.
7) To unmold, loosen edges slightly and turn out onto a platter. Remove waxed paper and slice to serve.

hf_Seb2Squid Ink Pasta with Truffles

• 1 pound squid ink pasta
• 1 head black garlic
• 2 oz Truffle mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons truffle oil
• 1 large minced shallot
• 1 tsp black sesame seeds
• 1 tsp black cumin seeds
• Kosher salt
• Juice of a lemon

1) Bring pot of salted water to boil.
2) In a frying pan, dry toast the black sesame and cumin seeds over medium heat until you can smell them.
3) Add pasta to boiling water.
4) In a food processor, put the peeled cloves from the head of black garlic, a pinch of salt, about 1 tsp of shallot, half the cumin and sesame seeds, and a splash of water. Buzz to combine. Add about a tsp of lemon juice. Add more water as needed to make a sauce with the consistency of cream, only black. Taste for salt and lemon juice and add if needed.
5) Get a large sauté pan hot over medium-high heat add the truffle oil and the shallots and sauté until the shallots just begin to brown.
6) Add the garlic sauce, bring it to a simmer and turn off the heat.
7) When the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce and turn on the heat to medium. Toss to combine.
8) Shave truffle on top of pasta.
9) Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve at once, with the remaining cumin and sesame seeds on top.

hf_sebfall2Berry Panna Cotta

• 3/4    lb blackberries
• 1 1/4    cups well-shaken buttermilk
• 2 3/4    tsp unflavored gelatin
• 1/4    cup water
• 1 1/2     cups heavy cream
• 2/3   cup sugar
• 2 tbsp blackberry syrup

Compote Ingredients
• 1/2     cup water
• 1/2     cup crème de cassis
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 1/2     tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1/2     lb blackberries (about 2 cups)

Panna Cottas Directions
1) Purée blackberries with buttermilk in a blender until very smooth, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids.
2) Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl and let stand 1 minute.
3) While gelatin softens, heat cream and sugar in a saucepan over moderate heat until hot, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
4) Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Stir cream mixture and syrup into blackberry purée, then pour through cleaned sieve into a bowl. Pour mixture into molds and chill, covered, until firm, at least 8 hours.

Compote Directions
1) Boil water, crème de cassis, and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3     cup, 10 to 12 minutes.
2) Stir in lemon juice, then pour syrup over blackberries and gently stir to combine.
3) To serve panna cottas, run a thin knife along edge of molds to loosen if necessary then invert panna cottas onto plates and gently lift off mold. Spoon berries and syrup over and around each panna cotta.

hf_sebfall1Cod with Parmesan Gratin

Cod Ingredients
• 50ml olive oil
• 4 x 180g cod fillet, with the skin left on
• 400g unsalted butter
• A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
• The juice of 2 lemons

1) Drizzle olive oil on to the fish fillets and season.
2) Gently heat a non-stick frying-pan and add the fish, skin down, and cook until the skin starts to colour and turn golden and crisp. Turn up the heat slightly and add the fresh butter, after a couple of minutes, turn the fish over. Cook until the butter begins to brown.
3) Add the chopped parsley and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice to deglaze the pan.

Gratin Ingredients
• 1 clove garlic, halved
• 1 1/4    cups grated Parmesan cheese
• 3/4      tsp salt
• 1/4    tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/4    tsp white pepper
• 7 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
• 1/4    cup butter
• 1 1/2   cups vegetable stock

1) Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
2) Rub sides and bottom of 13- x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish with cut side of garlic; discard garlic.
3) Grease dish; set aside.
4) In small bowl, combine cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
5) Slice potatoes very thinly, arrange one-third in overlapping layers in dish.
6) Dot with one-third of the butter; sprinkle with one-third of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers once.
7) Arrange remaining potatoes over top, pressing lightly.
8) Pour heated stock evenly over potatoes. Dot with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture.
9) Cover with foil; roast in 3 for 1 hour.
10) Uncover and roast until tender, 45 minutes.

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