Wednesday, February 29, 2012

6 Degrees of Preparation: Goat

A friend of mine told me about 6 Degrees of Preparation. I joined the group on Meetup and Facebook and the rest is history. Already I feel like a part of the family. There's no turning back, I'm hooked.

6 Degrees of Preparation is a social experiment. It's an artistic expression. It's a culinary delight. It's a social event, a dining experience, a great night out, an excuse to do three of my favourite things: eat, drink and socialise.

There's been four events since it's inception:
  1. Fennel
  2. Hazelnut
  3. Chilli
  4. Goat
Each event focuses on one key ingredient. I was interstate for chilli (boo) and didn't even know about it at the fennel and hazelnut stages. So I lose my 6 Degrees of Preparation virginity to goat.

It's a three hour cocktail dining experience and the menu includes:
  1. Goat mince bisteeya, brik pastry with cinnamon, corriander and almonds
  2. Goat's cheese and zucchini tart with pear and rocket salad
  3. Goat cutlets crusted in dukkah with cous cous
  4. Preserved fig and sweet onion tart tatin with goat labne and watercress
  5. Slow braised goat shoulder with eggplant and soft polenta
  6. Saffron goats milk panna cotta with stone fruits
Sally tells us the first two were run out of her mother's tin shed at the back of her house, using the small residential kitchen available at the premises. Since their humble beginnings they've moved up in the world, securing a commercial kitchen and space.

I understand what Sally and Utku are trying to do. It's what I've been trying to do yet somehow feel I've failed to in this blog. It's to combine culture and food. They incorporate sustainability, experimentation and inspiration. The concept encompasses what gastronomy is all about.

It's tangible yet fleeting at the same time. It transports you to a different time and place.

It's not about stiff upper lip michelin starness or what the fuck you want to call it. It's about making "it" accessible to the every day person. It's about getting together with your mates or like minded people and enjoying the good things in life.

For me goat takes me to my core, my childhood, where it all began. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Greece and then later a hobby farm where my dad would hunt (and gather) wild goat, goat was a staple food. I've seen the whole lifecycle from inception to birth to growth to death and table. I've herded, nurtured, played with, befriended, sacrificed and fed on goat.

I couldn't wait to see what Sally, Utku and their Chef Evan had come up with!

First course was goat mince bisteeya, brik pastry with cinnamon, corriander and almonds. Delicious in its Moroccan origins, I loved the icing sugar on top which added an unreal dimension to the spices and meat inside, as well as the crispy pastry which incased it all. We were off to a great start!

Second course was goat's cheese and zucchini tart with pear and rocket salad. This was our favourite. Light yet satisfying, a great yet simple combination in flavours. You can't go wrong with goat's cheese!

Third course was goat cutlets crusted in dukkah with cous cous. Goat's meat is by nature very lean, yet this cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy. The dukkah tasty, yet I felt it was not strong enough to give the goat that kick. On second thought, maybe it was meant to be a more subdued flavour? I enjoyed the cutlet alone, it really surprised me.

Fourth course was preserved fig and sweet onion tart tatin with goat labne and watercress. My companion, a hardcore Leb, was all about the labne. She thought the sauce should not have been poured over the labne as it overpowered it. She was right, I could only appreciate the "goatiness" of the labne when I tasted it on its own. Overall though, it was a fucking tasty dish! The tart tatin was soft yet crispy, yummo!

Fifth course was slow braised goat shoulder with eggplant and soft polenta. I realise now the key to awesome polenta is lots of butter. I could taste the butter in the polenta and it was oh-so-comforting. The pureed eggplant surprised and excited me. You have to try that at home kids! So soft, egpplanty clouds of goodness. The goat shoulder was tougher than what I thought it should be for slow cooked, but it reminded me of the Sunday goat roast my mum would make.

Sixth course was saffron goats milk panna cotta with stone fruits. This was my least favourite dish as the "goatiness" of the panna cotta was clearly evident. Flash backs of my mum trying to force feed me fresh goats milk. Rank. Stone fruits good though and in season.

It was a fucking awesome night with delicious food, copious drinks and great company. 6 Degrees of Preparation succeeded in igniting long forgotten goat memories in this groupie anyway.

I can't wait until the next one! Sally and Utku are taking a well deserved break in NZ so we're set to rock again in mid-end April sometime.

Bring it!

1 comment:

  1. YUMMMMM and OMG i love meetup! If it werent for that site i wouldnt have started to make quality connections with people who have a common interest. Keep the blogs coming i love them and love u!!!