An interesting meal tonight:
Appetiser: A brie gel piped onto Pringles, topped with a few drops of vanilla infused olive oil and sprinkled with ground coffee. Had with beer.
The coffee added interesting graininess and went very well with the brie; both have a similar after taste.
Starter (above): Asparagus, sautéed in a little butter with a star anise, served with a poached egg, some diced liquorice, and a sprig of Tarragon.
Everything fitted together very well - especially the asparagus and the liquorice.
Main: Chicken tenders fried and wrapped in bacon, served with broccoli, brie and croutons.
Nothing very adventurous here but the flavours all matched brilliantly.
Dessert: Banana poached in a vanilla/citrus syrup, served on a bed of chocolate 'gravel', with a wedge of tomato sauce ice-cream and garnished with crushed Amaretti biscuits.
This was the one I had the most fears about. Not the chocolate (a 50/50 mix of milk and dark, chopped in a food processor until a coarse 'crumb') but the ice-cream. On its own it tasted a bit like cold Thousand Island dressing but, eaten with the banana and chocolate, it fitted in beautifully.
Most of these courses owe their inspiration to the Food Pairing site but the only one that was a direct copy was the Pringles and Brie Gel; the rest were modified. For example, rather than make the Tomato Sauce Ice-cream from scratch, I took a good vanilla ice-cream and stirred tomato sauce through it and then refroze it. The asparagus starter owes its inspiration to a comment in Heston Blumenthal's book (Heston Blumenthal at Home) where he said asparagus and liquorice are a good combination. He was right.