So on the first night Frankie was still frantically rolling out the pasta when the first guests arrived. There was a hectic 5 minutes with me being my usual bossy self and getting one of our lovely helpers to deal with the guests. Another to do a speedy clean up.
The cocktails were shaken stirrred and served with the feta filled white macarons to the guests who were starting to arrive. They were allowed to mingle and enjoy the lovely tapestries in the Gallery space while Frankie and I made sure everything was spot on in the dining area (or the main workshop space).
Twenty minutes later both Frankie and I were ready to go. Frankie at this point (I don’t know how she did) had also managed to change, put on her make up and dust off the flour from her face.
The candles were lit, our ‘tapestry’ playlist was on and the wines had been given their Mollydooker shake and time to breathe. We were really fortunate to have the owner of Mollydooker wines (who were our wine sponsors), Sarah Marquis with us on the first night. She was great at explaining to the guests all the delicious wines we served throughout the meal.
Deep breath and we went to introduce ourselves and lead the guests to their seats. We disappeared very quickly into the kitchen after our introduction and got started with plating the next course.
Incan ceviche with vegetal threads served with Mollydooker Verdelho.
Edible Tapestry Tale: In Ancient Peru, tapestry was used similarly to bury the dead, often using alpaca or llama wool.
This was a fairly simple one to plate. The trick was to twist the vegetal threads around the fork and spin it so it looked like the yarn reels found around the tapestry workshop.
Remember the saffron pasta Frankie had so frantically been rolling before hand? Well actually cooking it for 24 was pretty tough too, especially when you only have two gas rings and two pots. The difficult part was getting it dressed, plated for 24 people and out before it got cold.
This was definetly one my favourites to eat though. The saffron pasta was coated in a spiced butter and tossed with cauliflower crumbs, pine nuts, soaked raisins and capers. Just thinking about it, makes my mouth water!
At the same time the next course had to go in the oven. This was the one course which really gave me the most grief. The bowls had to be filled with the scarlet dashi, duck and toulouse sausage boulettes and cannellini beans before being covered with filo pastry. One of the problems was that the filo pastry tore super easily, so in the end I had to cover the soup bowls with four layers to ensure that it wouldn’t crack before it got to the table.
Fitting 24 bowls into the one oven at one time was not possible. So finding a way of keeping the first batch warm while the second bath crisped up took some figuring out. But we found a solution in the end
Edible Tapestry tales:
1. The word tapestry is derived from from tapisser meaning “to cover with heavy fabric”.
2. Paris’ Gobelin Factory was founded in the 15th century as a dye works and later developed the Gobelin weaving technique which is used at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.
Edible Tapestry Tale: By 1500, Flanders, especially Brussels and Bruges, had become the chief places of tapestry production.
Next up was the main course. We had especially bought a waffle machine as I had been obsessed with serving savoury pumpkin gauffre with the slow cooked beef cheeks (see the tale for the reason why). We served the main course with some beautifully coloured (and of course tasting) roasted vegetables and a little zingy pickle.
Second to last and on to the cheese course. We had sourced a goat’s cheese, Holy Goat from the Yarra valley which was a perfect match for our woven fruit leathers and E.T.T. oatcakes. Just a note: making and weaving fruit leathers is one of the most time consuming jobs ever.
A lot of components in our dessert with a puff pastry millefeuille punch card, olive oil sablé, poached spiced kumquats and spiced pastry cream, accompanied with a slightly acidic yoghurt mousse (to balance out the sweetness of the millefeuille) and cashew nut praline dust.
And so we came to the end of the Edible Tapestry Tale which we managed to pull off without any major problems (apart from the electricity blowing on the first night, half way through service). By the third night Frankie and I were pretty at ease and even managed to serve a staff meal during service
I must say we would definetly not have managed it without all the support from our friends who hosted us and preparation work, the staff at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, the State of Design volunteers, Placesettings for helping us with the crockery and kitchen equipment and our lovely waitresses of course!
Photos all by Leo Farrell who did an absolutely fabulous job at photographing the whole event.