Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

August 4th, 2010

Edible Tapestry Tales, Melbourne

Frankie making saffran pasta.

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.

Tanqueray 10 Gin Elderflower cocktail.

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).

Outside the Australian Tapestry workshop.

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.

Our lovely waitresses Sarah and Briar doing the Mollydooker shake.

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.

Saffran-dyed spaghetti with cauliflower crumbs served with Mollydooker Verdelho. Edible Tapestry Tale: Vegetal and animal dyes were commonly used, including that of murex - a sea snail - which produced a royal purple. Saffron was also used as a fabric dye.

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!

Taking the clothed dashi out of the oven.

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 🙂

Breaking through the clothed Scarlet dashi with Gobelins boulettes.

Clothed Scarlet dashi with Gobelins boulettes served with Mollydooker Maitre d’ Cabernet Sauvignon.

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.

Plating main course.

Flanders beef cheeks with pumpkin gauffres with Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy.

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.

Cheese course: woven fruit leathers with Holy Goat cheese and e.t.t. oatcakes served with Mollydooker Velvet Glove. Edible Tapestry Tale: Weaving is the art of forming a fabric by interlacing at right angles two or more sets of yarn or other material.

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.

Dessert course: Punch card millefeuilles with cryptic kumquats served with Mollydooker Goosebumps. Edible Tapestry Tales: 1. In 1804, French silk weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the mechanical Jacquard Loom to weave complex designs. 2. Jacquard invented a way of automatically controlling the warp by using a punch card, laying the foundation for modern data computation.

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.


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6 thoughts on “Edible Tapestry Tales, Melbourne

  1. Oh how I’d love to be in Australia! When do you come back to Paris??!
    Congratulations girls, all this looks fabulicious

  2. Hi Rachel, I caught the first episode of your BBC show on an Air New Zealand plane trip to NZ. I love your show and your cooking style! Its really made French cuisine (my favourite) seem easier to cook in my own kitchen. So, thank you! Will your cooking shows be released on DVD? I’d love one for myself and as gifts for friends. P.S. Please come to Oz again!

  3. Looks so exquisite, I wish I had known more of your visit to Melbourne, hope you revisit here again soon! Your dishes are very creative and so refreshing to have discovered you!! Merci xx

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