The trip to Holland or “Hannibal Lecter ate my Dad”.

Windmills

Yes, the Dutch all live in windmills. The one on the right is Stefan’s.

A series of comments a few months ago on Stefan Gourmet’s blog led to the Wife and I packing our bags and traveling to Amsterdam for a long weekend. It was a leap of faith and a step into the unknown.

I have been struggling with this post for a couple of reasons.

Reason number one revolves around the fact that while on the first International Blog Quest, I was not doing the cooking but doing a lot of eating, drinking fine wines and taking photographs of Stefan doing the cooking, not eating a lot and not drinking his fair share of the fine wines. So for me to do a cooking post here would be a little disingenuous to the huge effort, generosity and talent displayed by Stefan.

Reason number two is tied up with a phone call I got from eldest daughter while the Wife and I were watching Stefan prepare yet another gastronomic feast. The conversation went something like this:

Travelling Father: Hi Love, what’s up?

Home bird Daughter: What’s up? What’s up? You and Mom disappear off to a foreign country to meet up with some guy you only know over the internet.

TF: But, it’s Stefan, you know, from Stefan Gourmet…

HD (interrupting): Then you don’t ring to let us know you are OK. I could have seen the headline in the paper “Hannibal Lecter ate my Dad”. Why didn’t you ring? Why did you not ring? It’s so irresponsible of you….

It was like one of my own speeches of yesteryear coming back to haunt me. I did my best to placate her and to assure her that both the Wife and I were having the best possible time. I didn’t think it was the time to get into the detail of the Friday evening meal of Sous Vide Sea Bass served with a Herb Salad followed by Ravioli with ChgoJohn’s stuffing followed by 48 Hour Sous Vide Wagyu Flank Steak with Spinach Tart and Beef Reduction followed by Stefan’s take on Putney Farm’s “Best Brownies Ever” served with a Creme Anglaise. I did not tell her about the wonderful wines that we had. Each carefully selected to be a perfect match for the relevant course.

If she had fretted for one more day before calling, I would have avoided telling her about the Saturday evening menu too. That included Smoked Scallops served on a bed of Red Pepper and Basil followed by a Richard McGary inspired Sous Vide Lobster served on Couscous followed by yet more of the wonderful brownies. And yes, once again, every course perfectly matched with fine wines.

Everybody in Holland wears only wooden shoes. We stoppe in on Saturday to collect a new pair for Stefan.

Everybody in Holland wears only wooden shoes. We stopped in on Saturday to collect a new pair for Stefan.

As I was holding the camera, I will show a small selection of the photos. Be warned, the lobster shots are not for the faint of heart or the fans of Homer Simpson’s Pinchey.

Given that part of the dining was inspired by Richard McGary, the erstwhile king of the ‘pouring shot’ I feel a few such images are appropriate.

Cous Cous

Pouring shot number one. The couscous being added to the clarified butter.

Lobster stock

Stefan extracts the last drop of concentrated lobster stock.

Cous Cous

Pouring shot number three. Highly concentrated lobster stock being added to the couscous.

Peas

Peas be with you, as the priest said to the farmer.

Squeezing a lemon

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Stefan went to the trouble of getting a wild lemon.

Warning for the weak and easily offended. The lobster shots are next!

Believe it or not, this is meant to be one of the most humane ways of dispatching a lobster.

Believe it or not, this is meant to be one of the most humane ways of dispatching a lobster.

Lobster

At least it was the lobster getting it in the neck and not me. I am less sure about daughter’s Hannibal concerns now that I look at the picture.

You will have to pop over to Stefan’s blog to let him show you the amazing culinary art he performed to entertain and sustain us. It was a very special weekend despite the daughterly concerns.

Sous vide lobster served on a bed of cous couse. Now you just have to go see the recipe.

Sous vide lobster served on a bed of couscous. Now you just have to go see the recipe.

Who’s next to house, feed, water and entertain the Wife and myself for our next trip on the International Blog Quest? Whoever it is, you have a hard act to follow. Thank you Stefan.

Footnote: Just in case there is any doubt about who is king of the pouring shot, here’s a small sample from last Saturday’s collection.Pouring

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