FOR me, a great meal is not just about the food. It's about the experience.
It might be a meal you have slaved all day on, served up to friends and seen the enjoyment as they eat it.
It might be a quick bite in a dingy café down an alleyway in Melbourne.
Or it might be fine dining in a restaurant on top of a mountain over looking pristine green hills rolling into the horizon.
Okay so the last one is not your everyday type of food experience but it's one well worth investing in at least a few times in your life.
Fine dining is not just about the food, it's about the overall experience.
I recently got treated to an amazing fine dining experience - one that encompassed everything fine dining should be.
Attentive service, beautifully laid out tables and a spectacular view.
My three course lunch (with matching wines) at The Peak, at Spicers Peak Lodge at Maryvale just near Warwick in Queensland, showed me a different side to dining.
The Peak's head chef Ash Martin is all about technique and attention to detail. The menu changes as often as weekly and depends on what is in season and available in close proximity.
The meals are about as far removed from a rustic one-pot- wonder as you could imagine.
A number of small elements are carefully constructed on a dish - each one as complicated and intricate as the last. The care and attention to detail is unbelievable.
Even for me, someone who loves cooking and could happily slave over the stove all day, it offers up something I could never achieve at home.
I'll probably never attempt any of the complicated dishes Ash serves up, he has given me this recipe for bush wild lemon curd for his version of a deconstructed lemon curd tart.
He and his staff head out once a week and pick bush lemons from trees on the restaurant's property.
Lemon curd tart
Makes about 500ml
4 large free range eggs
1 cup of sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed wild bush lemon juice
1tbs grated lemon peel
½ cup of salted butter diced
Break the eggs into a mixing bowl add the sugar, using a whisk mix the egg and sugar together.
Add the lemon juice and lemon peel. Place a medium sized saucepan half full of water on the stove top.
Place the bowl with the ingredients on top of the simmering water pot
Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture can coat the back of the wooden spoon without sliding off.
Remove the mix from the heat and drop the butter into the mixture one piece at a time mix in until all the butter lumps disappear.
Let the mix completely cool down before you eat it.
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