(Dear English readers, please scroll down for English translation. )
上星期六晚，Ed的朋友，Dave 和 Leeann邀请我俩到他们家做客。中午午餐时，Ed一再跟我强调不要吃太多，要留下空肚子给晚餐。听他说Leeann可以煮一流的好菜。他等这个晚餐等了很久。
Dave 和 Leeann 是一对结了十六年婚的夫妇。这么多年来，仍婚姻恩爱。在离婚当道的现代社会实算难得。 Ed从中学开始就认识他们了。Dave 及 Leeann 原住在离市中心约四十分钟车程的一栋大房子。几年前，决定不要生育儿女。没了要生育的意愿，就想要好好享受生活。所以变卖了那房子，买了市中心较豪华的公寓来住。夫妇俩人过着逍遥自在的生活。
Leeann 很爱烹饪，加上她是两间酒庄的经理人，对酒非常了解。 她为我们准备了一顿丰富的美食加美酒的一流法国晚餐。通常高级的餐馆，也只是三到四个courses, 和一两瓶酒。那晚，我们共有六个courses, 及喝了四瓶上等的好酒 （不加用来浸泡主菜的那一瓶）。不同的酒配不同的菜，不同的酒用不同的酒杯盛。依Leeann, 有些酒配不同的食物会有不同的味道，酒杯也是。 这对我这个只爱吃马来西亚街边小食的小市民来说可是大开眼界。
记得，以前刚抵澳洲时，对西方食物真的是一窍不通，也不习惯。 我早餐不爱吃谷麦片（cereal)牛奶，午餐不爱吃三文治， 晚餐一定要有饭才可以。有时，和朋友去餐厅吃时，对着那些满桌的餐具不知“从何”用起。当然，不爱也不会学人喝红酒，或吃干酪（cheese)及橄揽。
这几年来，开始习惯及喜欢，不过这还是第一次享用这种高级的法国餐。当晚，我请Leeann 为我一一解释每一道菜。 回家后，我还是要Ed 为我一一写下来，再上网google。 真的是一门太大的学问及艺术了， 我一时吸收 不来。
第一道 : Deviled Eggs (Brittany style)。 白酒chardonny 相配。
水煮好的鸡蛋切成一半，蛋黄与其他配料 如：mayonnaise 及mustard 混在一起， 再放回蛋黄的位置。我们每人各吃了两粒蛋 !
第二道及第三道 ：干酪拼盘 （cheese platter）及前菜（antiplasto)。 Rose wine 相配。(如右图）
干酪拼盘内共有四种不同的干酪。各有不同的味道及年龄, 有 Gauda cheese 等。 前菜有意大利腊肠（salami），三种不同的橄榄，用橄榄油及醋浸过的大红辣椒及朝鲜蓟 （artichoke) 。 还有，Leeann 特别做的面包配料。也不知叫什么， 只知有许多洋葱和花了好几个小时煮。我贪吃，到这里已有点饱了！
我是第一次喝Rose Wine。 我叫它粉红酒，因为是粉红色的。它味道不浓， 还带一点点甜味。我蛮喜欢的。
简单的一道，很多青色疏菜。 特别的是它的番茄 。Leeann 说， 这种叫Heirloom tomatoes 。 跟“有机”有点不同，这种是天然授花粉培种的。因没控制花粉的来源， 所以颜色形状各异， 而且很香甜。我很喜欢。
简单的说，Coq-au-vin 是将鸡浸泡在法国酒中，再与熏肉（lardon)，蘑菇， 蒜头等一起煮几个小时 (烹调法在此）。这种食物真是“只许天上有”。我这种不懂法国餐的人也吃得翘起大拇指。我们吃得好饱，好饱 ！
我却没喝红酒，因酒量不好。Leean跟我们解释，我们喝的Pinor Noir 也叫Burgundy酒。Pinor Noir 是葡萄的名字，Burgundy是法国一个著名的法国酒出产地，Pinor Noir 是Burgundy这地区的专长。
第六道 ：甜点, Ice Wine相配。
甜点有Far breton蛋糕 [一种用prune （一种枣类） 及 custard(蛋和牛奶的混和物）做的蛋糕， 烹调法在此]，mousse (一种多泡沫含奶油的甜点）及雪糕。Ice Wine 是加拿大的特产。制酒的葡萄要等到冰结，在零下十度收割才可制成Ice Wine。 通常，一瓶至少也要加币七十多元！味道很甜。我很爱甜的东西，吃得不亦乐乎。
Ed问，不知我家人会喜欢Ice Wine吗，我可以带一瓶回家当手信。我听了摇头，这么贵的酒，一是他们不舍得喝（以前买了较好的都不舍得喝），二是他们会加冰（喝洋酒是不加冰的），再配中国餐随便一起喝。我当然想给他们加拿大特产，不过是怕浪费了一瓶马币至少200元以上的好酒 ！他们也会认为不需花这种钱。
我们共用了六小时才把这六道菜吃完 ！ 间中，坐在舒服的沙发上，海阔天空地聊。 我好奇把Leeann的烹饪书翻来看。 还以为会有很多彩图，哪知都是文字详细解释法国餐特别的烹饪技术。我吓了一跳，知道我一定看不懂，不好意思地把书放下。果然是认真的大厨师！ Leeann 告诉我们，为了这餐，她共用了两磅的牛油及三瓶的橄榄油 ！
Last Saturday evening, Ed’s friends Dave and Leeann invited us to their downtown condo for dinner, a dinner I had heard about many times from Ed. He warned me not to eat too much during lunch to save our appetite for THE dinner later that evening. I have heard from Ed about how brilliant Leeann is as a cook, with many courses each with different wine accompaniment. He had been waiting for this dinner for a long time！
Dave and Leeann is a couple who has been happily married for about 16 years. Ed knew them since high school. They used to live in a big house in Brampton, a Toronto suburb about 30 minutes drive from Toronto. A few years ago, they decided not to have children. In turn they decided to fully enjoy life unencumbered by nappies and soccer practice. They sold the house and moved into a comfortable and luxurious condo in downtown Toronto.
Leeann loves cooking. She is also a manager of two wine stores. She has tremendous knowledge on wines. That night, she had prepared a six-course fine French cuisine for us. We had had total of four bottles of wine ( not including another bottle used to marinate the main dish). Leeann is very specific on wine. Each kind of wine goes with different types of food, and each has its own type of wine glasses. According to Leeann, the wines taste differently with certain food, as well as the type of wine glasses you used. For someone like me who only knows and likes Malaysia street food, this was an absolute eye-opening experience for me.
I recalled those days when I first arrived in Australia, I was not used to the western style food, for example, the cereal with milk for breakfast; sandwiches for lunch and potatoes for dinner. I was used to having rice at dinner, and had to have warm food such as rice or noodles for breakfast and lunch. When I went to better restaurant, I would look at all the different knifes and forks on the table and wondered “where to start and which for what”. Of course, at that time I also did not know anything about wine and cheese or all the different olives. Since then I’ve tried much more different kinds of Western cusine and quite enjoy most, if not all.
It was with great excitement that this was still my very first time trying French cuisine. I asked Leeann to explain each course to me during the dinner. However, I still could not grasped the amazing art and knowledge in such short time. I had to get Ed to write down all the names of each course and googled them later !
Let me share with you what we ate and what I have learnt about French cuisine :-
First course : the Deviled Eggs (Brittany style) and goes with a white wine, in this case a Chardonnay from the Burgundy region to compliment the origin of the dinner. This is a boiled egg sliced in half, stuffed with a mixture of its egg yolk and mayonnaise, mustard, pepper etc. We each ate two whole eggs !!
Second and third course : Cheese platter and antipasto (see picture at right). This was served with a rose wine . There were four different types of cheese served, two hard (eg Gouda cheese) and two soft. Each with distinctly different tastes and ages.
The antipasto consisted of fine French salami; three different kinds of olives; homemade roast artichoke and red pepper. There was a carmelized onion bread spread Leeann made, and it was such divine ! I did not know what it called, I only knew it took many onions and many hours cooking it. I ate so much that I was already a bit full at this stage.
This was my first time to try a rose wine too. I called it pink wine because of its colour. It is quite light with a subtle sweet taste. I quite like it !
Fourth course : Salad. This was a simpler course with lots of greens and heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated cultivar (it is different from organic) of tomatoes, hence their different colours and shapes. They were much sweeter than the normal tomatoes, and I really enjoyed their colourful presence in the bowl of greens! I really liked them.
The Coq-au-vin was a chicken dish that slowly cooked with pancetta, mushroom, pearl onions, herbs and a full bottle of red wine (recipe is here) . It was a heavenly dish, and we ate so much !
Leeann also explained that Pinor Noir also has another name : red Burgundy wine. Pinor Noir is the grape they used to produced this kind of wine, and Burgundy is a region of France that is well-known for this kind of wine.
Sixth course : desserts with ice wine. The desserts of that evening included Far breton (Brittany Prune Cake, recipe is here) , mousse and ice cream. We also had the famous and expensive Canadian ice wine – Vidal . This kind of wine uses grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, and they usually are harvested at, at least 10 Celsius below zero for the best results. Ice wine usually costs about CAD$70per bottle. We were such pampered guests ! I love sweet and ate to my best ability !
Ed asked if my family like Ice wine, if so, I can bring one bottle home for them to try. I shook my head and said, they would either just keep it in the cupboard because it is too expensive ( they still have not drunk some of the wine I bought from Australia), or they would drink it with ice (they sometimes drink red wine with ice) and have it with chinese food. I would love to bring home something special but I worried they would waste this bottle of ice wine that costs at least RM (Riggit Malaysia) 200. They would think is too much money to spend on it too.
We had spent total of nearly six hours to complete the six courses. In between all the eating, we laughed….we talked about just anything in the comfortable sofa. I was curious and interested in Leeann’s cookbook. I opened it to take a look. It was a serious cookbook, there were no colour pictures (which is the only cookbook I would buy, how embarrassing) , only serious French cooking techniques in the book. I was shocked and knew I won’t understand it at all, feeling ashamed and put it back. Leeann also told us, she had used total of two pounds of butter and three bottles of olive oil to make all these courses!!
We had such a good time together. It was rare occasion that we could share such fine food and wine with our dear friends. I wrote this long and detailed post to dedicate to them and thank them for their generosity and friendship. We really appreciate it !