A special dinner revisited

Posted on September 10, 2005 by Aun

S and I got married on 9 September 2001. To celebrate our anniversary this year, we decided to recreate our wedding dinner–for ourselves and for two close friends who weren’t able to attend the wedding. We were married at the Sandalford Winery in Swan Valley, Western Australia. And unlike many other couples that we know, S and I not only got to eat all of our wedding dinner, we also really enjoyed what we ate. As two obsessive foodies, we had insisted on these two things. Firstly, we had set-up a little photo studio in the corner of the room where the dinner was being served. So, instead of moving from table to table to have photographs taken with all of our guests, we invited our guests to pose for photographs whenever they felt like it, throughout the meal. We had left a stack of white boards and markers with the photographer. Our friends were asked to write messages on the boards and pose with them. Secondly, we worked really hard on planning the menu, meeting Sandalford’s incredibly understanding and talented chef several times in the months leading up to the wedding. We planned a menu based on some of our favorite dishes. On the menus placed on each table, we then explained the significance of each dish.

Our first course at the wedding dinner was a squid ink linguini with fresh seafood and snowpeas. The menu description read, “A delightfully light dish Chef Margaret wowed us with on our last visit to Sandalford’s.” For last night’s re-enactment, we tweaked the dish quite a bit, making instead a spaghettini with prawns and petits pois (pictured at the start of the post). The prawns and peas were cooked in a paste made from coriander, curry leaves, garlic, chili, salt, olive oil and prawn oil. The pasta was then tossed with this and served with a bit of freshly grated parmesan.

Our second course at the wedding was confit of Atlantic salmon. Our menu read, “A signature Tetsuya offering that CH sometimes whips up in the kitchen–evidence that he won the girl over with his kitchen prowess.” For last night’s meal, I made a confit of salmon with nameko mushrooms. I marinated the sashimi grade salmon for a day in grapeseed oil infused with coriander, basil, garlic, pepper, and the zest of one orange. The salmon was then cooked for 7 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius. I covered the top of the salmon with a bit of chopped, shiso-flavored hijiki and a small spoonful of ikura. With the salmon, I served wonderfully fresh nameko mushrooms which I had sauteed in French butter.

Next at the wedding was a fillet of beef topped with coriander pesto. S had written on the menu, “The first dish, stolen from Peter Gordon’s Sugar Club, that S cooked for the boy. Thankfully, he survived.” For yesterday’s dinner, we had picked up some gorgeously marbled Australian wagyu striploin. I made the pesto yesterday as well, first crushing the fresh coriander, basil, young garlic, toasted pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan in a ribbed Japanese mortar, and then blending it into a smooth paste. To serve with the wagyu and pesto, I whipped up some yummy mashed potatoes (made with loads of butter).

To finish off the meal, both at the wedding and last night, we had a cheese plate and a cake. The cheese was Pavé d’Affinois served with fresh honeycomb. Our menu read, “CH’s favorite cheese, which quickly became S’s favorite too, after two beautiful meals at a little Thomas Keller-owned bistro in Napa Valley called Bouchon.” The cake was a Strawberry Shortcake, because as S wrote on the menu, “Wedding cake should always be yummy!” With the dinner, we had some Watermelon martinis (I love our juicer), followed by a Curly Flat Chardonnay (1999). While slightly tart, the buttery Chardonnay worked well with the pasta and the salmon. With the beef, we had a bottle of a Valentini Cerasuolo (2002) that I had brought back from my June trip to Venice. I had both read and been told that this wine was Italy’s best Rosé, so I was expecting quite a lot from it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that impressed. Nonetheless, it was a great meal, and I was glad to be able to share it with S again and to introduce it to two good friends who missed it the first time around.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Santos September 11, 2005 at 10:16 pm

    happy anniversary, you crazy kids. may you have many more adventures–culinary and otherwise–in the years to come.

  2. ChubbyCat September 11, 2005 at 11:28 pm

    happy anniversary! what a really romantic gesture to recreate your wedding menu for the occasion.

  3. Sigrid September 12, 2005 at 7:53 am

    Veeeeeerrrry nice!! It’s going to be our first anniversary at the end of this month… but I think I’ll keep the cooking fr the third anniversary, yep, sounds great In the meanwhile I think we’ll celebrate somewhere in the toscan cuntryside :-)))

  4. deborah September 12, 2005 at 8:58 am

    happy anniversary to you and your wife! what a wonderful wedding meal you have decribed – it should be celebrated like this each year no?

  5. Cindy Fredericka September 12, 2005 at 9:29 am

    Happy anniversary to the food gurus!! I think it’s a fabulous idea to set up a photo studio at yr wedding. It’s more fun & spontaneous this way. (Unlike de typical boring 10 course Chinese dinner) Ha! Bet I’d have done de same too wif rgds to writing notes on de signifance of each dish being served to the guests.
    Wonderful & romantic indeed to re-create yr wedding din menu. So sweet.

  6. Chubby Hubby September 12, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    J: Thanks so much. Salmon was delicious too.

    Augustus: That little bit of Oz (the wagyu) was really, really expensive. But boy was it worth it. Cheers.

    Skrat: Thanks. We’d been meaning to recreate the dinner for this couple for a long time. It was great because I hadn’t made any of the dishes in a while; it was great to revisit them.

    Monkey Gland: Thanks mate.

    Slurp: Thanks. I forgot to shoot the cheese actually. And the cake we bought. We didn’t have time to make one, so I didn’t bother to shoot it.

    2-minute: Hiya, nope. The herbs were crushed a little and then placed straight into the oil. Gives the fish a very subtle flavor.

    J: Thanks!

    Joone: Also, thanks!

    Santos: Thanks. We certainly hope our adventures will continue. Now, if only someone would sponsor us on our journeys… heh heh…

    Chubbycat: Thanks. I think S especially liked that she didn’t have to cook any of the dishes, i.e. for once, I did all the work.

    Cenzina: Well, if I could have gotten to the Tuscan countryside, I definitely wouldn’t have made this meal. Have a great trip.

    Saffron: Thanks. It should be, but sometimes you can get too lazy or tired. Our first anniversary meal was had at a fast food dumpling and noodle shop. We had actually booked a romantic restaurant but by dinner time we were too tired from work and decided to cancel our reservations and get a quick bite instead.

    Cindy: Thanks. The notes our friends wrote, which we only saw when the photos came back, were hilarious. I really recommend doing this. It’s also a chance for your friends to get wacky and/or creative.

  7. Chubby Hubby September 12, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    2-Minute: Sorry, realized my answer wasn’t very good. I made a marinade with the oil and the herbs, garlic, pepper and orange zest. The fish sat in this for a day. When cooking, I took the fish out, wiped any herbs or zest sticking to it off, and put in on a tray lined with foil. I brushed a little oil on the fish and then baked this for 7 minutes.

  8. gwenda September 12, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    happy anniversary!

  9. Melissa September 12, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    What an amazing meal! Absolutely stunning. Happy Anniversary, and may you two have many, many more to come (with equally delicious food, of course!).

  10. andrea September 12, 2005 at 9:29 pm

    yes happy anniversary!
    and many more years of love and bliss

  11. Chubby Hubby September 12, 2005 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Gwenda, Melissa and Andrea, THANKS so much for the well wishes.

  12. Dennis She September 13, 2005 at 1:18 am

    Happy Anniversary Aun & Su Lyn. Been a while since we last met at an exhibition opening. How are you? =)

    Pounced upon your blog by way someone else’s documenting his experiences lunching at Harry’s/Venice.

    Keep in touch,
    D.

  13. tara September 13, 2005 at 6:24 am

    The happiest of anniversaries to you both – two wonderful people in the food world! What a memorable rememberance of the day, and a splendid looking meal. Everything looks perfect. All the best to you both in the years to come!

  14. Sydneysider September 13, 2005 at 11:51 am

    Great photos and an amazing menu!
    I’ve been to Sandalford in Margaret River. No wonder so many Singaporeans love Perth!

  15. Anonymous September 14, 2005 at 11:00 am

    Happy Anniversary, all the food looks so yum.
    umami

  16. Julia September 14, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    Happy anniversary, S and Aun! What beautiful way to remember your special day. :)

  17. Chubby Hubby September 14, 2005 at 2:20 pm

    Dennis: Thanks. We should definitely get together sometime soon. Cool blog, by the way.

    Tara: Thanks so much.

    Sydneysider: We love both Sandalford locations and we especially adore Margaret River. Have you visited Cape Grace? Great small winery with amazing wines.

    Umami and Julia: Thanks!

  18. 2-minute Noodle Cook September 14, 2005 at 4:07 pm

    Hey CH, thanks for the instruction on the confit. I made 3 lots of olive infusions out of different Creole herbs and Australian bush tomatoes by lightly frying to release the aromas and colours (yellow, red and green). Over all, the marinate looks orange, and makes the salmon slightly dull, but I suceeded with the cooking using 7 minutes at a temperature of 75 deg C, turning every 2 minutes. Thanks to your tips :), I can now enjoy Tetsuya’s signature dish without first paying Qantas several hundreds of dollars to eat Neil Perry’s designed aircraft food to get to Tetsuya’s in Sydney!

  19. lil September 14, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    hmm… a little late but better than never – happy anniversary!! :)

  20. keiko September 15, 2005 at 12:23 am

    Happy happy anniversary, Aun and S! What a lovely post and stunning meal! I must say this *again* – I just love your gorgeous photos.

  21. Chubby Hubby September 15, 2005 at 2:39 pm

    2-Minute: Glad to hear it’s worked.

    Lil and Keiko: Many thanks.

  22. Mel September 15, 2005 at 5:01 pm

    The dinner looks awesome, and so do the pictures! Your guests were very lucky :)

    Happy anniversary! May you have more love, fun, and great food-filled years ahead of you!

  23. Daffy September 15, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    Happy Anniversary! So what’s on the menu for the next anniversary? *grin* =)

  24. Chin Ru October 7, 2005 at 5:06 pm

    just read this post! how wonderful, even i wish i was at your wedding dinner! i would love to try your salmon recipe. where do you get Nameko mushrooms from? (where do you buy your sashimi grade salmon from?)

  25. Colin August 18, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    Beats the usual 9 course and shark cartilege.. where did the guests put their hong baos? :)f

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