Expert Q&A

My Baroque Banquet

Want to know more about Masterchef AU sidekick and renowned Melbourne chef Shannon Bennett? Back in 2010 he cooked up a classic menu for The Weekly inspired by his culinary experiences in Paris.

"In my guide to Paris, Shannon Bennett’s Paris, I talk at length about dining and shopping in the French capital, using beautiful, just-bought ingredients to cook a meal in a tiny Paris apartment.
While these experiences have been a wonderful reality for me in the past few years, as I now have a growing family, I have been recreating the essence of these times at home, using the abundance of quality ingredients available in Australia, combined with classic French techniques.
I hope you agree, it is the best of both worlds!
Served as an entire dinner party, these dishes are sure to impress.
However, they also stand on their own: the pork is a hearty meal, perfect for a Sunday night; the peas and mashed potatoes served with roasted or steamed fish make an easy mid-week meal; the blinis can be made larger and served as an entrée." - Shannon Bennett.
See Shannon's perfect French dinner party below and click through to our sister site Food To Love for the recipes.
Happy cooking!
TO START
Blinis with smoked salmon
Blinis with smoked salmon
Perfect puffs of pancake topped with crème fraiche and smoked salmon. Yum!
Makes 32. Prep and Cook time 30 minutes plus refrigeration.
Shannon suggests serving Champagne with the Blinis – "try NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne".
Onion soup with beer
Onion soup with beer
Hearty and delicious. This recipe serves 8 and takes 1 hour, 15 minutes to prepare and cook.
"A dry, nutty sherry works beautifully with the Onion Soup," says Shannon – try the NV Romate Amontillado from Spain.
MAIN
Roast pork belly with caramelised apples
Roast pork belly with caramelised apples
To save time, braise the pork the day before, then roast in a hot oven just before serving, says Shannon.
This recipe serves 8 and takes 5 hours and 30 minutes to prepare and cook.
Shannon suggests serving a pinot noir with the Pork Belly, such as 2007 Domaine Robert Arnoux Pinot Fin Bourgogne Rouge.
SIDES
Decadent potato purée and French style peas
Decadent potato purée and French style peas
"Robert Reid, the head chef for British chef Marco Pierre White, showed me this technique," says Shannon.
"Pommes mousseline is the most decadent of purées and the recipe needs great ingredients including the butter. Make sure the potato is of the floury variety."
AFTER DINNER:
Madeleines
Madeleines
"Legend has it that this recipe was developed by a peasant girl named Madeleine who lived outside the castle of Commercy, in a small village in Lorraine," says Shannon.
"The ruler at the time, Stanislaw Leszcynski, was so taken by the cakes, he made them a part of the royal repertoire."
This recipe makes about 32 and takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook.

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