Tuesday, June 07, 2011

June 4-5, 2011: Haute breakfast

Recently I had a little breakthrough on the facon front, and I've been looking forward to sharing it with friends. The opportunity came when one of them suggested a DIY degustation to celebrate her birthday - each guest signed up to prepare a different course, and we all took it in turns to cater to the group in a sprawling afternoon banquet (which I tweeted as #diydegust).

My facon innovation is to start with these dried beancurd pieces, procured from Minh Phat. They're just the size and shape for replacing chunky-chopped bacon, they're well structured for soaking up salty-smoky-sweet marinade, and they get a little charred and chewy when fried in a modest amount of oil. No, they're not going to fool anyone who still eats bacon, but I reckon they make a damn good carbonara (especially with this sauce, just to bastardise the dish even further).

Inspired by our recent fine dining experience, I took the degustation theme more seriously than the birthday gal intended. I spent many days, on and off, pondering what fanciful dish would best showcase this facon. And I settled on breakfast; a miniature, vegan, gluten-free and garlic-less breakfast. It featured:
  • herb omelette: based on the Vegan Brunch recipe, without the garlic, adding chives and parsley, and then fried pikelet-sized
  • facon pieces: beancurd pieces marinated in my usual tempeh bacon concoction with allergy-friendly subs (soy sauce → tamari, garlic powder → onion powder) for about half an hour, then fried in a little oil until tender and slightly charred
  • hash browns: also thanks to Vegan Brunch, and baked in a muffin tray
  • tomato jam: my colleague's recipe, sans garlic
  • a miserly mimosa: served in a shot glass, with soda water in lieu of expensive vegan-friendly champagne.
It was a bit of effort to plan and prepare, but surprisingly easy to transport, reheat and plate up for a table of ten. The DIY degustation was a raging success all round - every course different, all of them delicious, and not a foam to be found.


    1. I was right about it being the best presentation, and damn tasty.

    2. that's so clever.

      you guys.

    3. I need to look out for these - just bought sheets of dried beancurd and am not sure what to do with it - love all the fascinating foods at min phat - and always love a facon idea - on my to do list

    4. I caught "glimpses" of this on twitter, and it pretty much made my heart cry with longing. And now that I know no one plated foamy-spit? Even more incredible! :D

      (Will be looking for these next time I'm in an Asian grocer's!)

    5. OMG what a brilliant idea - a DIY degustation!

    6. K - I think Craig's edible flowers and your flan were pretty impressive in the presentation stakes too!

      Thanks Lucy. Sometimes I think planning such silliness is the best part. :-)

      Welcome Emma!

      Johanna, I could happily wander those aisles all day! If you're at a loss with those sheets, you could try to improve on my bean curd rolls or try this soup.

      Hannah, I must admit that some home-foam would impress me for the commitment to the project it represented, even if I don't need to eat any more of the stuff. :-)

      Anna, I know! I might never have thought of it myself. It is brilliant.

    7. What a clever idea to use the beancurd pieces! I was just dropping by to read your thoughts on White Lotus - going there tonight. :)

    8. Hey Lauren! Hope you had an awesome time at White Lotus. :-)