Venison Carpaccio, sirloin steak and lamb pie were all on the menu at Wellington’s City Market on Sunday morning. Chef Rex Morgan of Boulcott Street Bistro presented the "Meat your Maker” class in front of 20 eager participants who paid $50 for the one and a half hour cooking demonstration. Slamming the venison flat with both pot and hammer seemed to alleviate Morgan’s frustration of the early morning wake up due to the introduction of daylight saving.
The venison came from Premium Game Meats in Blenheim ( Morgan thinks "the shooter" might have come from near Picton). After stressing how scale is important to food presentation, Morgan married the venison with a red pepper mayonnaise, micro greens, olive oil and parmigiano reggiano.
Next to hit the gleaming Gaggenau bench top was a large slab of beef sirloin.
Looking to Italy for inspiration, Florentine steak was next item on the menu. Marinated with lemon and herbs for three days, the finished steak arrived juicy, flavoursome and with mouth filling texture. The sirloin was supplied by Silver Fern Farms in Hawkes Bay.
Rex Morgan is one of New Zealand’s Beef and Lamb Platinum Ambassadors, and it was appropriate for the next dish to feature New Zealand’s woolly food hero. Watched by the class and numerous unofficial market goers, Morgan combined an Alain Ducasse styled pastry top with a very tasty and colourful lamb, tomato and pea filling.
The pies baked, and guests sipped on the wine of the day, a 2009 Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir from Marlborough while Morgan assembled his knife sharpening kit. Use of oilstone and steel was demonstrated including the useful tip – replace the steel with the bottom of a ceramic bowl if this tool is absent.
The class ended on a poignant note when one of the guests praised Morgan’s recipes for being ideal for one person – her kids had long left home and her husband had passed away recently - soul food indeed.