The Great Truffle Caper (AKA The Power of Twitter)

This is the story of how Twitter saved my marriage. Rewind to 2 weekends ago when we were visiting my sister in Canberra. The Truffle Festival just happened to be on at the same time, and we decided that before we left we simply had to bring a truffle home to Melbourne. We ended up at the Fyshwick market, which is home to the lovely 3 Seeds - a cooking school, store and canteen.

Not only were they holding truffle cooking demonstrations, they also had truffles (amongst other glorious items) for sale. We watched eagerly as the lovely lady there weighed up a nice chunk of truffle for us on her scales, and we decided impulsively (and expensively) to get some extra, so we could try our hand at making truffle butter and truffle salt as well.

3 Seeds in Canberra

Next came the instructions on how to store our precious brown lump – and I have to admit that verbal information retention is not my strong point. I’m better with a leaflet that I can re-read later. So in the end what I actually heard was “wrap the truffle in paper towel and put it in a jar with some eggs, and change the paper towel every day..something, something… white noise…” Clutching our little bag we made a dash for the airport, and I cleverly remembered that I had a truffle in my handbag when we got home, followed the instructions I could remember and that was that.

That evening, elated by our purchase my husband told close friends we were going to cook them a dinner of epic proportions later in the week, with said truffle. So plans were made, eye fillet was procured, along with shallots, and veal stock. The night before the truffle extravaganza was scheduled I decided to take a peek at our little brown friend, and to my horror discovered it was now a very mouldy, furry little friend. Apparently the white noise I had heard at 3 Seeds was ‘and put it in the fridge’. Doh.

My husband to his eternal credit, worked hard at this point not to have a heart attack, but it was clear that the blame rested solely on my shoulders for not refrigerating our precious treasure, and my suggestion that he had been more than welcome to check on my work, and the state of the truffle at any point between purchase and the present, was met with expletives I won’t print here for fear of breaking the internet.

So it began. My remorse was sent into the Twitterverse thus:

The next morning, when we were talking again, I assured my husband “I can fix this, just give me a few hours”.

So I sent a Twitter SOS at 7.54am:

In total, with 2 retweets, my distress call reached over 3042 people in those first few minutes before 8am on Thursday morning.

I boarded my train and within 3 stations, the replied started flooding in…

And then, at 8.11am my salvation came, in the form of the wonderful Sara, of A Table Cooking with this little beauty:

A phone call was made, and then a flurry of texts followed over the course of the morning, to enable the lunchtime hook-up. I traipsed from one end of the CBD to the other, cash and gratitude cupcake in hand, to meet Sara at the appointed time and place. She’d even texted me a photo of my truffle, already nestled in a little gift box, waiting for me.

Sara also assured me that I was not the first person to have neglected their fungus, which made me feel slightly better. With my replacement truffle safely packed away in the fridge at work, it was time to let the Twitterverse know that things had worked out, and thank people for their help. (And a special shout out too here to ‘Truffle Daryl’  at Aureus Park Truffles who also offered assistance)

And of course, now to go home and serve up the promised truffle extravaganza to our guests, who were enormously appreciative, even more so when regaled with the tale of how their dinner came to be, because (to borrow from Caroline Tunnell-Jones of First Growth Communications, another of my lovely Twitter buddies) “FOOD tastes better with a story”. But it didn’t hurt that we had some damn fine wine to go with all this either.

Dinner is served!

And finally here is the recipe, so you can see exactly what we did with the truffle, from Gabriel Gate http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/457/Beef_fillet_with_truffles_and_foie_gras

PS: We didn’t actually use the foie gras

Beef fillet with truffles and foie gras recipe

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes
Salt
1/4 cup milk
40 g butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
10 g truffles
2 pieces of eye fillet, each about 200 g
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp oil
2 tbsp Madeira wine (we used Buller Wine’s award winning Muscat instead – considering how much trouble we’d gone to with the truffle, we decided to go for gold here)
1/4 cup veal stock
Freshly ground black pepper
2 slices of foie gras, each about 20 g

Preparation

Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a small saucepan. Cover with cold, salted water, bring to the boil and cook potatoes until done.

Bring milk to the boil in a medium saucepan.

Drain potatoes and pass them through a mouli over the milk. Combine mashed potato with hot milk and mix in two-thirds of the butter. Put mashed potato aside.

Chop shallots and cut truffles into small strips.

Season eye fillets with salt and cracked pepper.

Heat oil and half the butter in a small pan and cook eye fillets on high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a plate and cover with foil.

Add half the remaining butter to pan. Add shallots and stir for 2 minutes. Add Madeira and bring to the boil. Add stock, return to the boil and boil for 1 minute. Add remaining butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in sliced truffles.

Serve a little hot mashed potato onto 2 plates. Top with steak. Place a slice of foie gras on top of steak, spoon a little sauce over and serve.

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4 thoughts on “The Great Truffle Caper (AKA The Power of Twitter)

  1. Yes, the fridge is best but if it’s in a cool pantry it will keep for a few days. If you’ve had your truffle grow white furry mold, don’t despair. You can scrub it off with water, using a toothbrush. Or use alcohol, a little vodka will preserve it for days. Remember it’s alive but if it’s stopped looking pretty, shave the outside off and use inside. Adding leftover bits to that same bottle of vodka for a few days adds a great truffle hit.

    Storing it in the fridge for a few days in an airtight jar or container with a dozen eggs will mean that you’ll end up with truffle infused eggs (the truffle aroma it goes through the shell) and you’ll still have the truffle for that dinner party.

    • Thanks Fred! I have learnt a whole lot about truffles this week – and discovered a lovely community of truffle-lovers into the bargain. I’m certainly hooked on getting to know them a whole lot better and getting more adventurous with recipes. We are having those eggs this weekend for breakfast, and next week, truffle infused risotto. Might even try a cooking class to really step it up! Thanks for stopping by!

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