Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Dinner Party

Jo the new PhD doing flowers in the afternoon:

Jo loves cooking and often comes out to help if I'm having a party. She always does flowers; she's rather more artistically talented than I am.

Here is the Japanese first course:

The platter in the middle has shitake mushrooms at one end, tonkatsu in the middle, and seaweed salad at the other end. The other two platters are identical; they have, from left to right, hamaguri-zushi, smoked salmon nigiri-zushi, seaweed salad, tamagoyaki, inari-zushi, and shitake mushrooms. The hamaguri-zushi has grapefruit fragments instead of salmon roe, which I couldn't find anywhere. Maki suggested either the red slivered ginger or grapefruit instead; I tested both, and the grapefruit was much nicer. The rice was made with umeboshi vinegar and that flavour was too similar to the ginger. There were no leftovers from this course.

Next up was the Malaysian salads and soups course:

From left to right there are four plates each of laksa; fish and herb salad; vegetables in a mild curry sauce; salad with pineapple, cucumber, beans, tomatoes etc. The laksa is not really laksa, as I decided not to put noodles in it. Too fiddly at the last minute, and people needed not to get too full yet!

The Indian course:

Left to right is pea and potato bhaji; beef vindaloo; spinach dhal; pepper chicken; pile of plates hiding the mint raita; butter chicken; coriander chutney (at the back, scrumptious); lamb kofta (in the front); chickpea curry; rice. Lots of leftovers, as planned. I made this course almost entirely from things that freeze well, and I think I now have about two weeks worth of dinners stashed.

On to the Thai desserts:

Left to right: bags of fresh fruit, a la Bangkok street stalls; hot coconut rice pudding with mango slices (yum); peridot crystal balls; golden haired rice. It was amazing how fast the golden haired rice got snapped up - by blokes when I said it wasn't vegetarian!

Various guests insisted on doing a bit of cleaning up, so I let them. By this time all I wanted to do was sit down - I'd been on my feet all day.

After most of the guests left (about midnight I think), the ones who were staying the night had a few quiet drinks. We got to bed about 2.30ish.

Absinthe is evil stuff. Some of us weren't feeling particularly healthy this morning.

Here is the wreckage:

Not too bad at all, considering. The house was back to normal by midday, thanks to Jo who slaved away in the kitchen while I did the clearing away, discarding of rubbish, sorting of recycling, vacuuming, and rearranging of furniture. The men slept.

I'll post recipes in a couple of weeks when I get back from Australia.

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