Sunday, September 20, 2009
A Fun Sunday Lunch for 15
Woah. I cannot believe we cooked so much. What started as a casual Sunday lunch for a few friends turned into a 2-day cooking extravaganza. Typical. Well, I didn't expect everyone to actually say yes! (But I'm very glad they all did.) Sandra and I planned the menu a week in advance, did the big shop on Saturday arvo, and we cooked all Saturday night and Sunday morning.
A Fun Sunday Lunch for 15
Aubergine, Yoghurt and Saffron Dip (Nigella's Feast)
Pita Bread, Crackers
Chicken Wings with Curry-lime Butter (Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate)
Juicy Beef Skewers with Sour-cream, Chive & Horseradish Dip (Nigella Express)
Spinach, Ricotta and Bulgar Wheat Pie (How to be a Domestic Goddess)
German Potato Salad
Chickpea Salad (Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries)
Let's go through the menu item by item...
Dips and Crackers
Left: Tzatziki. Right: Aubergine, Saffron and Yoghurt Dip
I've made that eggplant dip quite a few times, and find it a delicious and interesting alternative to babaganoush. (Even eggplant-haters like this, so I'm very happy with it). We got a bag of 4 big eggplants for $1 at Vic market. Tzatziki was made with excess ingredients from the other recipes - Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and coriander.
Have made it before, repeatedly, and will make it again. This time we omitted the feta, because the chickpea salad also contains it. I've noticed that trendy young things like this salad a lot. Must be all the antioxidants.
German Potato Salad (Chickpea Salad in background)
The secret ingredient is bacon fat. I used kipfler potatoes this time (only $2.50 a kilo at Vic Market!!!!), which were perfect, as they cooked all the way through without getting the least bit mushy. If budget and time permits, I will use kipflers for all my future potato salads.
Juicy Beef Skewers with Sour Cream and Chives Dipping Sauce
Duncan really liked these skewers, even though I told him they were a Nigella recipe, hehe. You marinate cubes of rump steak overnight (horseradish, port, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, oil, red wine vinegar), then skewer them and grill.
The amazingly delicious dip that went with was super-easy - stir together sour cream, chives, spring onions, horseradish and dijon. Delish! We have a bit of that dipping sauce leftover, and I would LOVE eat it on a baked potato.
The Ultimate Chicken Wings with Curry-Lime Butter
If it's a self-proclaimed "Ultimate" recipe, you know it's gotta be Tyler. You bake chicken wings until crispy, and toss them in a mixture of softened butter, yellow Thai curry paste, lime juice, honey and soy. (Use wingettes unless you want people gnawing at them messily).
Spinach, Ricotta and Bulgur Wheat Pie
We had one confirmed veggo coming, and although he's really easy-going about it, I love any excuse to bake a pie. I was so pleased with it I will be writing a separate post about it this week! Nigella rules.
Everyone who RSVP'd turned up, and even more importantly, came hungry. (This included one of our maybes, Wes, and I was thrilled that he came!)
Midway through the arvo.
The weather was quite nice, so a few of us were able to sit outside (Yay, Winter is over!).
I found it interesting that most people arranged their plate in the same way: beef skewer in the middle, salads on one side, pie and chicken on the other.
You've seen it before: here. This time I couldn't be bothered making my own pastry, so bought 2 packets of Carême brand. It was pretty good, but very very buttery (some might say greasy) and rose way too much, even though I docked the pastry like crazy.
Apparently you can avoid the super-high rising by baking the pastry with a tray on top to weigh it down. It was too late for that, so I split the pastry in half lengthways.
I made the crème pâtissière in the morning. I wanted to assemble the whole thing before my friends arrived so that it would all look pretty and perfect, but ran out of time. Oops. I just whacked it all together when everyone was there and we were hanging around talking. Relaxed! And massive bowls of custard seem to provide a good talking point, I've found. Lots of people just really like custard.
On a side note: it's good not to get too stressed out about making everything perfect, as something (even something small) is bound to go wrong when you're cooking for a group. If you have friends who will judge you, well, you need to find new friends, hehe.
Sandra baked this, using her German mama's recipe, and a sachet of Tortenguss to glaze it. I've made this before, using a Victoria sponge as the base. However, the echt version is a Biskuitteig, i.e. a plain sponge, which is lighter and less buttery than a Vic sponge. It's rather like a softer version of a savoiardi biscuit. Best cake for summer lunches!
Duncan brought these delicious little hazelnut shortbreads, each of which encased a whole hazelnut. I would have eaten them all if I weren't already full of potatoes and chicken. A tiny hint of saltiness in them really enhanced the flavour. They would be great with coffee.
We don't t have too many leftovers (YAY!), mainly thanks to 3 of my friends who have massive appetites (really Rugare, I was impressed!!!), and one friend of mine who was hungover and needed all the bacony carbs he could get. The only foods I grossly misjudged were the beef skewers (not enough), and the eggplant dip (way too much). Note to self: stop doubling the quantity of dip! No-one eats more than a few mouthfuls!
Big thanks to everyone for the wonderful company, and to my bro and Su for doing so much cleaning (and the much-needed mid-morning lattes!). With all these leftovers, I won't need to cook for days, weeeeeeee!
There are still a few dishes left, so off I go! Goodnight everybody.