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Sandi's Dinner Party
I don't often do a dinner party for Sandi's birthday, and I'm not sure what prompted me to do one this year, but I decided I would. It ended up a bit of work, but everyone enjoyed it.
I planned, in general terms, to do South-East Asian flavours in a French style...
I gave the task to Nathanael to do the pre-dinner drinks. He decided on (per glass):
- 4 Strawberries
- 4 Lychees
- 1/2 Lime
- 4 ice-cubes
- half a nip each of Cointreau and Vodka
- lemonade to mix
- Combine fruit, ice, Cointreau and vodka in a shaker
- Squash and shake
- Serve with parfait spoon and straw and top with lemonade
Extremely light and very tasty.
Carrot and celery sticks with cashew & parmesan dip and a cucumber & mint raita were also available for nibbling.
Garlic mushrooms with green onions, topped with fried noodles (with paprika)
Prawn and Pumpkin Curry, on rice with lemon broccoli (fresh from the garden)
Caramelised Bananas with ginger almond toffee.
Keren was given the job of coming up with a cake, he decided on a Pear, Raspberry and Ginger cake with a raspberry and white chocolate ganache.
Nathanael and Monica helped with their exceptional waitering skills to ensure that the meals were still warm and well presented when put on the table.
We watched Joe Leahy's Neighbours (last week we'd watched the first of the Highlands Trilogy First Contact as part of my birthday celebrations, and as soon as we can get the tribe together again we'll watch the third part of the trilogy: Black Harvest).
Because I'd never even attempted some of these recipes before I got a few ideas from the internet (handy thing the internet )...
From: My head
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 3-4 whole mushrooms per person
- 8 shallots
- 1 nob of garlic
- 100g butter
- salt to taste
- Cut shallots and mince garlic
- Melt butter in large skillet with salt
- Cook white parts of shallots, garlic and mushrooms until mushrooms are well coated
- Add green parts of shallots
- Cook until mushrooms are cooked but still firm
I served the mushrooms topped with previously prepared deep fried cooked noodles seasoned with paprika.
Prawn and Pumpkin Curry
Adapted From: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/19677/thai+prawn+and+pumpkin+curry
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 large brown onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 500ml light coconut milk
- 1 long red chilli, de-seeded, thinly sliced
- 1.5kg large green king prawns, peeled, de-veined, tails intact
- 200g green beans, trimmed, cut into 4cm lengths
- steamed rice, to serve
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add curry paste. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add pumpkin, fish sauce, coconut milk, half the chilli and 3/4 cup cold water. Simmer for 12 minutes or until pumpkin is just tender and sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add prawns and heat through.
I wanted the curry to age a little so cooked the curry the night before and halted after adding the prawns, and kept the curry in a cold spot (the fridge was full so it went on the veranda with the window open - which is generally colder than the fridge).
I was a little shocked at how hot the curry was (especially as the curry paste said medium), and because we have one or two non-chilli eaters, I took a portion out and washed it in milk, added coconut milk and kept it seperate.
- Add the juice of one lemon.
- Add beans.
- Bring to heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve on rice.
The main curry ended up what I'd call medium with a short but serious bite of chilli at the end.
Cucumber Mint Raita
- 1 large unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded, coarsely grated
- 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon plus pinch of cayenne pepper
- Wrap grated cucumber in kitchen towel and squeeze dry.
- Whisk yogurt, mint, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in medium bowl to blend.
- Add cucumbers and toss to coat.
- Season raita to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Sprinkle raita with pinch of cayenne pepper and serve.
I got such a scare from the curry I decided not to use the cayenne pepper
From: Rosemary Mowbray
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 6 large ripe but firm bananas
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup brandy
- Melt butter and sugar in a large skillet.
- Add banana sliced crossways on an angle.
- simmer a few minutes - don't cook banana.
- Add brandy.
I served the above topped with the Ginger Almond Toffee (broken pieces) with ice-cream topped with an Almond Bread slice. Unfortunately I was in such a rush that I forgot to add the Brandy. Everyone said it didn't need it, but before I realised that I'd forgotten the Brandy I was thinking that it was missing a bit of zing.
Ginger Almond Toffee
Adapted From: http://cookingupastory.com/ginger-almond-toffee
- 115g butter (salted)
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cups candied ginger, diced
- 3/4 cups almonds, toasted and chopped
- Mix first 4 ingredients in a large skillet (cast iron is preferred) and stir constantly over medium high heat to boiling. Boil and stir until mixture turns a toasty brown and bubbles release steam when they “pop”, approximately 10 minutes.
- Keeping the mixture on medium high heat, quickly add ginger and almonds and stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat and pour onto non-stick surface. Use a large spoon to flatten the toffee. Let cool at least 10 minutes.
- After it has cooled, break the toffee, with your hands, into pieces the size you want.
Recipe compliments of Sarah Hart, Alma Chocolate
I spread it as thin as I could on a greased pan. I had heaps left over after desert, though I'm not sure how long it will last
Pear, Raspberry & Ginger Cake
You'll need to ask Keren for the recipe, as I don't have it but it was extremely delicious!
Give Sandy a big hug from all of us!
Working bee? They're the things that Sandi and Briony organise ;)