Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Here's to a happy Gorging!

Merry Christmas to everyone...or rather i hope you all had a merry christmas...i had the good fortune of being in Hong Kong for 4 days to experience a quiet Christmas with some friends and their 2 wonderful daughters...very nice and relaxing...for 4 days all we did was eat. As our friend is an executive chef in a famous Hong Kong hotel so we were treated to self-made foie gras, smoked salmon (less than 4 days old, also smoked by him), juicy boiled ham, succulent roasted pork and i've-died-and-gone-to-heaven prime rib....it was fabulous..i unfortunately didn't get to take any pics of the food but take my word on this it was excellent.

Under the tree this year for me was an ipod nano (in black) which i can see keeping me company while i use my new kitchen center (also a very thoughtful gift) and alot of love and more importantly health two things which are essential in life.
Hope 2006 will be a good year for all concerned!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Punch a creme (my way...)

This is a popular Christmas drink served throughout the caribbean at this time of year (along with sorrel), it is very potent...but absolutely delish...this is the original recipe for Punch a creme (thanks to www.barbados.org)

3 eggs
1 wineglass rum
1/2 tin (175g or 7oz size) evaporated milk
Piece of orange or lime rind
1 tin (325g or 12oz size) condensed milk
1 teaspoon bitters
Method:
Beat eggs well with the rind. Remove rind. Add milk. Stir well. Add rum and bitters and mix thoroughly. Bottle. Chill and shake well before serving. Makes 12-16 servings in liqueur glasses.

This is ordinarilly really nice but as i live in Beijing...you have to be careful with raw eggs so i made my own version of Punch a creme also with a nice kick!
For 2 liters
10 tins Coconut juice (Coconut tree brand)
1 tin condensed milk
1 tin evaporated milk
1/2 bottle white rum (i used bacardi)
nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice to taste
Method: Mix all ingredients and leave at least 36 hours before drinking...serve on the rocks.



Picture of fab punch a creme a la moi to come shortly....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

the joy of baking.....with friends

On december 11th...ladies and gentlemen please mark this date on the calendar we had our first ever joint cookie baking session...at times it was chaotic...but most of the time it was really really fun...thanks to Andrea (vanilla kipferl, gingerbread, cinamon stars) and Eva(chocolate & oat no-bake cookies, vanilla & chocolate spritz cookies and hazel nut cut-outs ) with your wonderful cookie contributions, my contribution (chocolate chocolate chunk cookies, almond cut-outs and 2 days later filled sugar cookies).
We couldnt of done all this baking without the promise of a really lovely Mauritian dinner....prepared by Sophie and Anoushka..wonderful savory crepes (made like they do them in Mauritius) with 3 fillings: a spicy corriander chutney, spinach and mushroom spread and a cooling cucumber raita.
Of course they were the cheerleaders and couch warmers...who made sure everything tasted good....thanks Buddy, Celine, Martin, Andreas, Dominic and the Chef.
We took so many photos so i am trying to post as many as possible for the benefit of all.
chocolate chcolate chunky cookies before heading in the oven..these cookies are wickly sinfully full of choclate...so much that they are actually black lol!

After baking ..really nice cripsy on the edges and soft inside....

Eva's very tasty chocolate oaty cookies before and after

look at the pretty lady in the kitchen...eva and her trusty mixer;)

the fruits of her labours or rather the delicate little nibbles

Andrea and the chef's madam trying to get those little cresents looking as cute as possible

Almond cresents or vanilla kipferl

...yum yum

the shapes of Christmas

the couch potatoes doing what they do best...besides of course tasting the nibbles;)

Cinamon stars...cut out by Sophie

ALmond cookies taking shape...

finally...all done and ready for the tupperware...help yourselves ladies and gents!

These were the filled cookies that didnt have any time to be made on sunday..so i managed to get around to them on Tuesday...and just in time....even though we made all those cookies on sunday by monday i was left with only a dozen....

After the bakers were finished it was time for the mauritian girls to take over....
step one...gather your ingredients

step two..chop, dice and mix....

and of course the batter...made by Sophie..the crepes were absolutely terrific...with the chives...excellent actually;)

it was as good as it looks...mauritian crepes by Sophie and Anoushka

another sunday...another big breakfast

After a very wild saturday night which left some of us feeling like sh#t....and the rest of us wondering how on earth do we coordinate the cookie baking afternoon...we both decided the only thing that could possibly help was a nice sunday breakfast made with all the leftovers in the fridge...so for sunday brunch we (myself and the chef joined by the gorgeous sophie and the tall american Dominic)had...
parley scambled eggs
leftover risotto
crispy bacon
sausages in chilli tomato sauce
toast
fresh tomato slices


notes: for some reason the date is not working and yes i am very bad posting this only on the 14th even though it is from the 11th.....

Monday, December 05, 2005

D DAY!

Saturday December 3rd...was our first official dinner party....we (my darling chef and I) had 20 people over for dinner at our place for most of them it was their first time. I had been busy from the sunday night before making filling and dough for the curry patties and continued to be busy for the rest of the week....lol....
On the menu for saturday as we or rather i decided the theme should be Tropical Barbados...i tried to prepare as many delicious dishes as i could remember that we eat at home....i made quite a few tasty alterations with the help of my darling so our menu that evening:
appetizers
curried tuna and fennel patties
curried beef patties
pumpkin and pinenut spread
spinach and cashew spread
tuna and yogurt dip
celery sticks
fresh baguette

the buffet
rucola, cress and iceberg salad with walnut oil vinegarette
reggae tomato salad (red, yellow and green) with garlic dressing
papaya salsa
sweet potato casserole
black-eye peas with and without smoked pork (thanks sophie)
potato chutney (thanks anoushka)
three mushroom stuffing
turkey and cranberry relish
spicy ribs with a rum rub
pan fried tilapia with a parmesan, basil crust (thanks darling)

dessert
white chocolate cheesecake
dark chocolate cheesecake
rum infused strawberry coulis (thanks darling)


Here is a photojournal of everything including my sometimes stressed preparation.
definitely the perfect cheesecake...baked in a waterbath three days prior to dinner, I made 2, one i glaced with dark chocolate and the other white chocolate the day before....perfect
blanching spinach for the spinach and cashew spread

sweet potato casserole with cheese topping before baking
three mushroom stuffing before baking
tasting and chopping
everyone digging in.....
and loving it!
dont forget the drinks.....from barbados...ginger beer, coconut punch and sorrel
and last but not least dessert......
all in all a good and filling time was had by all;) including the chef's madam.

Friday, December 02, 2005

a quick lunch...

It is almost the end of the year and yes one day more to our first ever dinner party for our 20 or so friends....i had to use up some of the left overs in the fridge to clear some room for the ribs and the turkey for marinating purposes...i usually do this by putting whatever together for lunch...so today i had pastrami sandwiches (leftover from the cold platter Mr. Chef had yesterday), two types of sandwiches but both on whole wheat bagels so kindly given to me by Sophie (two weeks ago...i know i know..two weeks is a long time...but not long enough for a bagel to go off he he).
Pastrami and Apple and Pastrami and Gruyere
Instead of butter, I used a good gluck of olive oil on the bagels and 4 hours later at lunchtime, both sandwiches were great.