Last week has been pretty busy and exciting. I was in London (I love London) for a couple of days for a conference for the new job last week. I arrived a day earlier before the conference and I, of course, used the opportunity to eat. I had a Greek feast of grilled octopus, saffron rice, and grilled pork souvlaki with peppers and tomato relish at The Real Greek restaurant in Westfield. I walked around for a little bit and then it was time for dessert. I went to this cafe, Ca’puccino and I had an apricot croissant and espresso with tiramisu cream, and it was the most delicious sweet thing I ever put in my mouth. I’m currently trying to recreate that dessert.
Yesterday I had some friends over for dinner, my usual weekend with friends, and I had Leonard, Carla and Helen over. It seemed like my friends had been around London themselves recently. Helen was in London for her Birthday; and Carla was in London for the fashion week which was exciting. She won a competition from Look magazine and was invited for this VIP treatment, champagne drinking, front-seat fashion show where she mingled around Janice Dickinson, Jimmy Choo, etc. If you’re interested in her stories or just into fashion in general, check out her blog at http://messycarla.blogspot.com
To kick off the evening, we had a cocktail, Moscow Mule, and to make that I combine ginger ale, lime syrup and vodka; add mint leaves and pour over ice in glasses (I use jam jars). Garnish with lime wedges. And In honour of my stylish friend, Carla, I got some limited edition decorative bottled Evian Spring Water designed by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. And she was pleased.
I made my Japanese Cream of Corn soup. I don’t think this soup exists in Japanese culinary but I call this Japanese because I use some ingredients that are originated from Japan. The soup is easy to make and very comforting. I like to make the soup the night before, because I think it tastes better the next day when all the flavours have married and settled. All you need to do is sauté some onions in olive oil and butter until soft. And then add some sweet corn kernels (canned/frozen), miso paste, dashi (Japanese fish stock) and water until covered. Let it come to a boil and then simmer. When the soup has had its time, blend until smooth. The soup then needs to be strained and it's done! At this point I let the soup cool completely, cover and keep in the fridge. Just minutes before dinner, I can reheat the soup, add a little bit of double cream for richness and adjust the seasoning. The final addition to the soup is some finely chopped chives and if available, strips of sweet and salty inari (Japanese fried tofu). Yum!
Next we had Jamie’s perfectly cooked crispy duck with spiced plum chutney. Delish!! I love duck. My friend Helen never had duck before and it is now officially her new food friend. Am I right Helen? And my friend Leonard wished I was a girl, so that he can marry me. Scary thought.
Along with the duck, we had rosemary roasted miniature potatoes, and green salad with Dijon mustard, honey, lemon and olive oil dressing.
We took a little break before continuing to desserts (not very long). The first dessert was strawberry- lemon puddings, a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Dinner at My Place, by Tyler Florence. It’s basically a trifle of slices of strawberries cooked in lemon juice and sugar, vanilla pound cake, and lemony whipped cream; very refreshing.
I promised there will be something chocolate-y to my guests and dessert number two was supposed to be fifteen chocolate tart from ‘the book’. Yesterday, I tried to make pastry for the first time and I failed. I think I worked the pastry too much because when I baked it in the oven, the pastry melted and it looked horrible. I pulled it out the oven, let it cool, and threw it in the bin where it belongs. I was furious... *sigh...
With leftover ingredients from the tart, I made my dark chocolate mousse, “Light as a feather” as Carla described it.
I had a great night and thank you friends. You’re all lovely to feed and we have to set another dates :)
I had a relaxing day today. Merlyn came over for lunch and we had Thai pork fried rice; watched DVD and I made hot chocolate with Baileys. Good times.