Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Party 2007

A rather late post, as we had our usual small get-together session with close friends one week ago. I planned the menu way in advance to make sure that my small kitchen and cooking apparatus could cope with feeding six people! What we had:
  • Garden salad with baby carrots, baby butterhead lettuce, cherry tomatoes and homemade basil vinaigrette. Vinaigrette made by pounding 15g of basil leaves and 1 clove of garlic, add a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice in the ratio of 3 to 1 and stir well. Don't add the lemon juice too much in advance as it turns the basil brown.)
  • Hand-made prawn ravioli with saffron brown butter. The pasta skins were hand-made that day from fresh egg pasta, and the ravioli was then stuffed with minced prawn, grated parmesan cheese, and finely chopped curly parsley. The butter was heated until just turning brown, with a aromatic nutty flavour, and the saffron which had been pre-soaked in water, added to the butter and spooned over the blanched ravioli.
  • Juicy roast chicken. I used Sakura chicken, which is supposed to be sweeter and with fewer injected hormones, and brined it for 6 hours. Brine made based on Thomas Keller's formula: 60 g sea salt to 1 litre of water, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of thyme, 1 bulb of garlic (skins left on and crushed), 1 tablespoon of honey. Chicken was roasted at 250 deg C for 1 hour. This method is supposed to produce very juicy, evenly brown roasted chicken. Indeed, the breast meat (which usually dries up into a tough strip) was amazingly tender and juicy after the roasting although the chicken didn't get that brown... (we managed to get it very evenly brown on an earlier attempt though).
  • Chocolate fudge cake and strawberry rolls. Okay not made by me - this was from Polar the cake shop. Had wanted to make tiramisu, but we got a voucher for a free fudge cake a few days before and had to use it up. Nonetheless, I still got to exercise my creative skills by using Polar's famous sugar rolls, adding homemade strawberry jam on top, garnishing with dried strawberry pieces, and finishing off with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprig of mint!

My balcony herb garden came into good use that day! Most of all, we had a great time with our friends and played Taboo until late that night. Already looking forward to the next year's party, for which I've already committed that I will prepare a Christmas log cake.

N.B. Photos are not ready yet.

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