The dangerous thing about having friends as greedy as you is that food is never far from the topic of conversation.
So even before we had finished swallowing the last mouthfuls of our oyster picnic at Mooney Mooney, hands rubbing our distended and protesting bellies packed solid with oysters, sushi, cous cous, salad, meatballs, quiche, cheese and spinach triangles, grilled octopus, banana cupcakes, donuts AND chocolate cookies, the G-Man says "sooo..... ummm..... what are we doing for dinner tonight guys?"
There are groans, protests and shudders and complaints that plead "stop, no, I can't talk about food right now". It's all lies though. Within ten minutes we've bandied about the names of restaurants until Pig Flyin' pipes up "how about dinner at my place?"
It's a rhetorical question. We all nod with glee.
A few hours later, we're at their place, most of horizontal on the lounge and floor. Whilst I consider myself a fairly good cook, I'm always daunted by the prospect of hosting a dinner party for friends. I can turn leftovers in the fridge into a tasty slap-up meal, but the formality of a dinner causes me no end of hosting concern.
Pig Flyin' has no such worries, and it quickly becomes apparent why. He's a master. A quick trip to the shops and he's cooking up a storm. Our leftover oysters (kept in the esky on the way home) are cooked and then battered into the most delicious morsels of oyster tempura dusted with freshly ground Japanese pepper.
Italian spring vegetable soup
And then there's the soup. I'm not usually a fan of soup but I do enjoy a rustic bowl of homemade soup, filled with chunky vegetables. The Italian spring vegetable soup simmers quietly in the Le Creuset iron pot throughout our dinner preparations and when it's served, it's a sight to behold. Wilted spinach leaves, cubes of potato and florets of broccoli mingle in our bowls of steaming hot ham and vegetable broth. A little dig with the spoon reveals bright yellow gems of supersweet corn and my personal favourite, happy green pillows of broad bean, slippery smooth and very comforting.
It's served with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a mound of freshly shaved parmesan. Pepper is optional. Smiles of satisfaction are guaranteed.
The feast continues with two succulent roast chickens, skins golden and crispy, a platter of blanched asparagus spears, bowls of super smooth garlic-chip mashed potato (hand-pressed through a fine sieve in a tag-team effort that leaves three volunteers exhausted) and a cooling salad of raw zucchini, fetta and fresh mint leaves.
Zucchini, fetta and mint salad
By the end of dinner, we're utterly replete. Could the night get any better?
It does. Pig Flyin' disappears into the kitchen and re-emerges with orange souffles.
We're not worthy. But we're eternally grateful and so very full.
Optional question: What's your fallback dish or menu when guests either loiter or suddenly arrive?
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2010 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Teochew feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Mole poblano and pulled pork tacos (Me)
Stomachs Eleven: Pizza and friends (Miss Rice)
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Stomachs Eleven: Shanghainese banquet (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Wagyu shabu shabu and dessert sushi (Silverlily)
Stomachs Eleven: Stuffed deboned pig's head + nose-to-tail eating (Pig Flyin)
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Stomachs Eleven: Whole suckling pig and Chinese banquet (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Hotpot night (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Crackling roast pork and black sesame cupcakes (me)
Stomachs Eleven: No ordinary steak dinner (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Polish feast (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2009 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Char siu and Hainan chicken (me)
Stomachs Eleven: Amazing impromptu dinner party (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Dumplings and Shanghai soy duck (M&L)
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10/27/2008 01:58:00 pm