Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ageing appeal

Now that I'm a little more mature, as too (most) the people I hang out with, we find the same things that used to appeal no longer do. Take the drunken Saturday nights out, for example; these days is more likely to be a nice bottle of wine over dinner - fine dining if we're feeling a bit flush; cheap and cheerful diners otherwise.

And same goes for parties of most sorts - no more binge drinking sessions to throbbing house music, no more cheeky alcohol-induced games and perhaps a little sad to say, no more party pies, fairy bread, red lemonade and lolly bags. Getting older is not all bad though, as I found out at a recent house party (that is, a gathering at home, not a party with aforementioned throbbing house music). We needn't have made everything from scratch - but I guess it's just a sign of our ageing and changing appeals in that we thought it'd be more fun (read: work) that way.

Roast capsicum

Ever since my quick lesson in the kitchens of Selah, I adore roasting my own capsicums. It is time-consuming, more fiddly than opening a jar and not necessarily cheaper; but there's just an utter sense of satisfaction from hearing the juice pop in the naked flame, gently rubbing the charred skin off the capsicum and proffering up your own roasted capsicum antipasto. Better yet, serve it with your own Italian flat bread.

Schiaccata - ready to bake

Translating as "squashed" or "crushed", schiaccata is a yeasted flat bread quite similar to foccacia inmy opinion. One of the simpler bread recipes I've come across, there's just one prove and forming the loaf is as easy as pie. Aside from the nubbly bits, I simply pushed slices of garlic into the dough and sprinkled with sea salt flakes.

Schiaccata - ready to eat

The garlic roasts itself to a dark brown and the bread turns out surprisingly soft though dense, but perfect for antipasti and dips that start the party. This fantstically simple recipe is bound to become a favourite, as the potential for toppings and flavours ranges all over - from savoury cheese, herbs and vegetables to sweet fruits and spicings.

Sausage rolls of beef, sundried tomato and basil

Sausage rolls have always been a party favourite, and infinitely easier to make than mini pies, I think. So we had tray upon tray of the golden rolls, covered in flakey puff pastry (store bought, admittedly) with a beef mince spiked with chopped sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. It wasn't a flavour combination I had tried before - especially in a sausage roll - but one I highly recommend and would gladly make again.

Yakitori, of sorts

When volume of attendees supasses the number of seats in a place, there's no chance of a sit-down meal - unless we did several sittings. The barbeque is a saving grace when it comes to that sort of situation. We'd collectively spent lots of minutes skewering hundreds of marinated chicken thigh pieces, spring onions, capsicums and other prawn and vergtable skewers for barbequing.

It's kind of funny to think how long it takes to skewer about 10 alternated items onto a bamboo stick, as opposed to the time it takes to eat one. Let me say the numbers are not in the chef's favour.

Honey roasted pork rack

And here's something we prepared earlier - three hours earlier. When you've got beautiful pieces of pork racks as such, you'll fuss over it like an only child. You don't want it over- nor undercooked. You want crackling; you want golden smells emitting from the kitchen; you want people to ask "What's that? Smells great!"; you want people to fight over the cutlets and to feel special when bestowed with a piece of golden, bubbly skin from the crackling fairy.

Birthday pavlova

Is it a birthday without cake? Well, maybe, but it's not a dinner/lunch party if there's no dessert. After a hands-on fruity cocktail session (not excessive) and a lunch dessert, we finally conceded the feasting with a store-bought pavlova - although I'm not sure anyone could stomach much more.

Judging by the leftovers - barely a salad leaf or skewer but bottle upon bottle of drink - everyone's pretty much heading towards the same idea that what used to appeal may not as much anymore. Cheers to new found sources of fun. And being able to hire a cleaner.


chocolatesuze said...

dudeeee that lamb rack looks freaking fantastic! zomg the crackle!

Maria said...

Yes I've also definitely reached the age when a quiet dinner with friends is much more appealing than a big night out! The food looks delicious, I have no doubt you had a great time!

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Great looking party. I like the pork. Was the crackle awesome

Tina said...

Hi suze - lol. *whisper* It's pork... ;)

Hi Maria - Was loads of fun and loads of work - not something I would have considered when younger.

Hi Mark - Awesome was the crackling

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

What a delicious feast of food! :D I agree, I haven't been to a club for SO long-I think I did it all when I was a teenager and went into retirement early :P

Gastronomy Gal said...

I'm also experiencing the same ageing issues . Although I have to say I am an old soul and many of my friends are still partying it up more than ever! the food looks fabulous and much better than new york slice at 2:30 a.m!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

omg that pork rack looks amazing! and I love pavlova. and sausages rolls too :)

Tina said...

Hi Lorraine - Yes, it feels like it's all out of the system now :)

Hi Gastronomy Girl - I still love a late night junk feast now and then... ;)

Hi Helen - A feast of favourites :)


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