This post has been a long time coming and I am slightly ashamed not to have had any time to put up more posts recently but happily I have been extremely busy in the last few months and hope to put up a number of events I have been doing in the next few weeks.
I felt slightly mad agreeing to do this event for a 60th birthday party in Oxfordshire. I am not particularly trained in Chinese food but one of my first kitchen jobs was in a Thai restaurant attached to a lovely pub in my home town so the menu became more of a mixed Asian menu with flavours from Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam. It felt a little touch and go for a while during the last few minutes of prep but once at the venue it all went so amazingly well and I managed to surprise myself with how much stir fry you can do for 135 people on a small Aga.
I had some amazing help for this event. My mother Anthea; who tirelessly rolled a pile of never ending summer rolls; my father the Kitchen Angel - also known as Plongeur - who spent 3 hours finely shredding spring onions to make a delicate curly garnish and the wonderful Steph, my second in command!
Serving help came in the form of three beautiful sisters, Elsie, Anna and Meg.
This is what we served:
|Meg with Thai Pork Balls|
|Chicken Satay Skewers|
|Teriaki Baked Salmon|
|Slow Braised Chinese Pork Belly|
|Sweet & Sour Aubergine and Mixed Peppers|
(Shame about that speck of spinach but it was the only photo I had of this dish and it was removed before serving!)
|Passion Fruit Pavlovas with Fresh Mint|
|Coconut Custard Squares with fresh redcurrants from the hosts own garden. (Recipe adapted by Billo to great success!)|
|Lime & Lychee Skewers with Stem Ginger Dip|
|The Beautiful Stephanie Preparing the custard squares.|
This was a recipe I made up when the host suggested she might like some lychee for dessert. It is such a fresh and tasty thing to have after a large meal and really went down very well. To make it all you need is:
1 tinned lychee
1 Jar Stem Ginger
Drain the lychee and reserve the juice. To marinate the lychee pour over the syrup from the stem ginger, grate over the whole lime zest and add half the lime juice. Allow to rest for half an hour. Meanwhile put the reserved lychee juice into a sauce pan and simmer over a low heat until it has reduced by two thirds and you are left with a darker, thicker lychee syrup. Finely dice 3-4 chunks of stem ginger and add to the lychee syrup to make your dipping sauce. Skewer the lychee and serve.
Introducing Jack Chaddock of Marc Fine Wines:
Jack is my brother-in-law and has been working in the wine trade for a number of years. I often work with him and his knowledge of which wines to put with the food I serve has always been invaluable. He made some excellent suggestions for this meal..... Over to you Jack.
Thanks Rose. Apologies, late for the party as ever. When we have the combination of quite delicate ingredients and chilli spice, the first thing I would look for is a little sweetness in a wine. I don't mean a desert wine, and I know that to many people sweet wines are still somewhat of a mystery, but believe me the combination of a nicely chilled, aromatic white that is a little off dry and the chilli dip with the summer rolls will be fantastic. Sugar and spice is one of the worlds great combinations, most notably as the main ingredients for girls.
The key to an enjoyable sweet wine is acidity; to balance the sugar and prevent the wine from being cloying. This acidity is another component of matching wine to these dishes. It will cut through the fat in the Pork Belly, lightening the richness of a slow cooked dish. Equally it will combine with the dark sticky flavours of the Teriaki and emphasise the Baked Salmon. Pinots Blanc and Gris make excellent asian food matchers, as do Riesling and Gewurztraminer. These are grapes very much associated with Alsace in France but good examples are now being made world wide. Viognier too would work well.
What about Reds? Less easy, the tannin in reds can be a less happy match, and their dark fruit flavours can swamp the delicate spices Rose spends so long preparing. Tragedy. Having said that I am a believer in Nebbiolo from Northern Italy as an acompaniment to asian food, but many would disagree. But they didn't marry Rose's sister, so they aint on this blog. So there.