Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I never really had to cook for many people - it was usually for about 3-4 people (my family or a few of my friends), so cooking in big batches is typically not done by me. The large cake and dessert orders are excepted of course. 

But one day my mom was blessed with so much business she had to hand over her apron to me (where in fact, I have my own apron which mommy made me) so I could make the dinner for that day. We were expecting 10 people in total, so I had to start cooking around 1630 to get ready to eat around 1830!

Flan is best served cold

The night before this feast, I made creme caramel, or flan, or custard pudding as Cooking with Dog calls it. I used CWD's recipe, but cut down the sugar in the custard to half because I like the custard to be less sweet since the caramel will be quite sweet. 

Our large scale dinners are more than often served buffet-style. So we will have our salads, hor d'oeuvres, mains, and sides all on one (or two) tables so everyone can help themselves:

I like sweet potato with savoury dishes (like curry), and any kind of meat

The first thing I started on was the beef ribs and sweet potato stew. In a large pot (because there was a lot of beef rib!), I put in the ribs, a large cans of chunked tomato and I skipped the salt for now because the canned tomato is already quite heavily salted! Then keep it simmering on low-medium after it boils, for 1.5 hours. You want to taste it along the way, adding some more sugar or salt as you like. 

When the meat is soft and falls of the bone, transfer just the meat (leaving the sauce in the pot) into your serving dish. Add your chunky cubes sweet potato and simmer until it is cooked thoroughly. When it's time to serve, add your meat into the pot again, heat it thoroughly, plate it, and serve with a big garnish of roughly chopped parsley. 

The chicken and potatoes were topped with a dose of sweet oyster sauce at the last minute

While the beef ribs are simmering, I baked chicken legs (drumsticks and thigh) which were marinated in soy sauce and sugar the night before, atop a bed of cubed potato. 30 minutes into baking at 400 F, I gave them a nice dousing of the juices that collect on the bottom of the pan and kept them baking until thoroughly cooked through.

Parsley should be added at the very last moment, and chopped only once!

After the chicken, I started with a vegetable gratin, consisting of sliced carrot, mushroom, and broccoli. After giving the broccoli a very quick blanch, I layered it onto a oven-safe baking dish with the carrot and mushroom. I poured cream of mushroom over top, sprinkled on some grated cheddar then popped it in the  still hot oven to bake until it becomes bubbly.

For the pasta, I used farfalle because I like how it's so easy to spoon up when serving a buffet-style dinner. I minced three-four cloves of garlic and cooked it in olive oil and butter until golden. To that was sliced asparagus and dried basil and oregano, which was sauteed until it looked it it was grilled, and lastly, the chopped tomato - oh yes, and lots of cracked black pepper. It was still a bit tangy from the fresh tomato, so I put in more butter which did wonders to the sauce. I kept the sauce warm until serving time, when I tossed the al-dente farfalle with the still warm sauce, then put in a large dish.

We also cut bell peppers and celery into sticks to dip in a creamy dressing

When you're making a meal for so many, foods that take little time to make are the best! So I bought mini frozen quiches which have two different flavours, popped them into the oven 30 minutes before my guests are due, and voila: hor d'oeuvres done.

I love salad

Lastly, I toasted sliced garlic bread, and prepared the salad. The salad that night was made of a bed of romaine topped with juicy cut tomatoes, honey roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, and toasted sesame seeds. I combined olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, freshly cracked black pepper, dried basil and oregano, and tossed it with the salad when serving.

Happy eating everyone!



Here's the cake I made for my little friend's 4th birthday. It was everything she liked: pink and strawberries. It was also everything I liked: pink and strawberries. I had the most amazing time while making this pink batter. I was happy and all grins before it was even baked!

What does your dream birthday cake look like?

It will be mother's day and my birthday soon because my birthday this year lands on mother's day - just like when I was born *yay* 

Now excuse me as I go Google some mother's day brunch ideas.

What are you making for your mom on mother's day?