dinner party

7:12 PM Sian Mei Yeoh 2 Comments

i had a dinner party all planned out for round three of pfb but unfortunately, i didn't advance through to the third round. but i'd still like to thank those who voted for and supported me throughout the competition and it was good fun even though it was short.

regardless, the dinner party must still go on for my friends! prep-ing started the night before and i started cooking at 11am on the day itself. but there was a lot of playing wii and watching tv involved in between cooking and prep-ing so things might have gone slower than it should have. hehe. but i have to say i am rather proud of myself because i did everything all on my own!

appetizer | bruschetta trio

a bruschetta is a hearty appetizer originated from central italy which consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. a classic bruschetta is usually topped with roasted tomatoes, basil and grated parmesan cheese but i decided to try different toppings instead. i started with toasting the base of the bruschetta - slices of ciabatta which i drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and toasted at 400F for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

bruschetta trio | tomato and olive tapenade

this recipe is from a friend (who used to be my boss). spread a layer of soften cream cheese (just easier to work with), followed by a layer of olive tapenade. actually, olive tapenade is the reason why i started liking olives and it started with this exact appetizer that i had a year ago. i made a slight modification to the recipe by adding a slice of tomato on the top to give it the slight sweetness and freshness.  and if you want to add a bit more color and another layer of flavor, you could also add basil leaf.

bruschetta trio | bruschetta with ricotta and lingonberry.

this bruschetta is inspired by a recipe by giada de laurentiis: bruschetta with ricotta and orange marmalade. a very simple and quick recipe and the change i made is i substituted the orange marmalade with lingonberry jam. i got the lingonberry jam from ikea and thought it might be a good way to incorporate the tart and sweet flavors of the jam with the 'melt-in-your-mouth' texture of ricotta. you can probably use whatever spread you'd like.

bruschetta trio | bruschetta with fontina and greens

another giada de laurentiis' recipe on food network. the first part is to sautee the spinach with some evoo, garlic and crushed red pepper. i think i was went a lil heavy on the crushed red pepper so it was kinda spicy.  i stacked a generous amount of spinach on each slice of ciabatta that i rubbed with fresh garlic after it was cooled for 5 minutes. and then i topped it off with shredded fontina cheese which was then melted in the oven at 400F for another 10 minutes. this bruschetta has some spiciness from the spinach and the slight bitterness of the melted fontina makes this quite a satisfying appetizer.

i loved the splash of colors  when i served them on the bamboo board. so fun! i'd say it's a good start to a meal. :)

entree | coq au vin with fluffy couscous and a side of roasted asparagus

coq au vin means chicken cooked in wine in french. a classic french dish with a lot of steps involved in the process. i've made this once before a year back and thought this would be a hearty and comforting dish for a chilly evening. there are a lot of recipes online but the coq au vin recipe that i've tried and loved is from alton brown.

the cooking process for this dish starts the evening before. it includes rendering the bacon fat, sautee-ing the pearl onions, searing the chicken thighs, cooking the mushroom and then putting the chicken pieces into the dutch oven with the other ingredients to marinade it overnight. the bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms are kept in a separate air-tight container.


after marinading it overnight, the chicken turned a lil purple which is totally normal. the next step is to cook the dish at 325F for about 2.5 hours. the aroma of the dish wafted through the kitchen and it made me really hungry.

the few final steps were to put the chicken aside, strain the sauce to reduce it by a third (30-45 minutes) and then thicken it with some flour and butter and then finally adding all the ingredients to warm it all up before serving on a bed of fluffy couscous.

the coq au vin is rich and hearty with a smoky undertone of the bacon and the occasional sweetness from the pearl onions.  the mushroom soaked up a lot of the flavor from the sauce which made them extra yummy and the chicken was fall off the bone tender. <3

for the side, i decided on roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic reduction. to roast the asparagus, coat the asparagus with evoo and season with salt and pepper on a baking sheet and roast it at 400F for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness.  the balsamic reduction recipe is from sunny anderson and it paired well with the coq au vin. btw did i mention i loveeeeee asparagus?

dessert | mini pavlova with mixed berries

i wanted to make something light but sweet to end the meal with and pavlova came to mind. pavlova is a meringue-based dessert where it has a light, crispy crust encasing a soft, marshmellow-y inside. it took me almost an hour to prep all the ingredients and it takes another 50 minutes to bake in the oven. i had to be really careful and gentle while transferring the cooked pavlova so not to crumble the fragile outer crust.

to make the sauce, i used frozen unsweetened mixed berries and added some sugar and lemon juice and cooked it for about 20 minutes over medium heat. i topped it with slightly sweetened whipped cream that i made. 


the pavlova was a just a tad too sweet so i'd probably reduce the amount of sugar in the meringue by about half a cup. but it was a pretty light dish and the sweetness was slightly evened out by the tartness of the mixed berry sauce.

i was glad that my friends mentioned they enjoyed the meal and i was even happier when i found out that some of them has only had some of these dishes for the first time. :) and they were very sweet to bring me flowers to thank me for the dinner. <3

if you are interested in trying out these dishes, the recipes are as listed :


JM said...

Hi there. Where can I find pearl onions in Kuala Lumpur?


So far i haven't seen/found pearl onions in KL. Perhaps you could substitute with white small shallots (probably has a bit more bite too) but that is also difficult to find. it adds a sweetness to the dish so rough chopped onions might work too.

but try specialty/imported grocery store such as cold storage, B.I.G. and such.

sorry i can't be much help in this case ><