Last night I hosted my first successful dinner party. After the essential failure of Mothers Day last year where I didn’t notice that the oven had turned off till much too late some people were suspecting I was incapable of cooking.
Mum had suggested that I host a night for my Sister’s wedding party and I was looking for an excuse to make use of this nice place I’m renting. Hosting more things was the reason for moving in the first place. The wedding party is rather large at 10 including the Bride and Groom, so with hangers on we reached a grand total of 13 people.
Calling on the impressive powers of the Internet (Looking for recipes is the only thing I don’t use Google for these days, using Google is a waste of time, its just going to point you to taste.com.au so why not just go straight there ?) I decided on Spicy Pumpkin Soup for entrée with Cinnamon Spiced Duck for mains. My Sister and the Maid of Honour (a pastry chef) took care of the desserts. I normally wouldn’t choose to make more work for my self by adding courses to a meal but my first idea of a roast (lamb probably) but then I realised my oven would probably struggle to cook a roast for 8 let alone the 13-16 I thought were likely to turn up. Going with a entrée of soup allowed me to choose a smaller main dish that wouldn’t stretch my resources.
I was over catering by aiming for 16 serves of everything, which left me with quite a large amount of pumpkin and potato to cut. Towards the end of cutting the pumpkin I realised it wasn’t all going to fit into the pot so i probably only cut 3.750kg of pumpkin, but all the other quantites were an accurate 4x of the recipe. I did add 2 carrots expecting that a bit of sweetness was a good idea. My Sister apparently could detect the carrot in the soup, although she might have seen it while helping out with the blending.
Tasting the soup just before adding the cream I was disappointed by the spiciness of the soup but then adding the cream really brought the spice to the front nicely. If I was cooking to my taste I would still increase the amount of chilli but probably only doubling, the balance given by the recipe is fantastic.
This was the danger zone, I had only ever had (non-Asian) duck once and never cooked it. The duck I’d eaten on Melbourne’s Shortest Lunch was so fantastic I felt inspired to try, although I did end up going in a rather different direction. (The MSL duck was slow roasted breast on the bone, laid on a bed of potato salad with a mild wasabi sauce on the side. BEAUTIFUL!) Surfing taste.com.au it took me a while to find a recipe that I liked the look of. Choosing to use a user recipe that hadn’t been rated felt risky but it was very simple and looked like it should work. I did end up significantly over cooking the duck, but because they were tightly packed on the baking tray they didn’t dry out. they were definitely well done when medium to medium/well done is desired.
The duck was served with a dollop of mashed potato and 2 peeled sections of grapefruit. While not everyone loved the grapefruit I think it worked very well with the dish.
Everyone loved it.
A great night was had by all, which is what I’m going to point to for ever as the reason my sisters wedding & marriage will be successful :)
PS: The cakes were good too.