Saturday, August 16, 2008

First Housewarming Menu

Shortcake & hubby had the first housewarming dinner with the family! This was the perfect opportunity for Shortcake to show some mettle and make my parents proud of me! We had so much fun planning the menu and shopping for stuff.

So what's on the menu?
  1. Starters: Smoked salmon parcels, blue cheese and walnuts.
  2. Mains: Oven-baked dory with herbs and lemon served with olio angel hair
  3. Desserts: Carrot & walnut cupcakes with cream cheese icing
A little bit more about the gastronomical drama this evening for the culinary-inclined ....

Smoked salmon parcels
I was surfing the net for a simple starter that required little or no cooking at all, these salmon parcels were inspired by Nigella Lawson's 'Salmon Wraps' off her website. My twist was the use of cream cheese, rocket leaves (love rocket!) and lettuce as the filling instead. We served the parcels on a bed of lettuce and added a little blue cheese and walnuts on the side for kicks.

The super-easy-to-make salmon parcels with rocket leaves and cream cheese.

Oven-baked dory
The dory was a no-brainer, really simple to make. Just buy frozen dory off any good supermarket, Cold Storage has a good variety. Thaw and dry the fish, marinate with salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, a variety of herbs and leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When the guest are just about to arrive, lay the fish on foil on a baking pan, add fresh thyme, zucchini and carrots and bake for about 30 mins or until they all look pretty cooked.

The fish combo in the oven ....

I served the fish with the actual baking pan; so much less washing up to do and it keeps warmer longer. Added some sliced lemons for drama too.

Olio angel hair

The pasta was a really easy classic recipe I got off an Italian cook book. All you need are garlic (loads), olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, chili flakes and herbs. I use "Ground Chili" flakes and "Italian Herbs", both from Masterfood. The latter saves me headache on which herbs are for what and you can store them like forever. Sauté everything in olive oil until fragrant, then, stir in cooked angel hair and fold them in until they are nice and even. My only regret; I was too conservative, should have made MORE and daddy suggested to add real dried red Chilies for color and texture. I will definitely try that next time.

Angel hair olio in progress ....

How to serve the angel hair ... plain or with leftover salad leaves and cherry tomatoes. If you have meat eaters in the midst, sprinkle liberal quantities of bacon flakes!

I love cupcakes ... not just eating them and looking at them, but I've always dreamed of making them! These carrot cupcakes especially was something I've been dying to make ever since I tried the same at D'Lish at Mid Valley. Fortunately I found the recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be Domestic Goddess. The recipe was easy to follow despite not being ultra-specific, i.e. she does not tell you how long or how fast you need to mix certain stuff so it's gut feel and your own estimations. The cupcakes turned out to be absolutely superb. I totally forgot to get the cinnamon which I totally regret as that would have spiced it up but it was still super yummilicious in the end. My dad and sister in law loved it so so much they each took one home for breakfast! I was so super honored! Thanks to Nigella!!! :)

Carrot cupcakes fresh from the oven, about to be iced .....

My first batch of cupckaes!!! Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing and walnuts. Sadly, I screwed up the icing a bit, it was too 'watered down' :( *bummers* ... And I would love it if I had marzipan to make little carrots to decorate the icing.

The dinner looked like this ....

The FIRST housewarming dinner!

Overall, we a very healthy feast of baked fish and loads of greens. I'm typically a meat person and would prefer spicy green curry beef anytime but I knew daddy would like the light & easy fish; and I was right. They enjoyed the light dinner and still had room for cupcakes and coffee! Which was so wonderful. And I really outdid myself with cooking and baking all at one go, I never imagined I can do this .... *beaming with pride* ... hehehe :P

It was really wonderful having the parents over for dinner. I miss mum terribly after we moved to the new love-nest. Hubby was wonderful; just showing them around and washing up and cleaning the kitchen after all the fiasco, what on earth would I do without him? Well, overall, we had a lovely time and I can't wait to do it again, next round, I'll be attempting Thai. Sawadeeka :)


Cybermate said...

Looks so delicious le! Can i be invited next time round?

Min said...

wow, byknye food.. and the carrot cuppies looks yummy. with the walnut. :)