Hello once again beautiful people! This week I’d like to focus on parties as this period is absolutely swamped with celebrations of all kinds like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or just gatherings for no reason at all. I mean, do you really need a reason to party?! Definitely not!
Whenever you hear the word ‘party’, instantly images of food, drink, music, dancing, laughter and fun come flooding in. My favourite is yes you guessed it, FOOD! Long before we started the business, Gerrard and I loved entertaining and although sometimes it was a special occasion (my daughter’s birthday on the image above) in all honesty we never need an excuse or any arm twisting!
Our garden is the best place for entertaining and weather permitting every opportunity to dine outdoors with friends is welcomed with open arms.
A lot of thought went into creating this area as I wanted that ‘Malaysian feel’ and although it may be lacking blue seas and golden sandy beaches, the food makes up for it.
I’m a total party animal (not clubbing!) and entertaining comes naturally. However there are those who would run a mile at the thought of hosting a party and in their defence it can be both time consuming and labour demanding especially if it’s a large number.
Very often the host ends up so exhausted scurrying around ensuring guests are fed and watered that they’re unable to partake fully in all the merriment. At the end of the evening when everyone else falls out the door courtesy of excessive alcohol and full bellies, the host collapses in bed and probably falls asleep even before their head hits the pillow. Hence it comes as no surprise that one of my most sought after services is catering for parties.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called upon to cook for a special occasion and I just love it!!! In fact it fills me with such excitement as if I’m throwing the party myself. From menu planning to the final execution, I strive to carry out the whole process with aplomb.
Generally customers want a selection of starters (finger food), mains, and on the odd occasion dessert although more often than not the celebration cake replaces the need for dessert. So today we’re going to look at starters starting with the most requested which is curry puffs and the popularity of this humble street food still fills me with amazement.
That said, it’s so versatile and the option of vegetable, meat or sardine filling means there’s something for everyone. The ones in Malaysia are usually deep fried but I prefer baking to avoid oily fingers and fat overload. Not that I’m opposed to fat but sometimes there is a limit.
Another firm favourite is chicken, tofu or Quorn satay which is no surprise not least because it’s signature Malaysian but mild enough for adults and children alike, however there is heat present in the peanut sauce for those seeking a bit of a ‘kick’.
Never be deceived by it’s appearance which pretty much looks like just bits of chicken on a stick as the process is quite laborious.
The marinade consists of several ingredients all of which have to be peeled and blended, the chicken cut into bite size pieces, followed by the mind numbingly dumb act of skewering. Seriously after about 10 skewers I feel like losing the will to live! But hey, as long as the customers are happy right? I really do feel for the satay stall holders back home who have to skewer by the hundreds. Yikes!
‘Cucur udang’ or deep fried prawn fritters is another delicious offering and the added ‘oomph’ factor is my homemade chili sauce which is packed with fresh chili, garlic, ginger, and a sweet/sour hint. If you prefer something a little less robust, I recommend bottled ‘Sweet Thai Chili sauce’ which has similar notes and works just as well.
The wonderful thing about Cucur is that it can be enjoyed cold which is perfect if you want an informal gathering with drinks and nibbles. Unlike the deep fried prawn balls in Chinese takeaways and restaurants, these don’t only contain prawns but spring onions, fresh chili, red onion, and turmeric which add another dimension to the eating pleasure. It’s no wonder that I can’t seem to make enough of it.
My baked minced pork or chicken buns is a definite winner at any celebratory table. I would love to say that I created this fabulous little morsel but I have no claim to it whatsoever. The only association is that it was created in my hometown of Seremban.
What started as a tiny little bakery known as ‘Seremban Siu Pao’ is now a thriving business boasting a large factory. This is one of the few things I missed so much when I moved to UK and after several disastrous attempts I managed to replicate it.
Admittedly it will never be an exact match to the real deal but I’m told by my Malaysian customers that it’s as good as the real deal which is the best I can hope for. The pastry is rich, flaky and light with the right amount of sauce oozing out as you sink your teeth in. Yet another pain staking item to make but when they’re all laid out staring back with a beautiful golden sheen, the feeling is so rewarding.
Sadly they disappear a lot quicker than they appear!
Well we’ve come to the end now and as much as I would love to carry on, a mountain of chores await me. So until next week, keep well, keep safe and keep cooking!
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