May the year of 2010 brings you lots of happiness, prosperity, good health and long life, and great success in your work and study.
Happy new year to all of you!
Last night on new year’s eve saw the last day of 2009 which brings, hopefully, the end of GFS. It is a time to look back the past 12 months and reflect what has been accomplished. And, hopefully make new year resolution for the next 12 months. I used to do that many years ago with a group of friends, while waiting for the stroke of midnight to usher the new year with fireworks. So, what have I accomplished in 2009? Not much in terms of work, except the project I was managing was implemented on time. As for relationship – we are still together. As for happiness – I have not thrown myself over the cliff! So it must be alright. As for wealth – I still need to strike a lotto! Give me the money! So what have I really accomplished? I kept scratching my head to think of something. Well – of course! It is you. All of you. You have been reading my blog. You have been following me. So that is my biggest accomplishment for 2009. My own blog, which started in June 2009. I have also gain new friendships with fellow food bloggers in Tasmania.
Hope all of you had a wonderful, wonderful time last night ushering in the new year.
My partner and I were invited to his boss place for a party. We said yes.
The challenge was Tuesday early this week. I was walking my dog. My dog and I stopped to say hello to our neighbour, Helen and Ted. Helen asked if we were still coming to their NYE’s dinner. I was surprised. I told her I didn’t know. She and Ted said they would love us to join them for NYE’s dinner and like me to cook their freshest produce of abalone and crayfish. How could I resist that? I said yes, forgotten we had already accepted my partner’s boss invitation.
On NYE night, we were prepared to go to two places. First to Helen and Ted’s house – have dinner and drink there. Then, leave about 9pm to my partner’s boss house, 60 km drive into Hobart. But on the night itself, we could only managed one. We started the dinner a bit late at Helen and Ted’s house. It was great fun. The cooking. The judging. And, the drinks. I felt bad that we couldn’t make it to my partner’s boss house. Hope he doesn’t mind, and that they had great fun anyway.
So, back to dinner at Helen and Ted’s place. I was asked to help out with the abalone and crayfish. I looked through my shelf of cookbooks. I am sure all of us have a collection of them, but how often do we use them? And, do we ever use all of them? Let me think. In the last 12 months, I have referred to my cookbooks maybe five times. And, probably use only three books. Incredible, right? So I have stopped buying cookbooks. Have not purchased one for a year now. So, for abalone and crayfish – I have decided to refer to “Kylie Kwong – Heart and Soul” on Page 48 Stir-fried Abalone with Young Ginger and Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, and Page 106 King Prawn and Chili Salad with Soft-Boiled Duck Egg.
If you have read my earlier post – I use my cookbook as a guide and for ideas. I rarely follow the exact measurement. Sometimes the ingredient is not available locally, so I have to be creative and use a substitute and pray that it will work.
That was the first dish I prepared at the NYE’s dinner. The verdict from a panel of 4 female judges and 1 male judge. Superb. Stunning. Fantastic flavour. Not a fan of abalone, but the sauce and the flavour makes the dish so wonderful! Thanks judges! Oh, and thanks to Kylie.
After a stunning first course of fresh abalone, the judges were eagerly anticipating the next course of fresh crayfish.
To prepare this dish, I adapted Kylie Kwong’s recipe on chili salad dressing – green chili, red chili, ginger, garlic, a bit of sea salt, fresh lime and lemon juice and some good extra virgin olive oil. Pound the coarse ingredients together into a paste. Then mix in the juices and oil.
I made two other dressing – just in case some guests were not able to take the spicy dressing. A lemon curry mayonnaise and mustard mayonnaise dressing.
Fresh crayfish with half boiled duck eggs in spicy salad dressing. The verdict from the five judges. Exquisite. Thought the duck egg will be very strong – surprisingly it was not. Blended in nicely with the sauce and crayfish. Very nice indeed. Great idea to have alternative dressing to suit other palate who cannot take the spicy dressing. Mayonnaise was smooth and lemony. Nice.
There were plentiful of crayfish, which was diced up into small bite sizes. Set in a separate bowl with the three dressing as dipping sauce for guests to nibble.
Next which I was waiting with great enthusiasm to have the first taste of Judge Judy’s Trifle. It looks stunning and colourful. I have never had Trifle before! Yes, it came as a shock to everyone at the table. I had the first spoon, which I dipped deeply into the Trifle. There was a huge bowl of freshly picked raspberry from Judge Judy’s garden and a bowl of cream. What great fun! Our verdict to Judge Judy – the Trifle Queen. Just like how my mum makes it – well, almost. Delicious. Love the sponge cake, oozed with Sherry.
We waited for the first stroke of midnight.
Opened a bottle of French champagne. A big toast and wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2010!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010.