The platters that matter…October 13, 2009
My absence here over the past week has, till now, been almost entirely food-related. Well, celebration-related anyway – and in my family that means food. My sister’s 40th birthday on the weekend involved a bunch of us staying in houses on the coast just south of Sydney, and a few others popping down for the day. The main event was a birthday lunch for 25.
All our old family favourites (both human and culinary!) came to the table – a table groaning with platters of lovely food, it must be said, and as the last stayer at the coastal house I am the beneficiary of my sister’s generosity, still chomping my way through the leftovers.
Sadly I was too busy on the day to take pictures, which is a shame cos it looked beautiful. But nevertheless thought I’d share the menu with you here in case you ever need some stalwart standouts to cook for a crowd – everything on this menu is low-stress, almost all of it can be made ahead of time, every dish can be served warm or at room temperature, the platters set down a long table create an impression of great, colourful generosity and luscious diversity, and with a couple of vegetarians and one coeliac among our guests, this menu makes everyone happy. I’ll gradually add these recipes to the blog down the track – right now I’m still in culinary recovery – but let me know if any strike you as desperately urgent to have now.
- Oysters – of course! – freshly shucked, with a squeeze of lemon
- Rare rump of roast beef, according to Stephanie Alexander’s instructions
- Poached whole salmon (with a horseradish cream for both this and the beef)
- Zaatar chicken – from the fab Ottolenghi lads
- Green beans braised in olive oil, garlic, tomato & dill
- Roast carrot salad with mint & balsamic
- Citrus couscous salad
- Fennel, feta, tarragon & pomegranate salad – another Ottolenghi fave
- Chickpea, roasted red pepper & marinated feta salad (all from jars & cans, but it looks and tastes fab)
- Lentil, sundried tomato, parsley and Balsamic salad (ditto)
- Crisp roast potatoes with minted creme fraiche dressing
- Dessert, made by sweeter cooks than me, was an incredibly good chocolate and coffee birthday cake (Alice, we’ll have the recipe for that, please?) and the Manna from Heaven chocolate crunch made by Miss Jane; this is a lusciously dastardly version of the old fave hedgehog cake, updated into an utterly irresistible death-by-chocolate experience.
Lunch went on for hours, the birthday girl looked a million bucks, the speeches were lovely, the wine flowed and the love goes on. Thanks Lou and J&B for a great weekend.
And thanks for the leftovers…