Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Su's Dinner

I learn so much from Su about entertaining guests at home. She not only cooks in quality and quantity, she serves her food with her best china and cutlery. Wine is in crystal glasses, coffee in fancy English bone porcelain and tea in the prettiest ceramic cups. Fresh flowers here and there, soft music and a comfy atmosphere among the guests make her dinner parties a real treat and joy to attend.

Tonight we celebrated her hub's birthday, and that of E. I was told to bake a cake, and I decided to make one each for the birthday boys. When I arrived, the dining table was overflowing with food. Including my tied pork leg, there were 13 dishes and 1 soup, which means you only need to eat one spoon of each dish and there'll be 13 spoonfuls of food (plus a bowl of peanut-chicken feet soup) in your stomach. After dinner, we moved on to the living room and had coffee, tea, the best chocolates (I forgot to check what it was but Hub was eating more than he usually did), CNY sticky cake sandwiched between taro slices and fried in a light batter (totally yummy) and my cakes, a green tea cake and a chocolate cake. And an assortment of fresh sliced fruits, which I passed because I felt my eyes were popping out.

I swear that this will be the last pig out for the next couple of months. Last Sat, my niece flew in with her family from Guangzhou and I had a barbie with my siblings and their families, the next day a no-holds-bar steamboat, and the next I had Louis, his wife Jas and two friends over for dinner to thank him for having Yi as his intern the last couple of months. Three big dins consecutively. I am so full of food, I don't think I'll be cooking anything but soups for the next few days. Until this Sunday, that is, when there will be another big reunion feast to celebrate the 15th day of CNY. No, make that two reunion feasts, one at MIL's on Sat and another at Mom's on Sunday. Oh. My. Goodness.

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The buffet-like dishes of curry beef, cut white chicken (home-reared by Su's mom, so good I doggy-bagged the leftover), sweet & sour pork leg, soy sauce cinnamon chicken, koe rou (made by Su's mom, I could smell it from the gate), steamed pork mince and salted fish (my fav dish tonight, salted fish made by Su's incredibly capable 80+ year-old mom), fried long beans, fried Sabah veg with egg, fried kale, Thai-style grouper, mixed stir-fry of mushrooms, bamboo and waterchestnuts and my tied pork leg with Sichuan-style sauce. This is without doubt food overload--this amount was for 13 adults and 3 kids. Everything was yummy and there's so much you don't know what to focus on.

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Wine in crystal glasses, fine chocs with coffee, my green tea cake, fragrant Chinese tea, a room scented with potpourri.

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My favorite orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids, a bouquet of mixed florals that a guest brought for Su and a plate of sticky cake sandwiched between taro slices.

What I learnt from Su about dinner parties:

1. Have lots of help so guests can sit around like pigs after all that food. She had 2 maids and 1 butler. Okay, the butler was her hub. I must ask if she can spare him the next time I have a dinner party.

2. Presentation is just as important as the food, something Chinese dinners are short on. Use your fine tableware. It makes the meal more luxurious and special. Besides, what did you buy them for if not for entertaining? This I still have to learn. I usually use my daily tableware. My dinner presentation is too everyday fare.

3. Fresh flowers. Su is the other person I know besides myself who will splurge on flowers. Grow your own orchids, there'll always be at least one pot that is flowering. Orchids are so showy in a very classy way.

4. Keep the party small (10-15). It is more manageable, everybody gets to sit at the table and there is good interaction

Next post will be another dinner, at another great host's house. Stay tuned.

7 comments:

Precious Pea said...

So much good good!!!!! *faint*

TeaLady said...

Wow!! That looks wonderful. Why is it there is always 10 times more food at reunions than any other time. We have one every year and I KNOW i gain at least 100 lbs just looking at all the food. 'Course the food is very different.

Sasha said...

thanks 4 the cake! Its so yummy! MUST GET RECIPE !!! Will order cake frm u 4 bday!

Agnes aka Ric3y said...

Ohhhhhh that is a very very good spread........ Yummy!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

yah! I like to collect "nicer" tableware, so when guests/relatives come to my hse, at least I have something to 'impress' them, instead of my daily plates.
I get 'mang zhang' when my mum use non-beautiful plates to serve guests! so, like u say, better to prepare a set, a good investment! *lolz*

and and, I get happy when my guests say " ur plates R beautiful!" *giggle*

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I will remember your tips in my next party!

K

terri@adailyobsession said...

pp: i *faint* too

tealady: yes this time of the year, it's food overload n i really am looking 4ward to eating simple n less food.

sasha: ha, u have lots of ang bao money to spend. aunty terri will make free cake for u :)

agnes: :0

denise: i must get new plates...

k: i am learning too:)

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