I wrote recently about a weekend spent with friends during which we did little other than cook, eat and play games. It was relaxing and wonderful and is the kind of weekend that is restorative in so many ways. The kind of weekend that reminds you what life is all about.
You can read more about (and see photos of) the food we cooked from Uyen Luu’s My Vietnamese Kitchen. Here are some images and notes about the rest of our weekend feasting.
I’ve had this Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce bookmarked on my Pinterest boards for a very long time, and suggested it as a possible for our weekend of cooking. Monica very kindly made it as a welcoming lunch, confirming that it was a simple dish to make. It was just as tasty as it looks and lovely served with edamame beans, rice and broccoli.
For dinner on our first evening, we decided on panko vegetables to start, which were expertly fried by Monica. These were served with a delicious Poblano Mustard, from the Coop Chile Company in Chicago and a miso tahini dressing.
Our get-togethers are never complete without a cheese board, though this one is our most restrained yet, given all the other courses we knew we were having.
We followed the cheese with Monica’s whisky-soaked date clafoutis, served with the frozen yoghurt and condensed milk ice cream I made from Uyen’s book.
Day two’s breakfast was fresh juices made by Monica and some leftover clafoutis and ice cream. Monica made us some great juices over the course of the weekend.
Lunch was a delicious Vietnamese omelette sandwich with pickled carrots (same link as above).
Pete made another of my long-time Pinterest bookmarks – an egg-enriched spring onion and sesame bread, rolled and sliced to create pull-apart portions. Unfortunately, the slices were a bit too thin and spread out, rather than squished upright together in a smaller dish, and the bread was quickly overbaked. I’d like to try something similar again, though.
I had some Draft Beer Flavoured Jelly Belly Jelly Beans to try. I liked them and liked the sweet beery taste, Pete didn’t think they tasted anything like beer but ate quite a few and Monica and Marie were definitely not keen at all. I found the golden metallic sheen a little strange.
Monica experimented with some coffee jellies, adding different flavours including Amaretto and condensed milk.
For our second evening meal, we had tempura vegetables, made using a Sainsbury’s tempura batter mix I’d recently seen demonstrated by Jun Tanaka. As instructed, we made it with beer (using Harviestoun’s The Ridge). Monica expertly fried again, and made more of that fabulous miso tahini dressing. (The batter was good, it coated the vegetables with just the right consistency, crisped up beautifully and I’d buy it again).
After tempura we had summer rolls with mackerel ceviche, also from Uyen’s book (same link as above). It took longer than expected when the mackerel fillets we purchased turned out to be full of bones and it took me an age to pull them all out, before making the ceviche!
Dessert was a Dutch baby pancake with Matcha ice cream. Monica made this to David Lebovitz’ recipe ingredients, but adapted the technique to use her Vitamix.
Our last meal was Sunday lunch. I was delighted that yet another of my long-time Pinterest bookmarks came into play, when Marie made these utterly delicious grilled onions with blue cheese and balsamic.
And Marie also took charge of the fantastic caramelised mackerel in coconut water (same link as above), which we made from yet another of Uyen’s Vietnamese recipes.
We also had great fun playing various table games over the weekend, Pete and I taught Monica and Marie Fluxx, Carcassone and Settlers and Monica quickly got us addicted to Banagrams, and back into Yahtzee!
Thanks again to Monica for additional photos, as per credits.