Sunday, January 13, 2013

223/984 - Allan and Michele's asian-inspired pumpkin soup

A friend of ours turned forty a little over a month ago and we were faced with the predicament of what to buy the man who has everything. This is a particularly special friend who is close to both myself and my husband and who always manages to buy the most spectacularly fantastic gifts to mark our special occasions. After much searching and thinking we finally settled on a gift that money can't buy - an evening with friends and a home made eight course degustation with matched wines. 

I had so much fun scanning my new rainbow book for recipes. With hundreds of new ones to choose from I was like one of my children with a Toys'R'Us catalogue, madly selecting things I liked and periodically letting out small yelps of excitement. Unfortunately I had so much fun I ended up with a list of near thirty recipes and had to spend quite some time paring it back. The criteria I had set was that each dish had to be fabulous, but also able to be prepared in advance with minimal effort required on the night. There is nothing worse than having people over for dinner and then spending the entire night in the kitchen! 

So after a few days of preparation and an early morning trip to the Queen Vic market, last night was the night! The first course was Allan and Michele's Asian-inspired pumpkin soup which I had made two days prior. On the night I simply needed to bring it to the boil and whisk in some coconut milk. Too easy.

As per Stephanie's suggestion I decided to fancy it up with the addition of one lovely little seared scallop in each bowl. Unfortunately the scallops sank to the bottom (I have no idea why I thought they would float!) but they were absolutely fabulous and worth the extra little bit of effort on the night, even if they didn't enhance the appearance of the presented bowls. 

Trev was in charge of the matched wines and this course was served with a New Zealand Chardonnay which we all agreed was a fabulous choice.

Stay tuned for an overview of the remaining seven courses! As for me, I am exhausted after a busy few days in the kitchen and think I will be saying hello to my pillow very early tonight. 

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