Ok, I'm very backlogged in posts. This is the year where all my friends (and myself included) are turning 21, so I ask that you just all bear with me while the posts trickle through in what little time I have in front of the laptop between drinks, dining, studying, working, and heavy sleep deprivation.I don't really have accurate recipes for any of the following things we made up in the Blue Mountains. Things just got too difficult to record as we all worked on individual elements of the dish and just combined everything at the end. Hopefully the photos will make enough sense to provide some sort of inspiration for experimentation.
Menu for the night:
Entree: Broccoli and Carrot Cream Soup with Toast
Main: Spaghetti with Chicken and Grilled Vegetables
Dessert: Icecream with Oranges and Strawberries (Maple Syrup may have gotten involved)
Cocktail: Pina Colada
We had our work cut out for us that night, but the great thing about cooking with friends is that you don't feel the effort that goes into making a huge meal because half the time you're just chatting and oohing and aahing at all the strange concoctions people come up with.
It's also good fun to get the boys to do some work around the house.
I got to work on deboning the chicken. The legs would go into the soup for the stock base, while the meat was going into the main course.With the meat, I marinaded it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I wish I could lug my entire kitchen with me when I go on trips, but alas, a travel-sized kitchen-in-a-box does not yet exist.
The bones went into the stock which contained carrots, broccoli and large sticks of celery. We chucked the celery in because we had to use them up, so we just left them in huge pieces so we could pull them out later before we pureed everything. Oh and we ate them. Girls like their vegies.
AL focused on cutting up all the vegies for the grill. They were pretty. And yummy too.Right before we popped the grill pan into the grill, we realised we had forgotten the parsley, so we sent VH on a mission to finely chop some parsley.
While we're here I would like to just complain about how blunt all the knives are at every single holiday house we've ever been to. Gosh. Is a sharp knife in the kitchen just too much to ask for? Surprisingly at this house there wasn't even a knife sharpener available, so I just used my dad's ad hoc method of using the bottom of a ceramic bowl as the sharpener. It works wonders.
Finally the parsley goes on top.
AL mixed the vegies with what I would presume to be clean hands. She drizzled the pan with a little olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.Finally the pan goes in for grilling.
While all that was happening, I got to work on browning the chicken in a thick-bottomed pan. The smell eminating from the kitchen with all that was happening was really inviting to say the least.After the chicken was browned, the same pan was used to cook the garlic, onions, tomatoes, canned tomatoes, stock and tomato paste. We just let the sauce simmer away and thicken slightly.If I remember correctly, while all this was happening, we were running back and forth from the kitchen to the lounge room to watch MasterChef. Gosh, that show nearly destroyed me. I couldn't bare to miss a single episode.
Either way, at some point during that show, AL remembered the vegies in the grill and ran back to save them. Timing-wise, I think it was spot on as the vegies were grilled to perfection.We then added the grilled vegetables and chicken into the tomato sauce and heated everything through. Dinner was almost ready.
I think at this point VH was on the side mashing the broccoli and carrot soup and combining it with a tub of cream. Why mashing? Because we didn't think to check whether there was a blender available. This is why we need the portable kitchen-in-a-box!
Someone smart go invent it already. Chop chop!
Either way the soup was delicious. We made plenty so we had some for breakfast the next day. Usually people complain about having to eat leftovers the next day, but this soup was an exception. I think JL would have drank it from the pot.
We topped the sauce with a little more parsley. Yes, parsley is our friend.*mutters* Excuse the lighting issue, but VOILA!
How beautiful does it look?