So nursing slightly bruised livers and the odd brain spasm, we made our way down the chandler to our good friends J & CC in Bulleen for boxing day celebrations.
Knowing that a hot oven would have to be manned at some point, I started the day gently, making sure my first glass was emptied at a glacial pace until after kitchen duties were over and done with.
M brought his curry puffs and mini plum puds, and I made a Filipino signature dish called Chicken Adobo. It always a risk to make something that you have never made before for a party where expectations are high, especially when said party also includes your culinary nemesis who churns out restaurant quality dishes with effortless ease. I am speaking of our good friend DV.
Final stage - adding coconut to the sauce
Chicken Adobo has relatively few ingredients, but the cooking process involves a number of different stages. It takes about 2hours to prepare and is well worth the effort. Although cooking with vinegar makes me nervous. I don't really like the stuff and I'm never sure if I have used too much or too little. The recipe I worked off called for about 3 cups of vinegar for 3kilos worth of chicken. So I was back on the "no one's going to touch it" train and most probably driving M quietly insane. I say quietly as he is now well and trully used to it and pretty much just rolls his eyes and ignores me.
DV trumped everyone again with his home made Loh Bak which was absolutely out of this world. There's nothing like crispy bean curd skin, and the filling had just the right amount of crunch from the chestnuts.
Loh Bak - ready for the fry pan
Served sliced with chilli sauce and cucumbers
He also contributed home style mee siam which in our part of the world is quintessential party food. DV's does not come with a sauce but he made his cheat's sambal belachan to go with it. You can easily do this at home by buying a commercial brand (I recommend Seah's) of Sambal Belachan and frying a portion of this with onions and sugar. I don't really have to tell you how yummy the whole thing was, do I.
Mee Siam - homestyle dry version
There were other delights to sample at the table including a slab of turkish dellight covered in Rose petals which was divine and an apple slice with cinnamon made with a gluten free flour mix.
Unfortunately given our schizophrenic summer, we were unable to take advantage of the swimming pool, but whiled away the hours with wine and conversation.
As the party gradually diminished in numbers, the remaining dregs contemplated a barbeque and before long the chops and snags were out, and I was frying rice in a wok.
We sat down to more food and wine before an impromptu floorshow from CC which kept us entertained until it was time to go. Another sterling effort guys. Now if we can only ...
And yes that is real unfortunately - picked up from a bin somewhere in Paris - outrageous!