So on that fateful Wednesday, THE fateful wednesday I've been shouting about like mad for the past week, I held that very special plusixfive supperclub feast for a hungry group of 18. It's odd how nervous I felt that day. I've cooked alongside Goz before, not once, but twice, and for larger, scarier groups with that odd michelin chef or foodie of presumably harder-to-please tastebuds.
But dinner that night felt different. That dinner pretty much encompasses what I'm about, what this blog is about-- taking food grown with love by the people here, and cooking it with lots of love and lard and sambal. Everything on the menu featured the best of British summer (quote Goz "not the rain, you sillies, the produce!") but done in true Singaporean style.We had a rough menu in mind but up till the very last few hours, we were pretty much still flirting around with ideas and worrying about not having enough food to feed everybody ("Should we add a chap chye, maybe with early sweetheart cabbage and new carrots?" "Or do we have too much veggies? Nonya chicken curry? With baby new potatoes?" "Lamb satay??") so last Saturday saw my fridge jammed full of groceries from the farmer's market.
I'm glad to say everybody left rolling and groaning back home. I shall shut up now and let the photos do the talking.
For starters, we had mackerel paste hand-bashed by the lovely Christine, then wrapped in beancurd skin, fried, and drizzled with sweet sauce a la yong tau foo; chilli sardine puffs; and bowls of Mum's "old-fire"watercress soup.
Onto the mains, turmeric-rubbed fried whole sardines and mackerel steaks; braised pork belly kong bak with fennel served alongside crisp English baby gem lettuce; grilled baby aubergines with sambal; sambal beet leaves, an alternative to the Singaporean favourite sambal kangkong; and Hainanese pork chops with a cherry tomato sauce. Oh and with all these rich dishes, a pickle that everybody couldn't stop picking at, proper Nonya achar made with the best of summer's cucumbers, new carrots, cauliflower and beetroot (hence the ruby-stained juices).
A palate cleanser of shaved ice with pickled plum powder, followed by two rounds of dessert. Warm black sticky rice pudding with coconut ice cream, drizzled with gula melaka syrup and finished with toasted coconut flakes aka snazzy pulut hitam; and that childhood favourite treat, agar agar jelly two ways, clear with organic raspberries in the middle, or dyed a natural red using beetroot juice instead of artificial colouring (the pink layer comes from swirling in coconut milk).
And we were finally done. A fabulous night that ended with happy stomachs and a dirty kitchen (thank you Goz's cleaner). Photo credits to the amazing J (the good ones were by him, the not-so-good ones by me and my point-and-shoot).