Tag Archives: dinner party

Thai Food

Few things hit the spot like a great Thai dish. Toby suggested a mix of Thai green curry and some Pad Thai for our next dinner party. Being a lover of spicy food I jumped at the chance and last night we had a Thai food festival!

Ingredients are the most important part of authentic Thai cooking. What really helps when it comes to sourcing genuine Thai ingredients is actually living in Thailand, when you live in Canada it’s a little harder. The best thing to do is get well acquainted with the ingredients, find the nearest Asian food store and get what you need.

How you prepare Thai food is very important, you are probably thinking “Well that goes for all food dummy” and you’d be right, but when it comes to getting that authentic Thai taste you have cook authentically. Proof of this is the fact that you will often spend 2 hours preparing Thai food and only 1 hour  cooking it; preparation is key!

Thai food is always a joy to cook, especially if you are sipping authentic Singha Thai beer in-between chopping onions and whisking coconut milk. Another joy that comes witch cooking Thai food is the vibrant colors that are a delight to dish up. 7

Toby was the first to arrive, I was surprised as he is often late, but realized he was just as over-excited as I was to tuck into the Thai feast I had laid out. As usual I probably over cooked, and when my friends Jessica, Angela and David arrived they expected at least 10 more people to join us if we were to finish the feast.

Luckily we did (Toby took a bunch of leftovers home) and we all had a blast! I really recommend Thai food for both spicy and mild lovers. It hit’s all the right spots!

 

Finally, Lobster

Ever since seeing the famous Annie Hall scene I have always wanted to not only cook but also eat lobster and every time I have come close I have been denied my dream by what some may call fate, but I call minor obstructions to the inevitable.

Last night it finally happened without a hitch. The guys and I had a lovely lobster dinner party. It’s not as hard to cook as I thought. Apart from having to send a live sea creature to it’s boiling death, the process is relatively easy and stress free.

When you cook a lobster all you have to do is cook it for seven minutes for the first pound and three minutes for each additional pound to get the perfect results. I decided to dish up my lobster with asparagus, a clarified butter dipping sauce, some mash potatoes and some mixed vegetables.

Looking back it was probably too much food and now I remember why I felt so full for about three hours after, but it was my first lobster! and I had to do it right.
Also on reflection it wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world. It could just be my lobsters, although I don’t doubt my cooking at all, but I wasn’t blown away like I thought I would be. It tasted like really expensive scallops, but it was still tasty, which is all that counts.

I think I probably built it up too much in my head and expected shooting stars and unicorns to dance across the sky with each bite, but to be honest it wasn’t the best meal in the world, which is what I had expected, however I am still glad that I finally have a lobster under my belt, so to speak.

 

Chicken Korma Curry

I love Indian food, so when Angela suggested a curry night I was excited to see what I could do with a chicken korma. I had previously cooked a chicken tikka masala and a madras, so I was glad to add the korma to create the classic curry 3.

What I love about the chicken korma is the sauce is so thick and creamy but spiced at the same time to create a great taste in your already watering mouth. My tip for a good korma is the right amount of coriander and cumin. Also whilst cooking be sure to keep the yogurt from curdling. Other than that it’s not a super hard dish to cook.

I’m a big fan of spicy food, and the korma is one of the mildest curry’s you can have and I tend to spice it up with a Scotch Bonnet (or two if you are brave) which gives it that extra flavor.

David was complaining about the fact that he had a very hard day at a very awesome job, as I served up my curry of which I was extremely proud, because I had added cashew nuts at the last minute and it only increased it’s taste. David works for a porn site, so yes he basically watches porn for money and whenever he complains about how hard work is we all tend to laugh and tell him to take his work home with him.

The korma was great, it was just the right amount of spice and creamy delight. I made some basmati rice to accompany it along with some naan bread and salad. I recommend it especially if you have never had a curry before, the korma is the perfect intro into the wonderful world of Indian curry’s .

 

Fish & Chips

Canadians have a lot of connections to the British, we share a lot of history and with that, a lot of food. That is why growing up, not only did my family visit London, Liverpool and Brighton regularly, but we also brought back some of their edible delights.
One of my favorites is the traditional fish and chips. To translate that into Canadian it’s fish (deep fried) and fries, and it’s amazing.

It’s simple, easy to cook, and tastes great which is all you want when arranging a dinner party, that way you have more time to hang out with your friends and drink copious amounts of beer while listening to great music, and that’s exactly what happened last night.

I can literally cook this dish in my sleep, so I had a lot of time to hang out with my gang of friends. As always Toby picked apart my record collection with vicious slander, questioning my gender.  Personally I think Alanis Morissette  is both a talented genius and a national treasure, but we can’t all have my great taste in music.

Eric and Angela reaction to the news of getting served a traditional English dish, was to spend most of the night talking in British accents. Sounds hilarious? Well it wasn’t, but hats off to them for being so dedicated to the bit. It was like Downton Abbey if it was worse than it already is.

Luckily the tasty food seemed to deter them from continuing the whole night. While fish and chips is quite an easy dish to cook, you have to be careful to make sure the skin stays crispy but not burnt, and the flesh is tender but not under-cooked. Other than that I recommend, peas and some British ale to accompany it. It’s a great dish.

Ginger Beef, Canadian Style

Last night I made some Ginger Beef stir fry (Canadian Style) with some noodles for my friends David, Angela and Toby. While I tend to prefer authentic Chinese versions of Chinese dishes, this westernized style of Ginger Beef is quite delicious.  Also an added extra is it’s pretty easy to cook, and to cook well. It’s basically just deep fried strips of beef drenched in a sweet sauce that consists mainly of vinegar and sugar.

It also contains flavors of ginger (hence the name), garlic and hot peppers, and the vegetables you serve with it is up to you but I favor the traditional carrots (cut into thin matchstick strips) and onions. Like most great Chinese dishes, it goes well with both rice and noodles but on this occasion I chose noodles.

For this dinner party I had the luck of having a guest chief, Angela. We both had a rare day off so she kindly offered to help me with the cooking, and then proceeded to drink all my wine, cut just one onion and tell me ALL of the gossip in the world!
While I could of used the help it was still great to catch up on the office politics, but I won’t bore you with the details. Basically if she is to be believed everyone is sleeping with everyone.

It was a great meal, there is something about Chinese food that seems quite social and unifying. You set a pot of beef and a bot of noodles and everyone helps themselves to the delights of the food. It tends to connect people which is why it’s one of my favorite cuisines to both cook and eat with dear friends .

The Beauty Of Jerk Chicken

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities around, and with that we are fortunate enough to taste and experience food we never would, from Cinatown to Koreatown, from The Danforth to Little Italy, we are lucky enough to have wall to wall pristine cuisine. One of the many great cuisines I have come across is the Caribbean cuisine. It’s filled with flavor and life, and  nothing beats jerk chicken served with rice, plantains and beans.

I remember the first time I had some authentic jerk chicken and it blew my head off. Not just from the spicy jerk sauce but the also the joy of discovering something truly beautiful.
So when Toby rang me about my next dinner party and wondered if I could serve something new, it was the a no-brainer.

I told Toby to hang on to his shoes because I was ready to blow his socks off, which is as corny as it sounds and Toby greeted my said corny-ness by laughing in my face, but jokes aside I could also tell he was just as excited as I was whenever I try some new food .

For the best jerk chicken you have got to get the seasoning right. Make sure you have your Scotch bonnet peppers and your allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are also good ways to give it an extra kick. I prefer to dry-rub the chicken as opposed to the wet marinade, but both work well. The plantains are easy to cook and be sure to add the beans to the rice, not on the side and, cook the jerk chicken well but don’t over do it. If you do all that you will definitely have a fun and spicy time.

Everyone watched with excitement as Toby took his first forkful of the tender and juicy jerk chicken. His eyes immediately lit up with a joyous glare and his eyebrows were raised higher than their usual position , as if he had just had a grand epiphany. Which he did; Caribbean food is awesome! Either that or it was too spicy.

Shish Kebab & Rare Weather

Like most Canadians know, when we are blessed with good weather, we’ll be damned if we don’t use it and milk every ounce of sun we get! For some people that means a beer in the park, a game of soccer in a field, or that very elusive tan. For me and my dinner party guests, it meant only one thing; BBQ time!

One of the most important ingredients for a BBQ is not the meat like most people think, it’s actually the beer. OK, maybe that’s just my rule, but it’s a rule that works. David managed to get a hold of a Moosehead keg and a few fancy imports from England, like Red Stripe and Carling, and with that the feast began.

I had every kind of meat you could want, I had goat, beef, chicken, lamb, fish and pork. The secret to a great Kebab skewer, is plenty of heat, both flames and spices and plenty of flavor. Also having the right vegetables to accompany the meat helps, I went with the Turkish style of mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon to give it that popping zest.

It was good to see Eric Andersson again, he’d been kept busy with his work at BrowsingAnonymousOnline.com so it was good to catch up and talk a bit of shop on our similar business ideas, but that was all the business talk we could handle. The beers were flowing, the sun was smiling and the kebabs were truly irresistible, if I don’t say so myself.

Toby DJ’d with his Ipod, Eric and Angela danced all night, and David helped me with the grilling of what seemed to be an endless supply of meat. Not only did I learn that none of my closest friends have any natural rhythm and should never ever dance in public, I also learnt that nothing beats good weather, buddies, beers and BBQ.

The Elvis Sandwich’s

My dad was always a massive fan of Elvis and that had a big impact on my childhood. If we were not watching one of the 1000 films he did, or listening to one of his songs, we would be staring at one of the 10 framed pictures my dad had of him, around the house.

I was never a massive fan of Elvis, which my dad never forgave me for, but there was one crazy Elvis fan ritual I was always on board with; the Elvis sandwich! If you didn’t know already the Elvis sandwich consists of peanut butter, banana and bacon, that’s right I said it’s a sandwich that is peanut butter, banana and bacon. This genius sandwich was severed to us at least once a month by our dad, and it’s a ritual I still do today.

Last night, my good friends David, Angela and Toby, came round for a pot roast dinner party with a special surprise; Elvis sandwiches for desert! To be honest the pot roast was so-so and I think my over excitement for desert overshadows my memory of the dinner party. All I remember clearly is the delicious glory of the first bite, the rest is haze of bacon and joy.

Toby and Angela had never tried an Elvis before but I had made David a few and he was as excited as I was. Toby and Angela were not so sure but I managed to convince them with my “nothing that has bacon in it is bad” argument.

Watching someone eat an Elvis sandwich for the first time is great. First off is a slight look of confusion as various textures clash, then there is the “what is this?” face immediately followed by a “Why don’t I do this everyday” face.
I recommend the Elvis sandwich to anybody that wants to have a fun and unique desert.

Source: Imgur
Source: Imgur

T-Bone Steaks

I had been wanting to do a steak night for a while, I’m lucky as a cook because all my friends like their steaks the same way, medium-rare. So when David suggested I cook up some T-bone steaks for the next dinner party I jumped at the chance.

The secret to a good T-bone is to marinate it the night before to get that flavor locked in.  I went with herbs, spices, cooking wine and a table spoon of Texan BBQ sauce. Using a dry heat grill is the fastest and most effective way to get a tender and succulent T-bone steak.

My dear friend David arrived with a case of beer, which is the quickest way to get the biggest steak when coming to one of my dinner parties! and he was giddy with excitement. We talked about work and the stresses and joys that come with working with competitive internet based company’s then I remembered that David sorted the content on a popular porn website and I told him to never complain to me again!

Angela, her friend Jess Matthews, and Toby all arrived together, Toby was in charge of the music and played some classic Prince while I grilled the T-bones. I passed around some beers and we shared some dating horror stories.

I told everyone about the time I was in college and a girl I was seeing brought her mom to chaperon us. I was so nervous and I drank too much and the night ended with me being sick all over my dates mom, suffice to say there was no second date!
“That explains so much about you” joked Angela.

I served up the steaks with some sweet mash potatoes, asparagus and steamed carrots. The steak was a tender delight and the flavor was so delicious it made you want to lick the plate. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, which is the best parts of cooking a meal for friends.

“A toast to Sean’s amazing steaks and his hilarious dating history” said David, raising his glass.

The Night We Had Breakfast For Dinner

It was a funny night, I had invited a few friends over for another one of my dinner parties but I had to work late, so I didn’t have time to buy the ingredients for the dinner I had planned. My fridge was empty apart from breakfast stuff and a few beers, and my guests would be over within the hour.

I came close to canceling when I had one of those epiphany moments. Why don’t we just have breakfast? I had all I needed to make pancakes, plus I had maple syrup, sausages, Canadian bacon and eggs. It was morning somewhere so we might as well let out hair down, relax and have what I like to call “Dinfast”

I was flipping some pancakes when Toby walked in “I had a nap before I came, I think I must of overslept?” he said with a smile. He asked me what was going on and I told him I was a genius that had invented a new craze to which he replied “You forgot to go to the shops didn’t you”

Source: Imgur
Source: Imgur

 

Angela and Dean were equally confused but excited all the same. “It’s gonna be weird eating pancakes and drinking beer, my brain will be all confused” joked Angela.
I made a couple of ham and cheese omelettes, some hash browns and served up the “Dinfast” with a healthy sized jug of Canadian ale.

“All the kids in Brooklyn and Portland will doing this before you know it” I said. “And having roast lamb and pot roasts for breakfast?” asked Dean, “Exactly” I replied “I’ve just started a new craze.

I’ll be the first to admit that it felt a little strange eating breakfast at night, but that didn’t stop it from being fun. There is something about cutting though a syrupy stack of pancakes and then taking a long sip of a pale ale that makes you feel truly free. I highly recommend “Dinfast” to all!