Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Equation for a less-than-elegant but tasty Chinese dinner

11 people for dinner. Mine and T’s little flat. The day before, I'd bought out the contents of Loon Fung in Chinatown, scaled fish, massaged pork, armed myself with cleaver, and wondered what wines oenophile Ruth would bring to match the food.

Here’s what we eat, drink and listen to that night.

The Friends
All from university. We don’t see enough of each other, but when we do, things happen... like deciding to stalk electronic genii Daft Punk and booking a long weekend in Vegas to see them. This time - out of the 11 people in my flat, 7 are running the Belfast marathon in a few days time. In neon/spandex-tutu/superman outfits. It is my moral duty to feed everyone up.

The Menu

Bak choi and limes for the G&Ts

Tonight it’s mainly Chinese food with a bit of impro, depending on what ingredients I’m left with. During the shredding, the gutting, the fine-chopping, Anthony Bourdain’s words often whirr through my head – your first principle should be ‘meez’...’mise-en-place’. As in, getting everything you need ready so that at the last minute (and so much is last minute putting together), all your chopped garlic and onions are set out like it is when you watch Delia serenely rustle up a coq au vin.

I’ll be linking the recipes for certain dishes below in following posts.

Chinese Turnip cake with soy and chilli dipping sauce

Cantonese steamed sea-bass with shredded spring onion, ginger and coriander

Crispy five-spice belly pork with mustard and soy sauce

Shittake mushrooms cooked in their own liquor

Dried-shrimp egg fried rice

Bak choi with ginger, garlic and soy sauce

Sliced rump steak with rice noodles and spring onions

Comté, Stichelton, port and apples

Sticky ginger cake and chocolate clafoutis with crème fraîche

(My friend Rob brings cheese – one of my favourites - nutty Comté, and Stichelton – a young blue made from unpasteurised milk.
Sticky ginger cake and chocolate clafoutis with oranges and crème fraiche is brought by dessert-goddess Hannah)

The Tunes
High Contrast, Confidential: drum and bass is a spicy backdrop to the savouries.

Floorfillers 90s Club Classics: For cheese and dessert, the retro I need your loving, Dub be good to me, and Ebenezer Goode just make sense.

The Sauce
We are lucky enough to have some handpicked wines brought by my friend Ruth, and some barrel samples from a Bordeaux tasting.

Here are the wine notes for anyone who wants to know what can go with Chinese fish, pork and beef.

Stormy Cape Chenin Blanc 2009 - South Africa; easy, fruity, cheapie!
Henschke Tilly’s Vineyard 2007 - V famous Australian producer making premium wines; the Tilly’s is their ‘entry level’ white, blend of Semillon 55%, Sauvignon Blanc 20%, Chardonnay 25%; very aromatic, juicy tropical fruits, lots of body.
Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2006 - 100% Pinot from v reputable New Zealand producer, winemaker Rudi Bauer has won lots of awards; savoury, juicy red fruit, spice

Bordeaux 2009:
Ch Petit Bocq 2009 St. Estephe
Ch Pierre de Montignac 2009 Medoc
Ch Pontac-Lynch 2009 Margaux

Do watch this space for the recipes.


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