Monday, July 13, 2009

Athena's Bday Party - How to Host A Bitching Party?

You're not having a dejavu, there was really another party at my place, and the title of my post doesn't mean that I am good at hosting party (this was only my second time), it's a question, not a statement. Please share your party tips, pretty please?...

I remember my first time attending a "casual" dinner at my friend's place, in Singapore. I typed casual between quotation marks, as to me, it was really a stunning dinner. She was serving simple and delicious home cooked meal of tomato soup and lasagna, but the table was beautifully set, decorated with gorgeous flowers and candles.

Did I learn from that experience? Ehm, judging from how my party spread looked like (disposable plates and cups? Really?)...gosh, I still have a lot to learn.

What did I do prior to the party?
Is my place normally that pristine and immaculate? Do I always have fresh flowers at home? Of course NOT!
Not really, so here are the things that I do when preparing for a party:
- A week before: thought about the menu (Order in? Take away? Home cooking? What style? Western? Asian? Indonesian? Chinese? Who doesn't eat what? Are the guests big eaters/dieters?) Any other activities to be done after dinner? Xbox? DVD? Games?
- A couple of days before: menu should be pretty much decided, create a list of ingredients to purchase)
- The day before: purchase ingredients and prep or cook dishes which can be prepared in advance, tidy up my mountain-high piles of dirty laundry, collect and throw SC's game weekly magazines from every room, stash any messy tidbits into empty drawers
- The morning and afternoon before: roughly dust visible places, clean floor, and prohibit SC to throw more dirty laundry everywhere, arrange flowers into various vases and station them several rooms
- One hour before the party: start cooking rice, and prepare all ingredients for dishes, ready to fire up, and prepare to heat up dishes which had been cook the day before

What did I serve this time? Just simple dishes I knew I could handle.

Italian Herbs and Lemon Zest Grilled Chicken Wings

- I prepared about 2-3 pieces of wings per person
- Italian mixed herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage)
- Zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon
- Salt, black pepper, olive oil

The day before the party, I defrosted the wings by quick boiling it (dip them into boiling water until the skin changed color, but not necessarily cooked through), drain and pat dry, coat wings with all ingredients, store in fridge. You can opt to skip the quick boiling.
On the day of the party, preheat oven to 220C, grill wings until the skin turned golden brown.

Corn Kernels with Bacon and Sausages

- 1 large can of corn kernels
- 3 slices of bacon, cut into small chunks
- 3 chicken franks, cut into 2-3 mm thick chunks (or any other sausages of your choice)
- 2 pork and herb sausages, cut into bite sized chunks
- black pepper

Defrost sausages and bacon since the night before, if necessary. About one - 2 hours before the party (or the day before, if you didn't need to defrost anything), slice bacon and sausages, then keep in the fridge before cooking. When ready to cook, heat up frying pan, add bacon and sausages (with no oil), cook until golden. Meanwhile, open the can of corn kernels and drain. Once the bacon and sausages are nicely browned, add corn kernels, cook until a bit charred, add black pepper. No other seasoning necessary, all the ingredients are already very flavorful.

Initially, I planned to add raisins to this dish, which will add another dimension of flavor, but I...forgot. Opps, maybe next time.

Grilled Chicken, Pineapple and Red Pepper in Coconut Milk

- 3 pieces of chicken upper thigh fillet
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 can (around 200ml coconut milk)
- 1 small fresh pineapple, or 1 can of pineapple chunks
- salt, black pepper, fish sauce, sugar

In the afternoon, or 1 hour before dinner starts, start preparing the ingredients, all the slicing and dicing. When it is time to serve, heat up frying pan (with no oil), season chicken fillet with salt, black pepper and olive oil, and grill skin down until you get some color. Flip once, cook until you get some colorage, set aside and slice into bite sized chunks. Saute garlic and onion, add chicken pieces, add pineapple (without the syrup if you are using canned pineapple), add coconut milk, and use some of the syrup of the canned pineapple (if using), season with salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce and serve.

Beef Brisket Stewed in Red Wine

The birthday girl wanted to try this dish, so I did another encore of Beef and Red Wine combo. This time using brisket. I cooked this dish the night before, to get the beef to be more flavorful the day I served it.

Sauteed Black Pepper Mushrooms

- Mixed mushrooms
- Butter and olive oil
- salt and black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Saute garlic in olive oil and butter, add mushrooms until they turn golden and slightly charred, season with salt and lots of black pepper. It was really that simple.

Poison of the Day:
Mandarin Orange, White Wine and 7Up Drink

I should've named the drink with something catchy like sex on the beach or screaming orgasm, but my creativity veins are blocked today (this is Monday!) I just called it what it is.
Suggestions please....^_^

- 1 small can of mandarin orange sections in syrup
- white wine
- sprite/7up/soda water

Fill a jug with the mandarin orange sections, including the syrup, add ice, fill up to 2/3 with chilled white wine, top it off with sprite/7up/soda water, stir and serve.

The birthday cake's from a bakery called Zoe, it's very chocolatey, rich, and satiny smooth delicious! Served with cups hot of earl grey tea.

Capturing Joe's cute gestures and expressions such as this one? Priceless!

The perfect party souvenir: Polaroid pictures!
Useful tips:
- If we're anything other than svelte, hide behind those who are ^_^
- If you wanna appear more fair skinned, move to the front
- If you wanna appear ridiculous, do my pose

A birthday isn't a birthday without some gift giving action. The gift which shocked Joe to the core...original soundtrack of Boys over Flowers and SS501 album (birthday girl's current favorites).

Guess what he was thinking when he saw the CDs?

Check out birthday girl's blog post to find out what her husband said about her outfit, at Athena's Little C9 (in Chinese).


Peter M said...

This gwei-lo thanks you for your B-day wishes and now for your tips on preparing for a party.

All the dishes have gotten my tummy rumbling!

EatTravelEat said...

Fantastic planning and food! Parties take a lot of preparation and your party looks fun. So many delicious food items. I like the corn and the mushrooms. I probably could eat a entire dish of each. :)

KennyT said...

I think you are a great party host^^.

Little Corner of Mine said...

You did excellent! Love all the yummy food and the chocolate cake.

tigerfish said...

Wow! What a spread!

Jennifer said...

You are one awesome friend! What a fabulous birthday party and eats!!! thanks for all the tips and recipes! Those wings sound SO good!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

thanks for the wonderful comments, guys ^_^

Anonymous said...

Well maybe if you had invited to one of your dinner parties when i was in HK, i would have come! But no such thing for zenchef. no no no.. :-(

And then i read somewhere you want to make me eat Tonka beans! LOL. I still like you Rita cuz... err.. you can cook! and well.. you're cute too.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

for zenchef? all tonka tonka tonka tonk! hehehe

wait til you get back here, i'll whip ur a** with a bunch of long beans LOL (what did the long beans do wrong?)

Anonymous said...

Holy smokes that food looks good! I definitely want to try the corn/sausage goodness. Yum.