Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Very Busy Food Weekend!

This has been a rather busy weekend. This is why I don't find myself awfully shocked on this Sunday evening that it's gone by already.

This was a very food-based weekend for me. This is not to say that most weekends don't involve food but I entertained twice this weekend and since I've become rather fond of entertaining, I like to make sure I plan the right menu.

My first event was Friday night. It wasn't really an event as much as my friend coming over to dinner and to watch "The Holiday" with me. This has become a tradition for us over the past three years. Usually we watch it at her house and she cooks but this year, we decided to watch it at mine.

Since she was coming to mine, it involved planning dinner. This was not an issue except she's a bit of a picky eater. I like a challenge, however. Most of my 'classic' dinner recipes usually involve quite a lot of vegetables and she's not a huge fan. She does, however, like strong flavours like garlic, onion, etc. Thus, I decided to make my thick and hearty potato leek soup. I use bacon as a base which sounds rather unhealthy but, actually, one serving of the soup still only has 7 grams of fat and 290 calories and considering it's nice and filling, it's pretty good for dinner. I also decided to be festive and for dessert, I made a gingerbread cake with caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream. And yes, I actually did bake this cake from scratch. I made it last year and it was a hit so I figured I'd try it again. It was a hit this year too. My friend seemed quite happy with the food I made and we ended up having a great evening while enjoying a great movie.

My second 'event' was my parents' coming to visit. They like to come down at least once before Christmas to stock up at Jungle Jim's on treats/food for the holidays. Normally, I make them a sit-down meal. This year, I decided to challenge myself while also 'treating' them. Usually, on Christmas night, my mum and I prepare a cold buffet for the family that takes a lot of preparation. The problem with this is that it's hard to enjoy the buffet as much when you've had to prepare it so I decided to make a mini buffet for my parents. This particular buffet included the following:

• Cheese and crackers (Cheeses: Wensleydale, Coach Farms goat cheese, Stilton, Seriously Sharp Cheddar, Gruyere and smoked Gouda)
• Steamed shrimp
• Smoked salmon
• Homemade guacamole and homemade tortilla chips,
• Black Bean soup
• An antipasti tray with prosciutto and salami and assorted pickled treats
• Roasted beet salad
• Crusty bread
• Homemade cheese straws
• Sausage rolls
• Cream cheese and watercress finger sandwiches
• A small vegetable plate
• Roasted ham with a cumin, garlic and thyme glaze

For dessert, I baked another gingerbread cake, whipped some more cream and used the leftover caramel sauce from Friday since it keeps for a while.

It was rather a lot of food but one thing I like about a buffet is that it's fun to have a selection and people love to nibble. While I had a lot of leftovers, there actually weren't nearly as many as you'd expect and I got to send my parents home with half the ham, the sausage rolls and shrimp since I don't actually like shrimp. I also have plenty of food left for the week and a nice cheese selection which not only will last me a while but I can also bring out when I have guests.

All in all, it was a very food-heavy weekend. The buffet prep took a long while but, sadly, I enjoyed every minute of it, even beheading, deveining and peeling all of the shrimp which I've never done before. I'll post my gingerbread cake recipe just because it's a pretty easy thing to make and seems to be quite popular whenever I make it.

Now it's Sunday night, my parents have gone and I'm alone with two sleeping dachshunds. I plan on enjoying the rest of my Sunday evening by relaxing since I don't seem to have much time for that.

Also, I think I might have to eat some leftovers. I have plenty to choose from.

Happy Monday and thanks for reading!

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