Home Gourmet for 8

I love to cook, and I love hosting dinner parties at home. Not only it’s more personal and relaxed, I get to control what and how I make the food and cook a gourmet, yet healthy meal. Coming up with a party menu can be a complicated matter. You have to consider the season, the style, and also to meet different dietary restrictions of the guests. It’s like putting multiple pieces of puzzles together. It’s certainly fun, and is an absolute art. Here is a link on things to consider when planning a guest dinner that I found very useful. http://www.thekitchn.com/9-things-to-consider-when-creating-a-menu-168971 It has been hot and humid in Hong Kong so I definitely want to cook something light. Anything too meaty or heavy would not be good. The main guests like meat and do not like any fish but okay with prawns. So after careful consideration  I decided to cook a sit-down 4-courses Thai and Vietnamese inspired menu. The spices and fresh herbs used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines are perfect for this weather. And a few dishes are served at room temperature so I can prepare ahead – extremely important when you are cooking multiple courses for a big group. Soup will be too hot for this weather so I make a salad instead. Since the guests are meat lovers I chose lamb rack as the main course. So the menu looked like this.

Appetizers

Thai Spring Rolls with chicken, fungus, vermicelli, carrots, coriander and mint, with sweet and sour dipping sauce

  • Instead of traditional deep fried, I use a shallow pan and pan fry the spring rolls without using much oil.

thumb_IMG_5799_1024 Lemongrass chicken skewers

  • Made with Australian Organic chicken mince mixed with onions, coriander and used lemongrass as the stick

thumb_IMG_5794_1024 Vietnamese rice paper rolls with pork, prawns, cucumber, carrots and herbs, with home made nuoc cham sauce.

  • The traditional nuoc cham sauce is fish sauce mixed with sugar, chilli, garlic and lime. I replaced sugar with honey.

thumb_IMG_5792_1024 After that I served a salad. Spicy Chicken and green papaya salad

  • It’s always nice to prepare a salad at a big group guest dinner as you can prepare the salad ahead of time.

thumb_IMG_5806_1024 The main course is a New Zealand Lamb Rack with Vermicelli Salad and Stir fry flower chives. New Zealand Lamb Rack with Vermicelli Salad and Stir fry flower chives

  • The vermicelli in the dish is served at room temperature and again it was prepared ahead of time. I just put all the lamb on the grill and then quick stir fry the chives at the same time to make sure I serve everything hot (except the vermicelli of course)

thumb_IMG_5832_1024 And after that we served a mango sticky rice as dessert (When I remember to take picture all the mango sticky rice is gone.. haha). It was a full dinner but it was relatively light and healthy. Perfect for this summer weather. More importantly I think all the guests had a good, chilled out time. It is very fun to cook at home, even for your friends. So next time when you have a friends’ dinner gathering, consider to do it at home.

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