Last Saturday, I had a wonderful chance of finally meeting some of these 'bonuses' - 6 foodie bloggers from the London area (well all over UK actually). Johanna of The Passionate Cook was kind enough to provide her kitchen and her house for our gathering. I certainly enjoyed the company, the conversation and of course the food. Not to mention the choice wines which were provided by our lone male member, Andrew of Spitoon. He was gracious enough to educate us on the fine points of wine drinking even of the origins, nuances, and type of food that goes with them. Very educational, indeed. A favourite by everyone was the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. While I also loved the Cava and the sweet dessert wines Johanna provided. For the complete list of what wines we imbibed, please see Andrew's blog.
On to the food, the theme was tapas and antipasti for ease of serving and minimum prep time. In the picture above from upper left to right, top to bottom:
- shaved courgettes antipasti - brought by Jeanne of Cook Sister (I forgot to take a picture of her mushroom ones). They were very nice and refreshing to eat on that sunny day.
- goat's cheese torta - by moi
- chocolate mousse with praline - one of the 3 gorgeous desserts from Keiko of Nordljus
- creme brulee - from Keiko which is probably the best I have ever tasted. It had that right balance of eggyness, creaminess, and sweetness. Truly heavenly.
- cherry tomatoes and mushrooms - by Johanna; great salads on sticks
- pork-chicken emapanada - from me again (will post recipe later)
- tuna-chickpea salad - by Jenny of Pertelote; really yummy one with that great smoky tinge from the paprika
- asparagus wrapped in parma ham with parmesan - from Johanna as well; delightful combination of flavours
- tiramisu - from Keiko again. Love that creamy confection with the Kahlua soaked sponge layer instead of the usual lady fingers
We were quite a varied lot, me from the Philippines, Johanna from Austria, Jeanne from South Africa, Keiko from Japan, Andrew and Jenny the natives :), and Meg from Australia (or is it New Zealand?). I must say I did enjoy meeting them all and (for most of them) being able to put faces to the blogs I read. Thank you all for the food and company and special thank you again to Johanna and her family for putting up with us. As we were leaving there were talks of having another EB this time a picnic probably in the Henley area - Andrew's turf.
Meanwhile, let me post the bread spread I brought. This was an oft requested recipe in the rec.food.cooking usenet group way back when I was a lurker years ago. My interest was piqued enough for me to try it. It was a doddle to make for a really tasty treat for breads and biscuits. Unfortunately, the talented lady who thought up this recipe died a few years ago. Wherever you are Susan Hattie Steinsapir, thank you for sharing this. You have made a lot of people happy and full. :)
Goat Cheese Torta
170 g goat cheese
115 g cream cheese
2 Tbsp minced or mashed garlic (at least)
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup finely chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper [optional]
- Remove rind of goat cheese and mash it. Mix well with cream cheese and garlic. Taste and add salt and ground pepper if preferred.
- Line a small rounded bowl (about 2-3 cups size) with plastic cling film. Put about 1/3 of the goat cheese mixture into the bowl, pat level.
- Tip the pesto on top, pat level.
- Put another 1/3 of the goat cheese mixture on top of the pesto, try to pat level as best you can without mixing it in with the pesto.
- Put the sundried tomato on top of this, spread evenly.
- Finally top with the last 1/3 of the goat cheese mixture and pat level again.
- Cover with another piece of cling film. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).
- To serve, remove the cling film on top and invert onto a serving platter. Carefully remove the other cling film lining its bottom. Decorate with herbs and serve with sliced baguettes or other breads.