Thursday, 22 December 2005

London Food Bloggers' Christmas Party

London Food Bloggers' Xmas Party
Last Saturday a group of food bloggers from across England gathered in Johanna's lovely house in Twickenham to have a Christmas do and swap delectable cookies. It was an all-girls' affair which included (besides Johanna) Zabeena, Joanna, Jenni, Melissa and her friend Wompe, Jeanne, Martina (Johanna's caterer friend) and me of course.

We first had delicious bratwurst with sauerkraut (which I forgot to take a picture of). The sauerkraut is probably the first I tasted that I liked. Often, the ones I had before were either too sour or too spicy for me. But this one that Johanna said she got from Waitrose was just right. Then she got out platters of sliced Austrian ham which we had in a cheese fondue with chunks of crusty bread. Very nice!

The assembled array of cookies brought by everyone were then scrutinized and heartily eaten with mulled wine or spiced tea. Predictably, they were all yummy! My cookies were not worth mentioning since I am not satisfied with the first two. Well actually, I had a mini disaster when I tried making pilipit (a traditional Filipino twisted crunchy cookie) when it came out of the deep fryer as doughy (like a donut but tougher) and not crunchy or brittle at all. Could it be the baking powder in the recipe? So I had to chuck that in the bin. *sigh*

Okay so on to my next disaster ... err ... I mean next cookie. I attempted to make Sanikulas and got a recipe thru the kindness of Karen. The dough looked okay, so I made them into small balls and since I don’t have a cookie mould, I pressed it flat with the tines of a fork. It was easier said than done because the dough became quite rubbery. But I pressed on and when I tasted the first batch it was distinctly bland. I didn't think there was enough sugar in it. So I rolled the next batch in sugar before pressing them. Needless to say, the resulting Sanikulas were bleechh ... edible but not something I would be proud of. I should have named it Sanikulas via Santacelia due to the number of changes I made to the original recipe.

The other one I made was the chocolate marzipan cookie. In the recipe, it had measurements both in weight and volume. I decided to follow the volume which was a mistake since there appeared to be too much butter so the dough was too sticky. To correct it, I had to add more and more flour which in turn diluted the chocolate flavour. Then the topping should have been drizzled white chocolate but the one I used was more for eating rather than for cooking/baking so it was not runny enough causing a lumpy looking topping. With these disasters, it's a good thing I made some coconut macaroons whose recipe I am absolutely confident about. I guess the lesson here is not to prepare recipes for the first time when serving it to other people, just stick to tried and tested ones to avoid unnecessary stress.

Going back to the EB, we also had fun swapping cookies just before we left. And Johanna gave us a taste of her homemade choco-mocha liquor - it was scrumptious! I gotta have Johanna's recipe even if I have to beg. ;) Admittedly, I had a nice time that day not only were the food and drinks wonderful but the company and conversation were lively. A very big thank you to Johanna and her family for their generosity and graciousness in hosting this event.

Merry Christmas to one and all !!

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