Thursday, December 23, 2010

Before we go our separate ways

Since Christmas last year, it has become tradition to gather at the "JJJ flat" (Jack, Jai, Jamie + Cam and Starsh) for Christmas dinner before we all go our separate ways for the holidays. Seeing my childhood friends gathered together for such a meal reminds me of just how grown up we've all become.

Grown ups preparing salad and eating crumbed chicken

Our parents no longer have to come up with ideas for snacks to take for shared lunches -we do that all by ourselves. Everyone who attends has a hand in the meal -bringing a plate, doing dishes and providing good conversation.

The good thing about grown up dinners is that guests realise that it's an actual meal and make an effort to outdo each other with their dishes -no packets of chips allowed!

Finished Chocolate Cobbler -it was really dark so I couldn't take a great picture..

I had decided against the randomiser and opted instead for a recipe I had seen on pioneer woman a few months ago. The chocolate cobbler looked simply divine and Jason begged me to make it. The recipe was quite easy to prepare and was absolutely delicious! The only trouble I had was that the oven dish I used was too big for the recipe and, hence, was forced to double it (but it's OK, the 20 servings of chocolate cobbler had be demolished by the end of the night). The recipe is at the end of this post.

Front to back, left to right: vegetable curry, also veggie curry, pavlova, ambrosia, lemon and sour cream cake, grated cheese, chilli, spinach and feta quiche, salad, crumbed chicken, chocolate brownie.

My mouth started watering as soon as we entered the flat. The smells that were coming out of that kitchen were absolutely delightful! When my eyes finally adjusted to the dimly lit kitchen, I spied Jai at the stove making his veggie curry, Ronen and Jo preparing the salad and a heaps of people crowded around a giant platter of, what I later found out, was crumbed chicken (thanks to Ronen's pro baking skills). Note to self: must crumb more chicken. More often.

Ronen's crumbed chicken (sorry for the lighting. I wish I was more pro)

Time: not sure. Status: really really hungry and wishing they would hurry up with the salad so I could grab a plate.

The spread before us was pretty magnificent. I didn't even know where to start. I just knew that I wanted a little bit of everything. 

Jai's: Veggie Curry #1 -chickpeas, green beans, onions
Jai's Veggie Curry #2 -capsicum, onions, cauliflower
 I am of a belief that a meal is not a meal without meat but Jai could persuade me otherwise if he cooked me food every day. As you may remember, I'm very weird about onion -it has to be cooked right the way through or I feel like vomiting. I did the opposite of vomit. I went back for more.

Jamie's Chilli
I'm a little ashamed to say that I didn't realise this was chilli until I saw Jamie have it over nachos. I treated it as a curry and had it over my rice which was just as nice (heaps of people copied me and had it over rice so it's OK).

Liz's Spinach and Feta Quiche
This was one of my favourites. Liz used flaky pastry instead of the traditional shortcrust pastry which gave it a lighter texture -perfect for the summer. 

Sarah's Pavlova and Ambrosia
Even after stuffing myself to bloatation, I was still looking forward to dessert. Again, we all got a little bit of everything in our bowls to fill our second stomachs (the one reserved for dessert).

My dessert bowl -chocolate cobbler, vanilla ice cream, ambrosia, pavlova, lemon cake (my trifle was on Jason's plate)
I was absolutely blown away by the calibre of pre-separation-Christmas dinner. I wish I brought my extra stretchy eating pants. I wish I owned extra stretchy eating pants. I must remember to buy some extra stretchy eating pants. The only downside was finding what I think was a hair in Grace's cake.. She denies this.

Grace hair? Mmmm..

I was more impressed with the way old friends came together and worked towards a dinner -how far we've come!

Cameron manually whipping cream for his trifle (unfortunately I was so excited that I started eating it before I could take a picture..)

Recipe for incredibly easy and incredibly yummy chocolate cobbler:

Ingredients -Brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, milk, butter (later to be melted), salt, white sugar, baking powder and vanilla essence

- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 7 Tbs cocoa powder, divided
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I always like to put extra)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 180°C

Step 2

2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.

Step 3

3. Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Step 4 with glad wrap.

4. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. 

5. In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

6. Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!

7. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.

Ice cream. Highly recommended.

8. Let stand for a little while and serve with ice cream and pour the gooey centre over the top. Trust me -you'll need the ice cream as this is super sweet!

Note: stopped at step 5 and took my separate parts over to the flat and completed the recipe there. This way, the cobbler would be nice and warm by the time everyone was ready for dessert. I highly recommend this option if you are taking this to a party -let it cook while you're eating!

I'm off to bed now as I'm flying out to China in 7 hours for more food adventures. Blogspot is banned there so I'll have to find a way to stealth blog. Stay tuned for weird food you probably never want to try!

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