Thursday, August 2

Surprise Dinner

I wanted to do something nice for our friends Wendy and Mike. They are such loving and selfless people who always inspire us to be better (and all we do is mooch from their garden!)

Besides engaging in stimulating conversation, sharing their pizza-making secrets and competing in games of SET, they are also the type of people who readily give away fresh produce from their garden, allow the use of their car for furniture-moving, and always send us home with stunning home-baked goods (Wendy says: "Friends don't let friends get fat. Now take the cheesecake home already!)

I decided to cook them an anniversary dinner. Not just any kind of dinner, mind you, but an eight-course tasting menu with the theme of "Around the World". And, to give them some time for themselves (wink, wink), I picked up their two lovely daughters at 9am on the day in question and prepared the celebration with the girls. It was a blast.

The girls and I spent two weeks plotting in secret - the girls provided menu and decor ideas, as well as an entertainment schedule. Last Friday, they spent the day choosing the appropriate plates, making construction-paper flags and decorations, and mostly importantly, cooking - making dips, operating the appliances, stirring, mixing and tasting the progress of the meals (I got: "Eww, I don't like that" and "Mmm, that tastes like lemonade" and "What's an amuse bouche?"). It was so much fun!

Our dining table was carefully transported to the living room and the kitchen was cordoned off with an old drape, to which we taped two signs, made by each of the girls: "Eploiees Only" and "Inplogeis Only." The girls worked as waitresses and entertainers: in between serving the dishes, they played the piano and sang (in multiple languages!). Unbelievably cute.

Unfortunately, since I was busy cooking, plating and managing two kids under 10yrs old, I forgot to take photos of many of the dishes :( Here's the menu though with a few of the pics I did take:

Amuse Bouche - Baby Insalata Caprese

Spain. Gazpacho in a Cucumber Bowl (photos are from the making of...)

Mexico. Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad with Tortilla and Chipotle Cream (the most stylized dish of the night)
China. Steamed Pork Dumplings (or Veg Dumplings for Mike) - I had made these before

Morocco. Minty Couscous with Lemon Salmon (or Grilled Portobello for Mike)

Malaysia. Spicy Clear Broth Soup with Glass Noodles and Tofu

France. Selection of Pastries Purchased from a local Bakery (with chocolate sauce and ice cream)

Arctic. Sugar Granita with a Snowflake Cookie


  1. What a lovely day that must have been! I love the attention to detail you spent on this surprise dinner. The musical interludes betweem each new dish was such a beautiful idea. I also really liked the Mexican cactus cutout made out of flatbread. Priceless Anna! I think you and Ian and the girls are on to a new wave catering solution!

  2. Thanks Tennille :) It really was a lot of fun cooking with the girls (age 7 and 9). I'll pass on your message to them too.

  3. I would like to thank the author for publishing this great information here. Your article is very informative and provides great tips for the catering solution

  4. If you are keen to enjoy the cooking process, it's absolutely crucial that you are able to rely on the set of cookware you have. best stainless steel cookware