I’ve never been a fan of the colder seasons. I hate feeling cold and being wet. The weather just makes everyone miserable. So I was extremely pleased when Spring came knocking on our doors (despite the wobbly start in the first week), as it only meant a few things.. Beach, BBQs and soaking up the sun! Over the weekend, a group of hungry food bloggers gathered for a BBQ to kick off the warm season and it was a brilliant day for it too! Nothing beats chillaxing in the sun with good food, booze and great company.
We were welcomed to the C&C household with a sign for a restaurant. Scattered throughout the house were signs of delectable malaysian specialites to be had on the menu. With malaysians bloggers onboard, I knew I was in for a real treat (as I’m not too familiar with malaysian food).
So we start off with some drinks.. Suze brings in a watermelon keg for this festivity. That’s right! It is a watermelon with a plastic tap! The watermelon has been hollowed out (which took her about an hour to do so) and a tap has been attached to it. Immediate reactions from the bloggers were “That’s so awesome!” “WOW! It really works!“.. Equal volumes of watermelon juice, lemonade/passionfruit soda and moscato were added to the keg to mix up a refreshing drink. (Read about how to make it here).
Throughout the day Karen made several jugs of Pims and lemonade topped with pieces of fruit; they were really easy to drink, I think I almost had a whole jug to myself!
With drinks in hand, most of us were bathing in the sunshine on the picnic rug in the backyard when Chef Lex comes to bring us the Alaskan crab with lime butter sauce that he had prepared. How fab is it to start off a BBQ with this?! The moment we all dug into the crab silence fell as we pried open the shells to get to the succulent crab meat. Although Lex had pre-cut the shells for us, it was unbelievably soft, which made for even easier eating. The accompanying sauce which was a simple combination of butter, lime juice, Japanese chilli powder, garlic, pepper and dill, was so wonderful; we all wished we had bread to soak up the remaining sauce.
With a kick-ass starter, it was time to get the rest of the BBQ cranking. Billy brought along disposable BBQs which were about $6 each, the impressive thing about these BBQs was the fact that they lasted for a few hours. So as we were waiting for the main BBQ to get started Billy threw on some beef and chicken satay sticks and within a few minutes they were done and served with a homemade satay sauce.
Karen woos us with her homemade bakkwa, a malaysian pork jerky, which was grilled resulting in caramelised pieces of porky heaven. Mmmm…
Simon brings along bulgogi ssam, which are DIY Korean lettuce wraps with Korean BBQ beef, rice, his mother’s homemade kimchi (chilli-pickled cabbage) and ssam jang (a fermented chilli paste). A light yet satisfying dish and I loved the kimchi. Simon, I want your mother’s recipe for kimchi!
The chef amazes us again by serving up some ocean trout cooked on the BBQ with some blood orange and fennel (recipe here). And who would have thought you could get fish skin crackling? It was super crispy and it was very entertaining to see bloggers give up their cameras to fight over the pieces of crackling (you can see some of that action on the right hand side panel of the above photo). The ocean trout was amazingly succulent and flavoursome.
For sides, Karen whips up some fried mee hoon (fried vermicelli noodles with fishballs) and a kick-ass potato salad with broad beans, dill and mustard dressing whilst Billy provided rojak and grilled stuffed tofu. The rojak was new to me, it is a traditional malaysian salad of tart green mango, sweet pineapple, cucumber, tofu (?), cooked kangkung (water spinach) and bean sprouts; it is tossed in a slightly salty and sour sauce and sprinkled with crushed peanuts. The tofu puffs were grilled before stuffed with a mixture of stir-fried bean sprouts and kangkung.
All this food was certainly bringing upon a food coma for all of us, even Karen’s dog Orpheus felt the affects of this gastronomical feasting. We probably tired him out too; all he wanted was a relaxing weekend lapping up the wonderful sunshine, but instead gets bombarded with crazy food bloggers and gets food dripped all over him.
After a short breather we move onto the first course of desserts – yes you read that right, first course! Shez brings along her homemade kaya kuih, which are steamed bite-size desserts made of coconut jam (the green colour is due to pandan flavouring) and glutinous rice. The coconut jam is custard-like and sweet but the addition of the rice tones this sweetness down a notch.
Helen and Minh were about to make us some chendol; a dessert of coconut milk, green worm-like jelly, shaved ice and syrup, but Helen wasn’t successful in making the chendol (the green jelly) so Plan B was to make ice kacang instead. There was a production line of corn, grass jelly, red beans, lychees, jackfruit, palm seeds, evaporated milk and 2 types of syrups (rose and palm sugar) place out on a bench for everyone to help themselves.
This was my contribution to the BBQ; Greek shortbread cookies (recipe here). I think I preferred them as balls because you can simply pop them into your mouth and you don’t have to deal with shaping them into crescents. I also brought along a bottle of arancello (orange liquer) which was based off this recipe, but instead of using lemon rind, orange rind was used. We placed it in the freezer for it to chill but it turned into an awesome alcoholic slushy – perfect for the warmer season I think.
Yas brings along portuguese tarts from Sweet Belem. Which questions why I’ve never had these before. These had got to be the BEST portuguese tarts I’ve ever had! The pastry was uber flakey; it was really satisfying hearing a loud crunch as I bit into one of these babies, and the custard was silky smooth. I am salivating again at the thought of having more of these tarts.
I think it was at this point where we all felt like fatties and crashed on the sofa watching bits of a Z-grade movie. Linda and Howard rock up and Linda starts getting into action in the kitchen to whip up 3kgs of fried chicken. They were coated with flour and fried to perfection.
And to end this epic BBQ we finish off with some Mirragong Grass-fed wagyu beef which had been kindly donated to us by Tim from Urban Food Market. The boys were still having problems getting the BBQ started so out comes the hair dryer and that somehow got it going (check out Yas working the hair dryer!)
I unfortunately wasn’t able to take any photos of the steak because I was too full to move but all I can say is grass-fed is so much better than grain-fed. I wish we weren’t too full to be able to appreciate it more.
We finish off the night with a moscato tasting of 3 types of moscato (courtesy of Richard). At this point, I was busting from the seams and couldn’t fit in anymore.
I had a fantastic day filled with fantastic food and great company. Thank you Karen and The Captain for hosting this epic feast. I’m so looking forward to the next one!