Banquet tables filled with various dishes and meats and all sorts of things to eat and drink come to mind when you think of a feast, and that is not too far from the truth. But I make bold to state that it is not enough for the table to be laden with assorted platters; each dish in itself ought to be well prepared and beautifully presented so as to ensure a memorable gastronomic experience.
In my quest to create a gastronomic experience for Femi’s birthday get-together this past Saturday, I planned to make 8 dishes and I was very excited about the prospect; until the heat (literally) was on – but I am getting ahead of myself. So I decided to make a “mediterrasian” spread; I knew that mixing Mediterranean and asian menus would appeal to the Nigerian palette as well as offer something interesting as far as regular “party food” in Nigeria goes. So I pulled up some of Femi’s favourite dishes and threw in a few new ones and the menu was set! I decided to make chicken curry and steamed rice, Thai Style Spicy Jollof Rice, Chicken Piglets, Spaghetti and Meat Balls (with pesto on the side), Braciole, Summer “Floral” Salad, Beef Chowmein, Plantain Batonettes and Potato Casserole.
With my menu in hand, I set about purchasing the ingredients I would need for my feast; for the Braciole and Beef Chowmein, I headed to our neighbourhood Spar Super market where Stephen the Butcher gave me the nicest cuts of Sirloin and Rump steak (a handy tip; it helps to talk to your butcher about the cuts of meat you need, he could help you tenderize, slice and dice them to your requirements too!). Between Shoprite and Spar, I was able to buy most of what I needed – bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, bacon, chicken thighs and drummettes, spring onions, cucumbers, carrots, basil, parsely, lemons, egg noodles, basmati rice, Coconut milk and parmesan cheese. The local open market provided items like Plaintains, red onions, ginger etc.
The night before the feast, I decided to make the chicken curry so that the flavours would have settled and be well infused by the next day. I also marinated the chicken for the Chicken Piglets and the Casserole.
Given the amount of food I intended to roll out I had to order my activities like an assembly line to ensure that everything turned out well. It got very hot in the kitchen with all the burners and the oven going and at some point I was convinced that I had over reached myself but I pressed on and in the end, with the help my ever supportive hubby and my friends Joke, Morenike and Debola who were so gracious and helped with setting the table and washing up, the feast was set up!
The feast also consisted of delish cup cakes by Cup Cake Couture (run by Uzo Orimalade) and Hans & Rene (run by Tayo Bolodeoku). If you noticed that there was no pesto in the spread pictured above and below, your observation would be accurate 🙂 ; I decided to leave it out….The chicken curry is also not easly discernable in the pictures because it was served in the white coverd dishes (I promise it was 🙂 )
There you have it; a veritabel feast!