Monday, January 18, 2010

Cooking January

Rachel and Julia chat over a glass of
De Bortoli Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay

Sunday night was our inaugural Cooking Your Calendar dinner party – a raging success as far as we were concerned. Our guests, Kate Murphy, Vincent Sheehan, Don Cameron and Julia Park arrived to the delicious aroma of Emeri De Bortoli's recipe Pollo in Tecia (pan cooked chicken), at our dinner party venue in Kings Cross.

Our slow-cooking king, Pete, asked to be head chef this month, which worked well as the tiny kitchen is only built for one. He used two organic chickens sectioned by our local butcher and herbs picked fresh from Rachel’s Dad’s vegetable garden in the Blue Mountains. Pete can never be trusted to follow a recipe to a T, and true to form he freestyled it a bit.

Pollo in Tecia (pan cooked chicken)

With the chook doing its own thing, simmering in the tomatoes and wine, we headed upstairs to the rooftop terrace to kick off the evening with a cheeky glass of bubbles - De Bortoli’s Windy Peak Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay. With fruit bats flying overhead we toasted the start of our year-long project. Our guests were genuinely excited to be inaugural invitees to our project as we talked about some approaches we’re workshopping for future dinner parties. Julia shamelessly angled for a February invite when she caught wind that our next dinner party is scheduled for Valentine’s Day.

By the time Pete served dinner on the roof, the lights of Sydney had come to life and everyone was deep in conversation amid the sounds of the street below. There was definitely a creative vibe to the evening, with a filmmaker, film producer, curator, designer and several artists around the table. So conversation flowed easily as we all made connections and exchanged banter. When the discussion turned to recent films we’d seen, Daniel was disgraced for being the only one not to like Avatar (though Drew did chime in that he'd read a review about how it was seemingly ‘racist’ in tone).

Keeping the film theme alive, an idea was voiced about famous food scenes from movies making a great recipe book. Vincent thought the ‘french toast’ scene from Kramer vs Kramer could work; Drew proposed the ‘offal and human flesh’ scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an edgier option (though only Pete agreed); while Rachel dreamed of cooking every food ever mentioned in Enid Blyton's books. Clearly our ideas are a bit half-baked (no pun intended).

January's chef, Pete, in a product placement moment

The De Bortoli calendar recommended teaming the Pollo in Tecia with the Sero Chardonnay Pinot Grigio. Several glasses later, we were all in very cheery agreement that this combo was well matched. With this, Drew hoofed it to the local bottle shop for replenishments.

Risking sore heads on a ‘school night’, the party dispersed around midnight as a Chardonnay eclipse enveloped the apartment. Already today in the ‘wash up’, Drew and Rachel have been fiercely debating the guest list for February (which we will announce in a week). Do we play Valentine’s Day cupids and matchmake our single friends over glasses of love potion 12.1% proof?

Post-dinner chatting back in the apartment

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