In a month’s time, we’ll start to shop for Christmas gifts and decorations and before that, there is Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s hard to imagine that we are actually in the final quarter of the year and it makes me wonder where did all my time go? Before I start making a list of gifts to hand out to friends and family and thinking about my New Year resolution, I have more pressing issue at hand – ENTERTAINING. Oh yes, I’m sure everyone has this love-hate relationship when it comes to entertaining guests.
(a) Catching up with friends and family
(b) Food and lots of it
(c) For once, I actually get tired of non-stop talking (to my other half’s surprise)
(d) Flaunt one’ s culinary skill or share your favourite recipes with people you love
(e) The possibility of leftovers
(a) The aftermath of entertaining – tidy and washing up (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher like me)
(b) The trickiness of cooking large quantity. Even with the recipes that you’re most confortable with, it can be difficult to maintain the same taste consistency as when you cook in a smaller portion.
(c) Depending the type of food and the number of people you are entertaining, it may stretch your budget a little.
Despite my “hate” list on entertaining, I don’t actually hate it. I often think people who like to cook also enjoy the pleasure of entertaning and I’m defnitely one of them. To get around my ”slight displeasure” about entertaining, here’s what I usually do:-
(a) Party plates & cutleries and disposal serving trays. Probably not the best looking way to serve, but hey I’m not complaining.
(b) Pick recipes that can be cook ahead of time (preferable a day or before). When it is not possible, I’ll try to get prep work out of the way i.e. sliced the veggies & meat a day before.
(c) There is no implied rules of entertaining that you have to serve expensive food to impress your guests. It’s one of the moments that you need to be creative with the ingredients you have in your pantry or even freezer.
(d) If cooking everything is not your ‘thing”, there’s alway potluck.
Anyway before I end this post, I shall leave you with the potato & peas stuffed pastry. If you are familiar with Indian cuisines, this may remind you of samosa. But since my version does not look anything like a samosa/singhara, hence the generic name of this recipe.
Potato & Peas Stuffed Pastry
(loosely adapted from A Little Taste Of India)
Makes about 20 pastry
1 large potato, diced 1cm dice
1 palmful frozen peas
1 tbsp ready-made curry paste (use less if it’s too hot); or the following spice mixture
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt to taste
250g self raising flour
2 tbsps vegetable oil
I would suggest to make the filling first.
1. In a small pot, boil diced potato and peas in salted water until potato is soft. Leave about 1 tbsp of water and drain the rest.
2. In the same pot, mix potato and peas with curry paste/spice mixture. Place the pot over low heat and saute the potato mixture to ‘wake up’ the spices. Add salt if necessary. When the spices becomes aromatic, stop the cooking and set aside to cool. (If it happens to stick at the bottom of the pan when sauteing, add a little water)
1. Sift flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
2. Add vegetable oil into the flour. Use the tip of your fingers and rub the oil and flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add water, a little at a time, to make a pliable dough.
4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough over a cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. Do not refrigerate the dough.
5. Roll the dough in a cylinder shape (picture below), about 4cm in diameter.
6. Use a knife cut the dough into 20 portions or you can cut the dough as you go.
7. Take one portion, flatten with you palm (see photo below). Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to your desired thickness.
8. Place about a teaspoon full of the filling in the center of the dough.
9. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edge the pastry with your fingers to tightly seal the edge. Then use a fork to form some patterns around the edge.
10. Repeat step 6 to 9 with the remaining dough and filling.
11. Shallow/deep fry the pastry in hot oil (when you drop a pinch of the dough and it begins to sizzle). Fry until the pastries until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack/ paper towel and keep them warm in a low heated oven.
By the way, if you have any tips or recipes to make my entertaining life easier, please share. I’d love to hear your ideas.
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