Let the challenge begin!
Those words "Cook Off" are still ringing in my ear, and I don't think I am ready to face those words for quite some time. When there are food involved, it is almost effortless to get a group of food bloggers together for a dinner party, but with a twist. Ellie, Linda and I thought about having a dinner party but we also wanted to have a bit of fun instead of just another pot luck, so we decided to have a cook off because there is nothing better or more evil than putting everyone's dish on chopping block to be judged and scored. But the real challenge lies within the ingredients and how to incorporate it into our dishes with only one rule - savoury dish must use "fruit", and dessert must use "vegetable".
But of course the food bloggers are no quitters, it really brought the competitiveness out of everyone and ready to share our culinary skills. We make food, not war. But have to say, I was traumatised for one whole month trying to come up with a dessert that uses vegetable! I had my mind set on using eggplant as the vegetable in my dessert but not until the last minute when they ruled out most of the seeded-vegetables as fruits, including eggplant! Ridiculous! So I had to add an extra component to my dessert by using purple carrot to make it qualified.
Ellie kindly offered her beautiful home to be the battle royale stadium, and the kitchen was already taken over by feisty food bloggers cooking away when I arrived. It was a very hectic evening I must say, everyone had the last minute stage fright and frantically preparing their dishes in the kitchen. Helen the flamer, pulled out the big gun and started blow torching her ribs, Ellie pan fried the pork belly skin and the hot oil just started splattered everywhere, a strategic move to kick all food bloggers out of the kitchen! Then there are the girls who like to be on all four plating their desserts in the carpeted rumpus room. But somehow everything still ran smooth without delay and we able to finish 11 courses just before 10.30pm.
We kicked off the evening with five savoury dishes:
Dish 1: Pumpkin Soup with port melon and vanilla creme fraiche by Minh of Eat, Show and Tell.
Dish 2: Triple Melon Salmon Tartare by Richard Here Comes The Food.
Dish 4: Twice-cooked orange salt rubbed pork belly with toffee-crisp crackling, caramelised cherry and brandy glaze, potato and apple mash with smoked bacon and savoy cabbage with smoky bacon by Ellie Almost Bourdain.
Dish 3: Korean Fried Chicken - twice fried chicken thigh pieces with a pineapple chili sauce by Simon The Heart of Food.
Dish 5: "Pig Goes On A Holiday" - marinated pork ribs in lychee and soy served with lychee and green olives by Grab Your Fork.
Surprisingly, we finished all five savory dishes within an hour! Which means it left us heaps of time to plate our desserts. The girls were in to win and went all out and making tasting plates! So here are the six desserts we've tasted:
Dish 1: Trio of beetroot: Chocolate and beetroot macaron, beetroot chocolate brownie with beetroot ice cream and a beetroot lollipop with fizzy sherbert powder by Raspberri Cupcakes.
Dish 2: Tasting Plate of Rhubarb: stewed rhubarb financier, roast rhubarb crumble, lemon shortbread and rhubarb jam and a layered gateau of strawberry gelée, rhubarb mousse and chocolate sponge by Karen citrus and candy.
Dish 3: Rainbow Vegie Layer Cake: beetroot and chocolate, carrot and spinach with cream cheese frosting from the queen of multi-coloured cakes, Chocolatesuze.
Dish 4: Fennel Crème Caramel with fennel mousse & beetroot sorbet by One Bite More.
Dish 5: Eggplant Chocolate Tart with candied carrot, purple carrot ice cream with citrus peels and roasted almond by me.
Dish 6: Caramelised onion panacotta with burnt butter ice cream and olive macaron by Linda of Eat, Show and Tell.
And the winners are :
Winner of Savoury: Ellie of Almost Bourdain with her super-duper pork belly!
Winner of Sweet: Steph of Raspberri Cupcakes with her beetroot
Most Outrageous: Linda of Eat, Show and Tell with her most outrageous but definitely interesting cameralised onion panna cotta.
Was it a fun night? I think the aftermath says it all: