Saturday, April 17, 2010

Birthday BBQ

On Friday evening I headed down to Rakaia for a barbecue at Bex's place, the occasion being the celebration of her 30th birthday. Naturally, I wanted to make some sort of contribution to the meat for the barbie, and Bex had requested I bring a platter of nibbles.

Deciding what kind of platter to put together wasn't difficult - the Edmonds book has an antipasto platter (p144) in the international dishes chapter. The 'recipe' includes artichoke hearts, olives, smoked beef/pork, tasty cheese, cherry tomatoes and salami. I did keep quite closely to this list, but made a few changes.

Firstly, the artichoke hearts: I don't like them, and they're really expensive. So I scrapped those. I substituted some stuffed bell peppers from the supermarket deli (also quite expensive, but they were on special) which both looked and tasted way better than artichokes. I also added a camembert cheese and some little mini gherkins. The only other alteration to the recipe was in using stuffed green olives instead of black ones.

Since I was heading off to Rakaia straight from work, I brought all the ingredients with me and left them in the work fridge for the day. Around 3.30pm, (nearly the end of the workday for me), I dragged out my platter and nibbles and started assembling the antipasto at my desk. It didn't take long to put together, and to my surprise, I hadn't left anything at home! I even remembered a cheese knife and some plastic wrap to cover the platter for the trip to Rakaia.

My other contribution was of the barbecue meat variety. I considered several options along the lines of marinated chicken wings or similar, but since chicken can sometimes be a bit dodgy on a barbie, I eventually decided to make plain meat patties, or 'hamburger steaks', as the Edmonds book calls them (p125).

Another fairly straightforward recipe - just mince, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, egg, pepper, and good old onion soup mix. Remembering that the last recipe I made with onion soup mix was very salty, I only used half the packet in my mince mixture.

A five-minute job, really: I mixed up the ingredients, shaped them into patties, with the help of a little flour to counter the stickiness, and packed them into a container to take to Rakaia. These also spent the day in the office fridge, and managed to arrive in Rakaia in reasonable condition.

Both the antipasto and the hamburger steaks were well received at the barbecue. Following barbecue tradition, we sat around filling ourselves up with nibbles and discussing life's big questions, like: "What kind of potato chip is best? Thick cut, flat cut, or standard?" So by the time the mains were cooked, we were all stuffed already.

Big ups to the menfolk who braved a chilly Autumn evening to man the barbie and provide us with our mains. My patties were among huge pile of meaty offerings, cooked to charred barbecue perfection. Well done boys.

As well as the meat, there were several lovely salads and desserts, so by the time I left, I was feeling uncomfortably full. But that's my own fault for over-indulging: It was all just so good! All in all, it was a very pleasant evening - thanks Bex and Richard!

And by the way, Bex: Happy Birthday!

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