Food bloggers spring party – BBQ at Citrus and Candy's

On a bright sunny Saturday afternoon, could this be:

  • A) illegal boat people entering Australian waters, swelling the detention centre at Christmas Island,
  • B) the police raided Pussy Galore, an underground club in Parramatta overnight,
  • C) secret eyes-wide-shut party at a secret garden,
  • D) selling pirated DVDs, LVs, GUCCIs counterfeits at a secret location,

or E) A group of very hungry food bloggers hording around at the backyard, happily digging into a big bowl of delicious Alaskan Crab cooked in lemon butter and dill.

When a group of friends get together, “EAT” is what we do best, and when we eat, we eat a lot! We had our first spring BBQ party at Chateau de Karen recently, and I can foresee there will be a lot of BBQs coming up this summer.

The Alaskan crab was a starter whilst the boys trying to get the BBQ going ‘Macguyver’ style. A generous offer by Lex, our resident apprentice chef. He went to Sydney Fish Market that morning straight after 10-days work roster and ready to cook up a storm for us again. We sat around a picnic rug, soaking up the sunshine as we ripped open crab claws with our fingers, sucking the juicy salty flesh as the sauce dripping down our hands and chins.

Can’t have a BBQ party without some cooling pimms and punches! Not hookers with fists, I meant the drinkable ones. Suze had us in awe with her creativity, a $40 D-I-Y by screwing a plastic tap into the bottom of a hollow watermelon and there you have it, a watermelon keg!

Suze made a quick’n easy fizzy watermelon punch by pouring equal parts of watermelon juice, lemonade and moscato. It sure got the party started!

Whilst the boy had not much luck with the BBQ, I was rather glad to bring along two disposable barbecue that I bought from Bunnings for only $6 each. It worked like a treat and fired up in no time. I am not even sure it all started but the BBQ ended up with a Malaysian delicacies themed party.

I’ve prepared chicken and beef satay skewers for the occasion, silly me forgot to soak the skewers in water prior, ended up with a few sticks just burned off instantly. A trick I have learned to brush oil onto the satay sticks while grilling is by using a lemon grass, simply smash the end bit into a fiber-ish brush.

Karen’s homemade bak kwa (grilled marinated cured pork mince jerky) was incredible! The slabs of jerky is sweet and salty from fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, five spice, sugar. Although the others prefer the tender thickness of the jerky, I actually prefer it to be thinner and grilled to a firmer chewiness. Hopefully she will post the recipe on her blog soon, it sounded so easy to make.

I prefer the one-mouthful-size satay sticks, it cooks more evenly and quicker, also the extra charred caramalised bits. Dip in satay sauce, ohh la la!

Apart from the delicious Bak Kaw, Karen also stir-fried up some Bee Hoon, a Malaysian Hokkien dish with thin rice noodles and fish balls; and a refreshing potato salad with green peas and broad beans, with wholegrain mustard dressing.

While the disposable BBQ grill still going, I also quickly toasted up some fried tofu puffs, then stuffed with a blanched water spinach and bean sprouts in a spicy rojak sauce.

Rojak is one of my favourite Malaysian afternoon snack. It is a refreshing salad of sour green mango, tangy pineapple, refreshing cucumber, blanched kangkung water spinach and bean sprouts, all mixed and doused in a hot and pungent Rojak sauce, a blend of tamarind paste, palm sugar and belacan shrimp paste. Usually we also add prawn crackers for the crunch, but I couldn’t get it here in Sydney and replaced with fried dough yiew tiau.

In the midst of food coma, I totally missing the photo opportunities of Simon’s Bulgogi Ssam, a Korean barbecue beef strips wrapped in lettuce cups with gochujang sauce and his mum’s homemade kimchi pickled cabbage, and also Lex’s grilled ocean trout marinated with fennel and blood orange, whilst the flesh is moist and sweet, but it was the brittle crisped-up skin had us fighting for glory.

Then, Shez wowed us with her impressive Otak-otak, a big parcel of fish mince cake wrapped in banana leaf, grilled once more before serve to release the fragrant of lemon grass, coconut and kaffir lime leaf. It was incredible!

Her kuih-making skill is undeniably just as impressive! The diamond slices of Kaya Kuih is sweet and salty at the same time, fragrant coconut-steamed sticky rice topped with eggy green pandan custard.

Kourambiedes, I seriously thought these gorgeous Greek shortbread cookies were store bought only then realised they were actually made by Phuoc! The delicious short bread was so light and crumbly, it was snowing under my chin with icing sugar on each bite.

Dessert time was rewarded with Ice Kacang with two ice shavers in action simultaneously in the kitchen. Minh and Helen initially planned to make chendol drink, they searched high and low for the squiggly green pandan noodles around Sydney with no luck, hence the DIY ice kacang where everyone can just topped the shaved ice with a kaleidoscope of sweet condiments including grass jelly, palm seeds, jackfruit, lychee, sweet corn kernels, red bean paste, then drizzled with evaporated milk and palm sugar syrup or rosewater syrup.

Palm Sugar syrup – YAY! Rosewater syrup – NAY!

Karen is from Petaling Jaya and she is all for the rosewater version Ice Kacang, whereas me from Ipoh, I prefer my Ice Kacang imbibed with thick, rich gula melaka palm sugar syrup. KL people, what do they know? ;) Ipoh is the true food haven! HA! *bitch fight*

Someone you do not want to come across at night time.

Yas’ orgasmic expression says it all. Due to heavy work load, he came late but also brought along two dozen of those sweet Portuguese custard tards from Sweet Belem. One bite of those tarts, everything was forgiven. First time I had these tarts, the flaky pastry shell had me speechless literally with a mouthful of butter crumbs, melted together with soft, silky smooth cream custard.

“HALLEHLUYAH!!!”

These precious were all mine!

We ate ourselves stupid for six hours straight from 1.30pm until the sun setting in horizon. Then Bonnie and Clyde finally rocked up after work, both Linda and Howard tag teamed and double deep-fried up a whole new batch of chicken wingettes!

We’d loved to stay longer for another round for debauchery as the boys were also finally got the BBQ going, with a blow dryer… “Hmm…. burnt hair flavoured wagyu steaks…” But sadly we had to make our move as we had two pets at home who needed food too.

I yoinked two of the crunchy wingettes for the road and bid everyone farewell.

Thanks to Karen and The Captain for such great hosts, and all the lovely friends for such a wonderful, feastful, orgasmic experience!

PEACE!