It’s that time of year when all the wicked souls come out to play. And we, Karen, Phuoc and myself have hosted a Halloween dessert degustation dinner party at Studio Neon in Waterloo just last Friday to satiate the hungry ghosts with big appetites. Over one night, we had over 60 ghosts, ghouls and alike showed up at our party and needless to say, we sure had one hell of a blast!
Karen and I have done a dinner event in a restaurant before two years ago, so we knew what to expect to run a kitchen and feed 60 paid customers. We actually sold out all the tickets a week before the event date and even managed to squeeze a few more guests in the last minutes, so thank you thank you for those who came and supported our event!
When chef Aaron Teece from Studio Neon asked me whether I would like to run some food photography workshops in the studio, I immediately fell in love with the space and thought perhaps I can host some private dinner functions too and that’s how it all started. After many weeks of planning, organising, promoting and looking for sponsorships, it was all down to two days of non-stop prepping and cooking before the guests arrival at the party.
We were very lucky to have ARVO beer as our sponsor, most of our guests thought the beer is hoppy and refreshing and quite an easy drinking beer for the summer.
Drink in style, with the best Halloween hair piece that lights up to match! And she also won the Best Costume during our first dinner session. Congratulations!
Even the zombie liked ARVO beer! There was also spicy popcorn coated in smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and burnt butter circling around the floor to go with the beer before the dinner start.
And for those who didn’t like beer can also order from our wicked cocktail menu, designed by the talented (and very handsome) Brett! The Tranfusion (as pictured), is a wicked potion of Gin, lime and lemon juice, lavender sugar syrup, egg white and cream, served in a bloody cauldron! How cool is that?
Then, there were also Scarecrow Mojito which uses a clever combo of thyme leaves and pumpkin puree; Elixir of Life was my favourite, an orange and coffee martini which was absolutely delicious! Then there was also the cutest of them all, the Human Sacrifice, is a minty Grenadine with jelly babies skewer sitting on the martini glass! Way too cute!
When the night fell, the hungry ghouls started digging into the sugary feast.
Sadly, as being the host of the dinner party, I didn’t get the chance to really capture the dishes but rather busy working behind the kitchen and also at the front of the house. Among the three of us, we had prepared six courses dinner by starting with sweet desserts and finished it off with savoury dishes.
The first course was a petit fours of pineapple marshmallow by Karen, balsamic vinegar strawberry pate de fruit by Phuoc, and black sesame and charcoal powder macarons with pumpkin and Fromage blue cheese filling. I loved a good challenge and it paid off as most guests thought it was a great combination of flavours despite they squirmed a little when I mentioned “blue cheese”.
The next course was by Phuoc, a refreshing deconstructed apple crumble, with apple and green tea sorbet, macadamia and popping candy crumbles, strip of apple jelly and topped with a flaky sheet of muille fuille.
During the first session, my dessert was the second dish to be presented then followed by Karen’s, unfortunately we found most of our guests were struggling and gone into sugar coma, we actually felt sorry for them. Hence, we decided to change the sequence of our second session by sending Karen’s dessert out as the third course. Karen has created a decadent chocolate parfait with long pepper infused cherries, then covered with a carpet of minty Fisherman’s friends chocolate dirt and caramelised white chocolate crumbs.
We also decided to switch the fourth and fifth courses into savouries to balance out the sugar overload. The fourth course was a big sharing platter of Mexican smoked pulled pork and Asian soy and chilli lamb ribs. These beautiful meat were kindly sponsored by Black Ridge Farm in Tasmania where they breed the rare Wessex Saddleback pigs. It was a joy for me to cook such beautiful free range meat that is far superior and better flavour than normal pork. And the lamb ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender; the secret for such result – braise them first for a couple of hours before grilling in the oven with a reduction glaze.
The meaty galore was served with braised balsamic red cabbage, roasted apple puree with walnuts and cauliflower puree that was smooth as the baby’s butt cheek.
It was a fantastic night, it even brought out the food bloggers paparazzi frenzy taking photos whilst we were busy plating in the kitchen. All good fun.
A short break from the food, and guests started to be more sociable with fellow dining companions.
Last but not least, it was my turn to plate up the dessert. I simply called it “Snow White”, a theatrical dessert inspired from my recent to South Africa. It was a raspberry mousse, with lychee and rosewater gel, pistachio praline and oat crumbs, freeze fried raspberry and then covered it up with a white chocolate dome.
But, that’s not it!
Me and Phuoc both holding a silver teapot and poured hot raspberry coulis at the table, an instant bloody, melting gory mess! Sorry I didn’t get to take photos of my own dessert as I was pouring the coulis, so thanks to Sara for the instagram pictures! 🙂
I am one of those people who worries about anything and everything, I was worried that no one would bothered to dress up for the party, then it would be lame. Obviously I got nothing to worry about as I was totally overwhelmed by some of the costumes from the evening. As for myself – I was PSY! Gangnam Style! HA!
Kudos to all of you and thank you for being such wonderful guests!
This was our first pop up dinner event and definitely not the last, and I can’t wait to put my thinking cap on for another exciting event and hope to see you at our next dinner party!
We hired the venue for our dinner party at: STUDIO NEON 136 Raglan Street, Waterloo NSW 2017 P: 0404 003 330