Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day 28: Chinese Night

My friend Pete is an exhibitionist. Not the kind that takes off his clothes in front of an audience (although he may do that in his spare time, I don't know him that well!), but the kind that likes to take on seemingly impossible feats, just for fun and then surprise everyone by going one step further.

His speciality is dinner parties. Simply put, he will choose a country or theme - Indian, Mexican or Thai for example - and then declare that there will be a feast at his home for the first thirty people who claim an invite. Yes, thirty!

I'm sure when he started, it was about 10 people and the numbers have increased slowly over time. And, rather than the portions and amounts of food getting smaller, they've grown in size too, roughly in proportion with the number of guests. At most dinner parties you’ll get maybe three or four dishes if your host is handy in the kitchen. At Pete’s, it’s always in the double digits.

Of course he doesn't do this completely alone. He invites people to help him and if you are near the kitchen while the action is going on, you’ll be tasked with something. That's right, in addition to everything else, he does it live. with hardly any prep or pre made items. Pretty much all the dishes are made just before chow time, while there are guests milling around and the drinks are already flowing. Did I say impressive? Impressive!

If you're wondering what I did to help, I’ll tell you. I bought some of the trickier to find ingredients in China Town, just before the meal, and stirred a wok full of noodles for about 5 minutes. Utterly invaluable, he couldn't have done it without me. Yeah, right.

Thursday night was...

Chinese Night!

Appetizers

Steamed Prawn and Pork Wontons
Canton Style Spare Ribs
Crispy Duck Pancakes
Sticky Sesame and Soy Chicken Skewers
Spiced Mushroom Soup Shots
Mains

Kung Po Chicken
Beef in Black Bean Sauce
Dong Po Pork
Spicy Szechuan Prawns
Shanghai Noodles
Steamed Rice

Needless to say it was all good and he got the portions perfectly right.

But the most remarkable thing about Pete is (and I mean this honestly) is his enthusiasm. The next morning, just after 8.00am, after no doubt spending hours cleaning up the house (and garden), but before going to his regular day job, he sent out an email, inviting loads of people to another feast in a few weeks time.

I'm starting to wonder if we need to stage an intervention…