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Here Comes The Party – Party at Richard’s

Some succulent looking roast pork, huh? It’s been a while since I’ve had roasted pork this good! However, this dish was but a small portion of the food that was available at a post-Christmas gathering of food bloggers that was organised by Richard from Here Comes The Food.

Though, don’t be fooled into thinking that this was just some casual gathering of a few people.

No, no, no…

With up to 21 attendees in total, which includes a few +1’s i.e. partners, this turned out to be something of a special occasion. An occasion where the food ranged from the good, the crazy, and the crazy good.

I begin with the one that, depending on the person, would be classified into any or all of the three categories. This was the audacious, if not outrageous, contribution from Suze, commonly referred to as the Luther burger.

Though you may not know it by name, I’m sure you’re aware of the concept of a Luther burger – a standard burger, in this specific case a bacon cheese burger, with the burger buns being substituted for donut halves. It may not seem like much of a change on balance but the donut “bun” substitution turns something rather pedestrian into something of a legend, a horror, or at the very least a curiosity. Perhaps all three.

For me, this was one of those experiences that I was happy to have at the time but something that I’m unlikely to repeat. I’d learned that day that I do indeed have my limits :)

A variety of tasty sausages from the Ninja. I’d not thought to ask what was contained within but considering how secretive ninjas are, I doubt I’d be able to find out.

Billy’s roast pork was everything that Richard’s wasn’t and visa versa. I don’t mean that in a bad way for either party. Whilst Richard’s pork was rich, gelatenous, sticky and meaty, Billy’s roast pork was firm, sweet, clean tasting with a crunchy crackling that people came back for more often than the pork itself. To complement the subtle flavours of Chinese five spice, a hoisin sauce was served on the side to add another dimension of flavour to this dish.

My contribution, which was literally a last minute thing that I’d come up with that morning (and the reason why I was a couple of hours late) is something that I refer to as Chicken Surprise. The Chicken Surprise was thusly named as the intention of the dish was that you wouldn’t know what you’d be getting until you bit into the ubiquitous crumbed casing.

This dish comprised of a flattened thigh of chicken wrapped around a core of various fillings, which was then coated with panko bread crumbs and then deep fried. The fillings included asparagus, Belgian smoked cheese, a Chicken Kiev like filling with a herbed butter centre wrapped in ham, and one wrapped in prosciutto. There was also a single ball that was packed with as much wasabi as I could find around the house, akin to the legendary wasabi bomb from Wagaya’s sushi roulette. This one I affectionately refer to as the Chicken Nasty Surprised, which apparently wasn’t all that bad after all from what I was told.

Leona’s contribution was some Indian treats purchased from a store in Newtown. Rather tasty and somewhat spicy. Just the way I like my Indian :)

Potato salad by Jacq. Light and clean tasting, this was one of the best potato salads I’ve had during this festive season.

One thing I found odd about potato salads in general is that they seems to be synonymous with Christmas. There wasn’t a single lunch or dinner that I had gone to that didn’t have some version of this dish, often with two.

I’d initially thought that this ham, tomato & cheese foccacia-like bread was purchased from a bakery but I later found out that this was in fact made by the expert hands of Shez.

Some time into lunch, a red can was presented by Billy. This little can was something of legend within Sydney food blogging circles ever since the post on A Table For Two almost a year ago. Though this may look like cat food, this was in fact a tin of whale meat smuggled into the country more than a year ago.

I must confess, this was the second time that I’d had whale. The first time was an unexpected occasion at an izakaya i.e. Japanese pub, in around the Osaka area in Japan (Koshien to be precise). In that case, it was served raw in sashimi form, having a clean flavour similar to tuna but with the look & texture of a slightly chewy beef.

In the case of the tinned variety of whale meat, there was likewise a duality of contrasting textures/flavours. However, in this case it was more like the taste of tinned tuna with the texture of a stewed pork. If you’ve ever had stewed meat out of a can, it’s somewhat akin to that too.

For a first hand account of the experience of whale sashimi and the izakaya in general, look no further than this post on what I guess you can call a precursor to the heart of food. I no longer maintain it so don’t bother leaving a comment there.

Moving on from some of the theatrics of the savoury portion of lunch, this wonderful slice of s’more-inspired marshmallow & chocolate cheesecake, with the toasting of the generous marshmallow topping a la minute via blowtorch, carries over the theatrics into dessert.

As always, Steph presents another wonderfully sweet cake (though not overly so), from its caramelised, slightly crunchy marshmallow cap through to its crumbly biscuit base.

Helen likewise has something of a reputation when it comes to cakes. Well, specifically cupcakes. In this case, she goes with the classic flavour combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar icing. Strawberry flavoured pop rocks adds something of a theatric element to these fine cupcakes.

Panna cotta topped with fruit encased in fruit jelly (peach if I can recall) was the delightfully refreshing dessert by Jacq.

The aptly named tea-ramisu, is essentially a green tea flavoured tiramisu made by Lisa. Due to food allergies, pistachio nuts that would otherwise have been incorporated into the light & subtle dessert was served on the side.

Shez’s dense & crumbly chocolate fruit pudding, very much in line with Christmas puddings that you see around this time of the year was quite nice and not overly sweet. Unfortunately, there wasn’t the typical theatrical element of the booze-fueled flambé which I was hoping to see. However, the freshly whipped cream, courtesy of a Tupperware whipping flask (for lack of a better term) picked up during a Tupperware party, served as a nice accompaniment.

Another dessert that was serviced by the Tupperware-whipped cream, was this fragrant orange sponge, which was made by Shez’s +1, who like the host, is likewise named Richard.

These Momofuku cookies brought by Teresa, rather than being made from the recipe book from the man behind the well-known restaurant by the same name, was actually from the store in New York, flown over for our enjoyment.

These cookies were quite good and deceptively rich. The cookies were bound together by something that had the texture akin to copha, a vegetable shortening (i.e. fat) used as the binding agent for such treats as chocolate crackles. It makes me wonder how much solidified fats are contained within these cookies.

Towards the evening, Yas & Lex both arrive with their food items. Yas presents a couple of sushi platters, courtesy of the Japanese sushi restaurant Makoto. Lex on the other hand brings along some large prawns stuff with a fail-safe anchovy butter, which were grilled fresh and were a delight to eat. Unfortunately, no pictures to show for it. Sorry folks.

What a fantastic way to end a fun and food-filled year with a sizable portion of the Sydney food blogging community! A huge thanks to Richard for hosting this great party and for the attendees for bringing along such good, crazy & crazy good foods! :)

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Helen (grabyourfork) January 4, 2010, 5:30 pm

    That’s the first time anyone has described my cupcakes as having theatrics. Lol. I think Steph’s marshmallow cheesecake blowtorching proved the much better show. The chicken surprises were yum and yep, deep-fried. Not such a surprise after all. Lol.

  • The Ninja January 4, 2010, 5:31 pm

    I think the wasabi bomb was weak only because you drew an unlucky packet. Sometimes those things can be somewhat daunting. But I enjoyed defusing it all the same.

    Also, they were Chicken Spinach Pinenut, Chicken Cheese Chives, and English Bangers.

    And let us never speak of that willy again.

  • Steph January 4, 2010, 6:19 pm

    I loved your Chicken Surprise! I got one of the smoked cheese ones and it was yum :) Kinda glad I didn’t get the nasty surprise, I am not a wasabi master like the Ninja! I finally got the recipe to my cheesecake up on my blog today, good timing ;)

  • billy@ A Table For Two January 4, 2010, 6:27 pm

    More wasabi for the bomb I say! Give it a really kick up the nose and the butt!

    So much fooddddd….. somehow I wish I can turn back time and start this feast all over again.

  • penny aka jeroxie January 4, 2010, 10:20 pm

    OMG! yet another food crazy feast. I think I may need to head over to Sydney over the festive season. Too much good food without me.

  • Jacq January 4, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Nice roundup of all the food! Loved your chicken surprises and I’m glad I didn’t get the wasabi bomb because I’m sure it would’ve been heaps hot for me (can’t really take my chilli!). And yes, it was peach in the pannacotta :)

  • Trissa January 4, 2010, 11:05 pm

    Everything looks delicious – it’s amazing how much foodbloggers bring to parties – and also how much they can consume!

  • Simon Food Favourites January 5, 2010, 12:15 am

    a lot of yellow and brown yummy food groups happening here :-) the pork sounds excellent! :-)

  • Leona January 5, 2010, 10:53 am

    I love these SHINDIGZ!! Had such a great time and it really sucked how I had to leave early. I was soo exhausted that day from driving I almost fell asleep at the wheel.

  • Belle@OohLook January 5, 2010, 12:30 pm

    I’m always surprised (but shouldn’t be) at the amount of food at foodblogger gatherings. I’m never surprised at the quality, though – it’s always tops!

  • Katherine January 6, 2010, 10:31 pm

    What a feast. I cant get over that luther burger. Everything looks delicious. Well all but the canned whale meat. Yes it does look a little like cat food. ehehehe

  • pierre January 10, 2010, 2:55 am

    this food looks so good and warm my little french heart under the snow here in Paris !
    i love the panacotta !! cheers from Pierre in Paris

  • Simon January 10, 2010, 1:14 pm

    Hi Helen! Well, it was the first time I saw your cupcakes in that light.

    Not too sure how to take that last comment… :)

    Hi The Ninja! Thanks for taking one for the team, or rather not :)

    Thanks for the low down to the different types of sausages.

    What willy? :)

    Hi Steph! Glad to hear you liked them. I think the smoked cheese was the most popular one of the lot.

    Hi billy! I don’t know about turning back time, but we could just do it all over again. Your place perhaps? :)

    Hi penny! You’ll be coming up soon so I guess you can get a glimpse into some of the whackiness. Surely, it’s no different in Melbourne?

    Hi Jacq! I’m surprised people didn’t just break them open before consuming just to make sure they weren’t hit unsuspectingly.

    Hi Trissa! It never ceases to amaze me, in either case :)

    Hi Simon! The pork tasted excellent too. Both of them! :)

    Hi Leona! Well, glad that you didn’t pass out at the wheel. Perhaps you’ll be able to stay longer as the next meet.

    Hi Belle! The guys know a thing or two about good food, that’s for sure :)

    Hi Katherine! I don’t think I could ever get other that Luther burger myself. Each person’s reactions to the Luther burger was priceless, it their own way :)

    Hi pierre! Glad to hear it and the pannacotta was indeed quite nice. Hopefully Jacq will post the recipe on her blog at some stage.

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