An Autumn Harvest
As I write this, my fingers are going numb. It’s raining out there. I welcome the cold air a lot more than the usual scorching heat we have here in the tropics. Its days like this that you wished the trees were turning into a fiery orange and that your mother would make you a lovely stew for dinner. Usually, we’d just get steamboats. Hot piping soup brimming with plenty of ingredients that everyone threw in. Prawns, fishballs, pig liver, simply whatever you liked. That’s how we did celebrations when we gather for a party – fishing for food from a huge metal pot.
With the trimmings up in Orchard Road and the shops stocked up with festive goodies, the feeling of fall was creeping up on us (yes, we are delusional). Although autumn is not something one can experience here, one can always recreate the season with food to be laid on the table. Autumn brought harvests into the markets, we would have pumpkins, pears, plums and pomegranates readily.
Why not celebrate these wonderful produce with a feast with your loved ones? We thought we’d do something different this time. To be honest, we never knew hosting a sit-down dinner for ten would be a backbreaker. This dinner involved planning of about two months; from the menu, flatware, flowers and right down to the music. The hours of preparation put in to make one perfect night made us realise that a meal was an experience in itself. Taste was important, but everything else played its part. The candle light that bounced off against the shadows, the porcelain plates that carried the food, and the typeface on the menu. It was the little details that added flavour to the spectacular show called The Dinner.
Here was the menu: Smoked salmon on crostini topped with mayonnaise and chive, served with a glass of sparkling wine to tease the guests for what’s in stored for the evening. For starters, fresh scallops sitting on potatoes upon a salad of pea sprouts, red oak lettuce and hazelnuts. The zingy mustard dressing was a surprise against the subtle scallops. It was then followed by a creamy soup of pumpkin and sage, accompanied with a warm baguette laced with olive oil. This just invoked Halloween throughout.
The main course was a star in the making: Succulent pork belly roulade complemented by braised red cabbage, confit shallots, roasted baby potatoes and pork’s best sidekick – the remarkable apple compote. The sumptuous meal was finished with a seasonal poached pear spiced with star anise, dressed with velvety chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The night ended but it only meant the many dinners to come in the future. What a difference a meal made.
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