I don’t usually have friends around on weekdays as it gets hectic with work and other gardening chores at this time of year, but isn’t it marvelous when one can just plan an impromptu event and invite a bunch of friends over on a weekday, and another spontaneous friend walks in with a bottle of wine and wham, boom, bang, we have a party? It was a wonderful evening of food, friends and laughter, with a subtle aroma of spiciness emanating through the house. Since the majority of the girlfriends attending were vegetarian and love Indian nosh, that was the menu of choice. Now Indian cuisine has got to be my favorite, although I cook various types of ethnic dishes, but it is intensely time consuming. If I happen to be serving Indian cuisine, I usually start planning the dishes and cooking at least 2-3 days in advance. Curries actually taste a whole lot better if cooked and steeped in those flavorful spices over a day or two. So here are some of the dishes I cooked for a “weekday girls’ night IN.”
Setting the table
My favorite serving dish
Getting the wine glasses out
Oddly enough, some of the wine glasses match the serving dishes
Cauliflower and roasted green peppers doused in olive oil with sizzling cumin, coriander, lime juice, tumeric and mango powder
Curried chickpeas sauteed in ginger, garlic, onions, garam masala, cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, chilli powder and yellow mustard seeds, with a splash of coconut cream.
Pulao, or rice pilaf cooked in a seasoned broth with whole cardamom, whole cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, garlic and topped with sauteed rasins, almonds and fresh cilantro.
Salmon curry and roti (Indian flatbread).
And now for the Spanish twist. What better way to end a spicy, flavorful meal, but with this decadent, and oh so simple Caramel Flan. There aren’t many ingredients, and when one is slaving over a hot stove for the better part of the day, this is a quick, effortless, dessert to culminate this girls’ evening “IN”.
Since it is also Fiesta Friday time at Amazing Angie’s, I’m bringing the Caramel flan. http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/fiesta-friday-16/
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup water
1 (14oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350deg. In heavy skillet or pan, over medium heat, cook sugar, stirring constantly until melted and caramel-colored. Pour into ungreased 9 inch round layer cake pan, tilting to coat bottom completely. In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, stir in water, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Pour into caramelized pan; set in larger pan. Fill larger pan with 1 inch hot water. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Chill thoroughly. Loosen side of flan with knife; invert onto serving plate with rim. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.