Juji and Jay’s engagement party

On Saturday we celebrated my sister Juji and her fiancé Jay’s engagement with a lunch party with family and friends. Jac and I made coleslaw and my mum made her pork wantans, but Juji outdid everyone with her supreme culinary efforts that day.

She slow-cooked four pork shoulders for 14 hours which she and Jay shredded to create deliciously tender juicy pulled pork. They kept the dish of the chewier “barky bits” of pork aside for whoever wanted something else to gnaw on. The kitchen was filled with the aroma of that wonderful pork. EDIT, 24 August 2011: See Juji’s recipe at her blog: How to make pulled pork at home

Juji mixes the 14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork

Juji mixes the 14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork

14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork

14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork

There were soft chewy bread rolls for making pulled pork sandwiches.

Bread rolls

Bread rolls

I couldn’t stop looking at that tray of pork, but we had other yummy things to eat too. Like garden salad…

Salad

Salad

Potato salad – one was vegetarian and the other (pictured) had crispy bacon bits in it. I’m sure you can guess 1) which one I went for and 2) which one was most popular!

Potato salad

Potato salad

Mum’s homemade wantans with sweet chilli dipping sauce were extremely moreish. I had to move away from the bowl to stop eating them!

Mum's homemade wantans with sweet chilli sauce

Mum’s homemade wantans with sweet chilli sauce

There were cubes of marinated feta and crisp sour gherkin pickles.

Marinated feta and gherkin pickles

Marinated feta and gherkin pickles

There were two dishes of marinated chicken wings, hot and tasty straight from the oven.

Chicken wings

Chicken wings

In the two bottles and jug on the table – barbecue sauce Juji made to go with the pulled pork sandwiches. EDIT, 5 September 2011: See Juji’s recipe for Homemade barbecue sauce.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

A fairy in a blue dress named Ruby grabbed a plate and followed her dad to the food.

Ruby grabs a plate and follows her daddy to the food

Ruby grabs a plate and follows her daddy to the food

Zoe didn’t want to miss out either! “Me, me!” she said.

Zoe grabs a plate for lunch

Zoe grabs a plate for lunch

The girls loved the buttered bread rolls, chicken wings and pulled pork.

Zoe and Ruby eat their lunch

Zoe and Ruby eat their lunch

I made up a plate of coleslaw, potato salad and garden salad, chicken wings and wantans. I buttered a bread roll and heaped on the pork.

Pulled pork sandwich - before adding barbecue sauce

Of course, I was eager to try the pork with the barbecue sauce.

Pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce and salads

The weather was perfect for a celebration – we sat outside under glorious blue skies to eat our lunch.

Pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce and salads

Pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce and salads

The pictures cannot capture how good it was. The pork was soft, tender and juicy, and the tangy sauce went very well with it. People went for seconds and even thirds. My second round was just pork. No salad, no bread, no sauce. Just meaty porky goodness.

Pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce - close-up

Pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce – close-up

Next, a toast to Juji and Jay.

Pouring sparkling wine for the toast

Pouring sparkling wine for the toast

Then, dessert!

Juji had made red velvet cupcakes topped cream cheese icing drizzled with chocolate. These little cupcakes are super-moist and a big favourite with our family and friends. See her blog for the recipe for red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing

The cupcakes were beautiful but I was most excited about the chocolate macarons filled with white chocolate peanut butter ganache.

Chocolate macarons with white chocolate peanut butter ganache

Chocolate macarons with white chocolate peanut butter ganache

Juji made the macarons herself. They were spectacular party macarons, drizzled with melted chocolate! See Juji’s blog post and recipe for chocolate peanut butter macarons.

Chocolate macarons with white chocolate peanut butter ganache - close-up

Chocolate macarons with white chocolate peanut butter ganache – close-up

Jay’s mum and Juji put together a fruit platter featuring mandarins, oranges, strawberries, cherries, kiwifruit and tinned lychees.

Fruit platter with mandarins, oranges, strawberries, cherries, kiwifruit and tinned lychees

Fruit platter with mandarins, oranges, strawberries, cherries, kiwifruit and tinned lychees

Where to start first? For me, a macaron, then a cupcake, then a lychee.

Macarons, cupcakes and fruit platter

Macarons, cupcakes and fruit platter

As usual, my nephew and nieces had a great time too. Caleb enjoyed his own little feast of sweet potato and broccoli puree with puffed rice, followed by a Cruskit and some stewed apple. He definitely recognises his auntie who takes photos. He smiled at me a lot and stared at me as I took his picture.

Caleb says hi!

Caleb says hi!

Like me, Zoe started on a macaron, then moved on to a cupcake. Ruby peeled the paper off her cupcake and ate all the cake that was stuck to the paper, leaving the cupcake neglected on the plate.

Dessert time for Ruby and Zoe

Dessert time for Ruby and Zoe

Ruby and Zoe eating cupcakes

Ruby and Zoe eating cupcakes

After dessert, it was time to play, squeal and giggle in the garden.

Playing freestyle ball

Playing freestyle ball

For some reason, whenever Zoe got the ball, she insisted on pushing it through the top of the bushes along the fence. Initially, the other kids were quite bemused by this. In the end, they were all were pushing the ball through the bushes!

Zoe pushes the ball through the top of the bushes

Zoe pushes the ball through the top of the bushes

And here is the happy couple, full of love and pulled pork. :D

Juji and Jay at their engagement party

Juji and Jay at their engagement party

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