Family potluck lunches

It’s been a weekend of home cooking and big eating.

First, family potluck lunch on Saturday at the home of V and K, who are my younger sister Juji’s parents-in-law (my brother-in-law Jay’s mum and dad). It’s been ages since we all got together.

K fired up the barbecue and grilled up a batch of chicken satay. V made peanut sauce to go with it.

Also cooked on the barbie, tender marinated lamb chops, served with yoghurt sauce.

Jay cooked scallops and garlic prawns.

My eldest sister made a rather spectacular platter of roasted chicken Provençal, with sweet onions, roasted whole garlic cloves and lemon, a recipe she got from the New York Times. Here’s the New York Times article about the dish, with a link to the recipe right at the end.

Jac made a salad of mixed greens, red capsicum, cucumber and blanched green beans, which turned out to be a welcome accompaniment to the protein-heavy menu.

Jac and I also volunteered to bring a nice loaf of bread for lunch. We’re without a car at the moment (long story I won’t go into here), which made it tricky to get to a decent bakery on Saturday morning. Luckily, Juji and Jay came to our rescue and picked up the bread on our behalf at the Farmers Market on Manning – a very nice loaf of ‘French peasant’ bread from Tammy’s Bakery, made with cheddar cheese and potato meal.

My mum made chap chye, which I’ve written about many times before -it’s a mixed vegetable dish, most commonly served as part of the traditional Chinese New Year family meal, made with braised cabbage, vermicelli, bean curd, dried lily buds, and mushrooms and different kinds of fungus which symbolise prosperity. I always look forward to eating it at Chinese New Year. Yesterday was Chap Goh Mei – the 15th and the final day of Chinese New Year celebrations, so this was a very appropriate dish for our potluck.

Juji originally planned to make potato salad, but with the cooler weather we’ve been having lately, switched to a potato bake. Awesome decision, and even better because she put bacon in the potato bake.

My plate, round one. I split a big piece of roast chicken Provençal with Jac – my half of the chicken was still on her plate when I took this picture.

My sister-in-law Angela made apple crumble, while V made a flourless chocolate cake. We ate the crumble and cake with ice cream (vanilla ice cream and V’s homemade ice cream made with mango, coconut milk and a touch of Cointreau), and custard (hot custard, thanks to my 9-year-old niece Ruby, who did a great job stirring the custard at the saucepan).

The kids are currently obsessed with making paper planes. The young test pilots had a great time making and flying paper planes all over the house and in the backyard. My brother, their dad offers guidance as chief aeronautical engineer.

This is the Perth International Paper Plane Airport. These are just a few of many different designs the kids created yesterday from a couple of excellent instructional books they brought with them, along with a supply of colourful paper.

About photographs of the children

Now that my nieces and nephew (and their friends) are getting older, I won’t be publishing any more photographs on the blog that clearly show their faces. I know a lot of my readers have enjoyed images from our family events over the years; I’ve been happy to share them with you, and I’ve always only done so with the approval of the family members pictured, and with the consent of the parents of the kids. For some time though, I’ve been troubled by the issue of the digital footprints left behind as a result of publishing pictures of the children on the internet. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t published any family posts in a long while. There may come a time when I take the step of deleting the images in question. I am still taking photographs of family members and friends, which includes children, at our family meals and parties, but for the timebeing am only sharing those images with family and friends.

We got together again at my mum’s home for Sunday lunch, originally organised as our belated Chap Goh Mei lunch. It’s unusual to have two family potlucks two days in a row, but that’s just how it all worked out. Saturday’s lunch had been initially organised to take place in January, but due to circumstances beyond our control, had been rescheduled to this weekend. For the second day in a row, I think I will only need a very light dinner…

My eldest sister steamed a whole fish, a rainbow snapper.

Mum made char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) using succulent belly pork.

Juji cooked chicken wings. I don’t have the full list of ingredients in her marinade, but I know one of the key items she used was gochujang, Korean red chilli paste. They were delicious.

I didn’t get individual photos of all the dishes from today, but also on the menu were claypot vegetables and tofu by Jac, my mum’s kangaroo rendang, and more of Mum’s chap chye, this time topped with fried tofu skin. Sorry, I have no recipes for any of the dishes.

As we cleared away the dishes, Ruby was busy in the kitchen, quietly chopping and arranging fruit for Dessert Part 1, a fruit platter with seedless red grapes, oranges and nectarines.

Dessert Part 2, brownies made by Ruby and Zoe. I love these brownies… they’re gooey and chewy and have sultanas in them. I can never have just one piece (and I didn’t!). We ate the still-slightly-warm brownies with vanilla ice cream.

I’m working on my final Cuba post and hope to have it finished soon. I’m still going through and editing my photographs from Miami and Sydney.

Hope you’ve had or are having a good weekend. Did you eat anything interesting?

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  • Kym

    Such a great job with that beautiful fruit platter, Ruby!

    • She really did an awesome job. She’s an excellent cook already – I’d trust her in the kitchen more than I’d trust me :P

  • Tanya

    I have been reading your blog for years and love the descriptions of the food at your family events 😊

  • J Barton

    I enjoy your family food recaps best of all and totally understand the decision to not feature personal pictures of the children (although I will miss their adorable faces). I find that it is all too common for people in general (not just bloggers) to post pictures online without seeking permission first. This has been a real problem in my workplace where photos of events have been put on twitter without alerting people that this was going to happen.
    You must have read my mind about asking for recipes! The char siu looks AMAZING and I was going to ask how it was made :)