A week ago after my music class as Chitra, Sangita and Me walked back home together, Chitra reminded me to block my calendar for 1st Feb as it was her son, Anurag's birthday. I nodded and almost did not believe her request, "Won't you help me with the party?"
She was uneasy the next few days, then on 30th Jan, Sangu asked me what's my suggestion for the dessert for the party. I suggested mango mousse or bhapa doi and this order just fell into my lap.
Chitra called up and told me that I have full freedom to decide the menu and also the flexibility to cost it out! Only friends allow you this kind of freedom, I know! I grabbed the opportunity and went shopping to my favorite market for the ingredients and the serveware for the party.
That evening I called Chitra over to my home to show her pics of the menu I was going to make for Anurag's party. There would be only 5-6 close friends of his but most adults were Chitra and her husband's friends. She was suggesting pav bhaaji but Sangu recoed continental to her. Sangu is my all time guinea pig hence the right person to veer Chitra to a good menu.
We finalized all the recipes from here itself!
Hasa Al-Khadr Maa Hummus (Chunky Veggies and Chickpeas Soup)
Pull Apart Garlic Rolls
You can recreate this entire menu in your own home for your families.
Chocolate truffle cake was bought out as I did not have time for baking and decorating the cake.
Drink was plain water as majority of the people were singers and were to perform at the party.
Chitra doing the Aukshan for Anurag
She started counting at 20 people, then after the menu was finalized she added 5 more then on the 31st Jan she made it 30! I added my 10% grace to it. So the entire menu was made with 35 people in mind.
Meanwhile I informed my neice M who has chosen culinary science as her career to come over to help me. Her grandma, my aunt decided to join in. So I had three Sous chefs to help me including Dad.
I began the day with chopping the tomatoes and pureeing them on the 1st Feb. That's the advantage of evening parties it allows cooking thru the day at a relaxed pace.
Pressure cooked the chickpeas and as the whistle blew I sliced the carrots in the FP for the soup.
M and Gopi aatya arrived around 8.30 am and immediately started helping me out.
I boiled the baby potatoes and cooled them under running water in a colander. Then set the colander filled with potatoes on the bay window seat. Setup a stool for my Aunt, Gopi aatya and let the bro-sis duo yap as they peeled them.
The onions were done is two ways too, for the soup and the pasta sauce. The food processor did a fab job and in mins my prep was done. M did the peeling the skins.
Once the seniors were out of the way, I got the yeast started. Used the FP to knead the dough. As I worked I was training M in all the nitty gritties after all this is going to be her future career. I want her to learn things at home that no one will ever teach her at the institute!
The potatoes were peeled so we tossed them in olive oil and herbs and lined single layers of them on a tray and grilled them. We stopped short of golden as they need to be redone in the evening before serving.
The soup was set for cooking in large tapela. I used the entire bottle of Za'atar that Manisha gifted me when she visited (Ok I have to tell you the story, yet!)
The pasta sauce was cooking and boiling over, so divided it into 2 pots. I'm learning to handle larger quantities of food now. Learning #1
While this was happening the dough proofed and doubled so before we took a break for lunch I rolled out the dough and made the pull apart buns and filled one tray and 3 springform cake tins. Letting them sit for the second bulge on, we sat down to a lunch of masale bhaat that M made with papads on the side.
The afternoon saw us baking the bread and whipping the mascarpone for the mousse side by side and filling up the cups. Shoved the cups onto a tray and into the fridge for chilling.
I used both my ovens to finish off the baking quickly. Pasta was boiled and kept ready for final mixing. Cheese, two types Mozarella and Processed, shredded in the FP for the pasta.
We had a very long cooking day starting from 6.30 am to 7 pm. Finally at 7 we reheated all the food before Chitra's hubby came to pick us up and transport the food.
Even though the drive was just 5 mins the soups spilled a bit. Next time I will transport it in a steel bin with a tight lid. Learning #2
Chitra insisted I buy the serveware myself for the party as I would know what's best for the menu. I bought Thermacol plates for the mains, thick paper cups for the soup, plastic cups for the mango mousse, dessert spoons and large spoons.
As soon as the cake cutting was done there was a round of singing and then the kids were served first. Later the adults were served. M and me were serving so another girl came to help. I don't like this part at all. I'd rather lay everything on the table for a buffet but Chitra wanted us to serve so we did!
Here is the recipe of the mango mousse which was a hit in the party besides the other favorites of pull apart garlic bread and grilled potatoes.
Serves 10 people
1 kg Mascarpone cheese
1 cup milk
300 gms icing sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tin Mango pulp
First remove Mascarpone cheese, milk, vanilla extract to a mixing bowl and on slow speed add icing sugar little by little,whisk till stiff peaks are formed.
Open the mango pulp tin. Use a ladle to portion out the pulp into each cup. Swirl around the mango pulp.
Scoop or pipe neatly into the cups the whipped creamy mousse. The mango pulp will give a marbled effect on the sides. On top add a drop of the pulp and run a stick thru it to give it a design.
Chill till you are ready to serve. This picture was taken today but for the party I used smaller cups and stuck a chocolate wafer stick in the cups for effect.
Decadent dessert for the 11 year old Anurag's party.
I owe Chitra and family for having the faith in me and giving this order and complete flexibility to execute the menu; A Big Thank You!
That is the menu:
Chunky soup in the cup, cake, Penne in arrabiata, grilled herb potatoes, pull apart garlic buns.
Most of the guests came up to tell me they loved the food and that they were stuffed to the gills. I have a happy customer and happy guests. Especially I loved how my friend Snehal's daughter Sakhi went 'HAW!' when she got to know I baked the Garlic pull apart buns too besides all the other stuff on the menu!! Every one was gushing about the mango mousse, the bread, grilled herbed potatoes too!