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Me, Cooking

There are few things more satisfying in life than sharing a home-cooked meal with close friends. I took to cooking rather late, but I now love it, and whenever I invite people over at my place, I tend to aim for ridiculously sophisticated dishes way beyond my skill level. The evening quickly reaches a point (usually about twenty minutes before the first guest arrives) where I completely lose control of the situation, make plans as I go along, ask guests to help with all and everything, and pray that things somehow turn out alright.

We never eat exactly what I had planned, and we don't usually get to the entree before midnight, but we have loads of fun, and most guests want to come back, so even though I'm obviously doing everything wrong, I'll stick with the fun out-of-control way in favor of the reasonable and proper one.

This week I got to do it twice, and as a small tribute to my friend's great blog Cooking: Fuck Yeah!, I'd like to share that experience with you.


I'm back from grocery shopping, and inexplicably it's two hours later than 4PM. It's obvious most of the prep I had planned will have to get done after the guests arrive. Oh well.

Grate chocolate

Combine grated chocolate with "fresh espresso"

Pour in the chocolate/coffee mix in an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer

Butter a cake mold and put it in the fridge

Guests should be there fifteen minutes from now. I'm completely screwed. Luckily Fabien calls to say he'll be a bit late. I tell him to be thirty minutes late, forward the message to the others, and start slicing garlic.

Fry to turn them into chips

They're supposedly needed for course number two so at this moment this seems like the best use of my time, although about five minutes from now I'll completely forget about the chips and won't remember them until the next day when I find them under a dirty plate.

Seed a pomegranate

Thinly slice a piece of ginger

Pick two bunches of mint leaves

Get coriander, thai chillies, spring onions

Combine all these in a liquidizer, but don't turn it on yet

Guests will be there 8 minutes from now, so I take a six-minute shower, change, and with 20 seconds left to setup the table I go for minimalist chic and a subtle reference to Mondrian

Pick basil leaves

Fabien arrives. He's a great cook and I'm obviously completely overwhelmed, so he offers his help. I throw 12 radishes two carrots two bags of lettuce and a bowl in his direction and say "chop".

In the meantime I use a speed-peeler to make ribbons out of courgettes and asparagus.

Julie and Phil arrive bringing champagne, so we're just forced to take a break and make a toast.

A few minutes later I ask whether anyone is hungry. Of course they are. So I ditch whatever is left of my plan and sprint for the first course.

Slice, combine, add basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and here's your first course.

Eat. Discuss. Enjoy the evening. Be happy that your second course has been ready for twenty-four hours, and you only have to pour it in glasses, add tortilla chips and serve it.

Now there's a tough call: there's a bit of work to get the third course ready, but the champagne is nearly gone. So, start chopping fresh tuna and coriander leaves…

Midway through chopping, take a break, drop a hibiscus flower and creme de violette in four flutes and fill with californian sparkling white.

(The hibiscus flowers are great by the way. They taste really good, but more importantly they get your guests to ask why there's a dead mollusk in their glass.)

Remember that liquidizer with spring onions and whatnot in it ? Turn it on. Pour what comes out on serving plates, top with your chopped tuna and coriander, a dollop of sour cream and a few quartered cherry tomatoes — voila, third course.

Now that I got some food into my guests, all I need to do is buy enough time to catch up with all the prep I should have done about five hours ago but didn't. A good cocktail is great for that.

Press half a lime in each glass

Add pomegranate seed, ginger slices (remember?) and muddle

You can add a splash of grenadine if you want. Then a bunch of mint leaves (remember?) and muddle very gently (Best way to ruin any kind of mojito is to bash the leaves too hard.)

Add ice cubes and stir

Add white rum, stir again, then top with seltzer, stir one last time and serve. Check out there for a photo of the final drink.

Tear open a pack of flour tortillas and pop them in the oven on low heat.

At this point Fa asks again if there's anything he can do. I tell him I need guacamole. I tell him he's authorized to take any action he deems necessary to bring about the existence of guacamole in this apartment. I tell him there's a couple avocados in the fridge. Probably.

Chop a few radishes and add them to the courgette strips from earlier on. Throw a couple fish filets on a griddle pan.

Get the warm tortillas on individual plates and divide the courgette-salad between them. Top with the grilled fish fillets.

Add dollops of sour cream and guacamole, a couple of coriander leaves, and there's your fourth course.

She seems happy about it.

We're now on the home stretch, but I suddenly remember that the desert dough is nowhere near ready. So everyone gathers in the kitchen, taking turns whipping up egg whites and incorporating almond powder in the chocolate. I work on some approximation of a grilled peanut sauce. Fa makes salsa verde.

Phil and I grill the steaks.

(Let's pretend I was always aiming for medium-well and didn't overcook anything.)

The chopped salad from four hours ago makes a comeback, and I realize I'm only about halfway through the recipe. The steaks are ready though, so we scrap the rest of the recipe, throw lime juice and olive oil and salt and pepper on the salad, toss it. Surely it can't be too bad. It isn't.

Magically everything sort of comes together, and we serve the salad and steaks and stuff. Everyone's too full to eat, but we all agree the combination of sauces works quite well. I get congratulated for the wine, even though in all honesty I can't say it's my achievement.

While we're eating the steaks, the desert cooks in the oven

Note to self: clean the oven.

Since fruit enhances all chocolate dishes, I make a couple orange slices

And there's the desert

That photo was taken at five to one. It'll be an hour before anyone realizes how late it is or that they're working the next morning. My planning failed miserably and we had way too much to eat, but apart from that, great night !



  • Hemispheric Caprese
  • Mexican Gazpacho with Tortilla Chips
  • Fresh Tuna Tartare on Orange Slice
  • Avocado-Mackerel Wrap
  • Sirloin Steak in Peanut/Salsa Sandwich with Mexican Street Salad
  • Coffee/Chocolate Fondant


  • Piper-Heidseck Rosé Brut
  • Violet-Hibiscus Kir Royal
  • Ginger-Pomegranate Mojito
  • Etchart Privado Torrontes (Argentinian White)
  • Apaltagua Envero Gran Reserva (Chilean Red)


Do the dishes

(More precisely, clean the few dirty dishes that remained after Jubib, Phil and Fa went through most of them. I can't thank them enough for that.)


Cleverly choose to go grocery shopping 7 minutes before the start of the storm of the century.

The cooking starts same as tuesday. Grate chocolate, mix with coffee, pour into ice cube trays. Leave for a walk and notice autumn is already here.

Back home, realize the chocolate dough is frozen solid so put it on a pan of boiling water to melt.

Thinly slice 8 shallots.

Put half of them in a bowl and cover with white vinegar

Chop ginger

Guests arrive and are hungry, so, as before, make your first course a caprese

Remove pit from five plums, chop them and fry them with ginger and star anise

Lower fire and let simmer for 10 minutes, then store the sauce in the fridge

Meanwhile, pick leaves from two bunches dragon

Mix with your vinegarred shallots, olive oil, and a dozen halved grapes

Divide between serving plates

Shave a few pieces of dry goat cheese on top of each

Voila, second course

Fry remaining shallots and ginger slices in sunflower oil until they're crispy

Combine lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce and coriander leaves in a bowl, then slice raw halibut in small chunks.

Drop a bunch of watercress on each of your serving plates. Lay raw fish chunks on top of them.

Top fish with grilled onion and ginger

Garnish with coriander vinaigrette

Course three, ready to serve

Eat it !

Time for the final course. Get out a piece of good pork filet

Cut it in 5 mm slices. This is the reason you bought a really good knife

Cover with cling film and bash with your heaviest pan until you get the thickness down to 3mm. (This is by far my favorite part of the recipe.)

Coat with your plum sauce

Roll them up

Tie the rolls with string

Put them all in a bamboo basket and cook for 18 minutes

In the meantime put your coffee/chocolate ice cubes in your baking mold

Fill with chocolate dough and put in the oven

Get your cooked pork off the heat

Lay each roll on top of a bed of spring onions

Top with soy sauce

Voilà, main course ready

Cut it open and see how gorgeous it looks

Just like the last time, the final step is making orange slices

Get your fondants out of the oven and put them each on a separate plate

…and the last course is ready



  • Hemispheric Caprese
  • Grape/Dragon/Goat Cheese Salad
  • Halibut Carpaccio with Fried Ginger Slices
  • Pork Filet Roulades with Japanese Plum Sauce
  • Coffee/Chocolate Fondant


  • Dry Cider
  • Etchart Privado Torrontes (Argentinian White)

That's it! Hope you enjoyed the story. And even if you didn't, may I suggest you head over to Cooking: Fuck Yeah!, who does this cooking photo-blog thing way better than I.

PS: most dishes are heavily inspired by various Jamie Oliver recipes.

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Reader Comments (2)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhelpful_tip

Big lists posts suck.
Double big list posts double suck.

Please, never do that again.
(Even though some pictures look tasty)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRG

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