Twenty two adults and twelve children from zero to nine years old, all at the same time, at my house…am I mad?! Well, yes, quite probably. But then no madder than your average expat I don’t think; certainly those I’ve come across out here in Brunei at least. I’ve discovered that if you want to stay sane in a country where there are no pubs,bars, or clubs, and cafes and restaurants are limited and basic, then you need to create your own fun. Think barbeques, drinks parties and social gatherings round at people’s houses.
Since becoming parents, the social clock in our household has slipped a bit – more day time plans, less evening ones. Like us, all our friends here have been away for the summer, so we are all needing a good catch up. And I love having friends round for long, lazy meals where the adults can eat, chat and chill while the kids play. So a big group brunch round ours seemed the obvious solution.
I’m really looking forward to it, but am slightly apprehensive about feeding all those mouths! Thankfully ‘pot-luck’ social events are quite popular out here. The host sets the food theme and then the guests come with a dish to add to the feast. It adds a fun element of surprise, and I’ve been to some delicious pot-luck curry nights, Sunday roasts and baby showers whilst I’ve been here.
So this time I thought I’d go for the pot-luck approach myself. It is going to be really interesting seeing what everyone brings. And I’m fortunate to have some very foodie friends, so I’m sure there are going to be some great dishes. Not to mention new recipes to add to my collection,
I’m going to do a few dishes as a starting point for others to add to. Trying to cover both savoury and sweet bases, I’m thinking vegetarian enchiladas, spicy pork sausages, sweet potato hash, granola and yoghurt, and some cinnamon rolls. All homemade except the sausages, but all pretty easy, except the cinnamon rolls. They are more fiddly than I would usually go for, and I’ve never made them before so I am a bit apprehensive. If it weren’t for the fact that it makes my mouth water just thinking about them I would shelve that idea in favour of something easier and pre-tested! Wish me luck!
I’ve also tried to go for things that can be made ahead and don’t require me to be standing in the kitchen whilst our guests are having fun without me in the other room! I’ve never understood the point of that.
My final contribution, requiring zero skill but a little time and patience, is a ‘watermelon cake’. I made one for my daughter’s first birthday instead of a normal cake because she is a massive fruit fan. It was a huge hit with her, the older kids and adults alike. Such a nice way to showcase fruit, and if it makes fruit appealing to children then it gets my vote!
There is no recipe as such for this simple creation. Just cut a watermelon away until you have a solid cylinder, then get creative, using cutters or knives to shape the fruit of your choice. Arrange them on wooden cocktail sticks or lolly sticks and skewer them into the watermelon. Use any leftovers to decorate the presentation plate. Easy! And it will keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours (or mine did last time). So that’s my Saturday night sorted. Chopping and arranging fruit on a weekend night….when did my life become so rock and roll?!