Upon arriving in Sydney, my bestfriend Ana told her friends how great it was to have her chef bestfriend come over…and will be open to cooking dinner. Hence, a sudden creeping feeling that I would have to showcase some Filipino goodies as well as have something everyone will enjoy. Feed Australians…how hard was it going to be? I would have to make the food diplomatic though, to make sure that everyone is good with what I have. So Ana and I were off to the Fish Market as well as Wooly’s to get some supplies. On the menu: Grape Salad with Grilled White Cheese, Lamb Calderetta, Rice, Baked Fish with Dill Sauce, Moussakka (as per Ana’s request), Toast with Truffle Butter and a JD Chocolate Casserole.

1 day before: They always say Calderretta tastes better a few days after because the braised meat gets aged in the sauce. So I did the calderetta 2 days before. I just used roasted bell peppers, some tomato sauce (tomato puree in Sydney), onions, olives, red wine, butter, olive oil and pieces of lamb for braising. After cooking, I cooled it and placed it in the fridge. I also made the chocolate sauce for the chocolate casserole which consists of purely chocolate, Jack Daniels and sugar. I also made some truffle butter by whipping butter, cream, truffle paste and truffle oil with salt. And I grilled the white cheese, made the dressing for the salad. I also made the moussaka beef filling. Lotsa work but I just stayed in the whole day anyway.

Day itself: Prepared everything — the grape salad, the moussakka and the casserole. I had an especially harder time with the fish since Ana and I decided to get a big fish for a festive feel but realized that it may be a tad small for her home oven…We were right, the fish was so heavy and large, i had to prep it on a cutting board and foil on the floor. We came to her friend’s house which was just a minute away with all our food and our chocolate casserole ready to bake.

It was a really filling meal and I’m glad everyone was receptive to the lamb calderetta. The only thing different about parties here in the Philippines? The guests get to clean up after if you’ve done all the cooking. πŸ˜‰