You know now that I am a wife and mother, I look back with yearning at those carefree college days. When with a bunch of friends, I could just take off and have fun. Now there are so many responsibilities that taking off seems almost impossible. So when a few days back, husband offered to take the kids for a day-long outing I was delighted. Just like the Sex and the City girls, my band of 4 girlfriends was raring to meet and have a good time. It would be like old times when we could let our hair down, gossip, giggle and eat good food.
Now the problem was that though I love cooking, I was in no mood to spend time slogging on the stove while the rest of them sat and had fun. So, I did what I do when I want to have great tasting no-sweat food. I prepared a menu where I made the simple dishes and left the heavy duty main course and dessert to the Masterchefs of Kitchens of India. Yep, they were coming right in my home to entertain my friends.
My party planning went like this:
Ambience: Squishy sofas with lots of cushions and some floor seating for those cozy chats. The curtains were opened to let in natural light and breeze. Some flowers from my garden were left floating in a glass bowl on the center table alongwith some scented candles that lightly perfumed the air and enhanced the beauty of the ambience, and we were all set for a nice get together.
Entertainment: When you have a bunch of girlfriends, the chatter and camaraderie provides all the entertainment. I was planning on playing some light instrumental music to aid the conversation. I had some party mixes ready at hand just in case, we got in a mood to dance.
Location: My own home, of course. It is easier to sit around relaxing for hours on end that one cannot do in an outside location. And we wanted the fun to continue at a leisurely pace. After all the entire day and evening was at our disposal.
Drinks: Freshly brewed coffee from my coffeemaker , green tea and some homemade drinks like panna and kokum sharbat that I already have in my fridge.
Appetisers: Dahi wada – That was simple to conjure. And, I served it with Tamarind and Date Chutney and Mango and Saffron Preserve, a nice twist to the old recipe.
Baked potato wedges: I also made some baked potato wedges flavored with olive oil and rosemary. I served these with Tomato and Chilly chutney that I personally like.
Main course: I ordered some ready-to-eat chapatis that I would throw in the microwave just before serving. My rice cooker took care of the aromatic basmati rice that I cooked. Since I love Mughlai food and because this was a daawat, I wanted something nice and royal for that extravagant touch. Definitely not intending to slog for hours in preparation I chose ITC Kitchens of India’s Dal Bukhara, Mughlai Paneer, Chicken Chettinad and Mirch ka salan since all of us loved spice and rich taste. I also chanced upon Noormahal biryani and was really intrigued to hear about this recipe of biryani that has been passed on from years which seemed very different from normal biryanis. I added this to my menu as well. I made some cool vegetable raita to go with the biryani and a basic lettuce, olive and roasted peppers salad in extra virgin olive oil dressing.
Some vanilla ice cream with fresh-cut mangoes and litchis that are in season was my choice along with Jodhpuri moong dal halwa for those that wanted a traditional sweet.
Needless to say, the party was a roaring success. The girls went home satiated on love, company and some extraordinary food. What can I say? It was the easiest party I have hosted to great acclaim! Till next time then…