Live blogging the after-party party

[By Ampersand Duck] Aloha from chez PDP, where Jethro is mushing up tinned tomatoes in the tin with a bread & butter knife whilst yelling like a ninja, Zoe is explaining how hard the Bhutanese neighbours can party to my lovely brother-in-law (S) who has been to Bhutan and loves it, all the other kids are battling at deafness level in the loungeroom, Best Beloved and Dr Sista Outlaw are quietly and tired-ly drinking their way through some of the Studio Warming leftover booze, and Owen is supervising the Pudding-Off boiling on a couple of gas burners in the front yard.

We are all high from a great afternoon, where I did not much more than stand and talk to most of the guests (I missed some, or pretty much anyone who didn’t push in and make themselves known)and take lots of kind and gushy compliments — but I was only able to do this because of this fabulous bunch of people. They cooked, chopped, plated (!), laid out glasses, poured, cleaned, washed and picked up. I’ve never been in the position to need that sort of back-up, and I can see how it could be pretty addictive [Naomi, aka Dr Sista Outlaw, requested that I mention that Underground Lovers are on in the background. Wow, so they are. The layers of sound in this room are amazing.]; I’m jealous of people who have agents and managers.

We are going to celebrate a successful celebration by eating. My initial thought was to go to a restaurant, since I thought everyone would be sick of kitchenwork, but generous Zoe wants to feed us all, so she’s whipping up a quick bacon & tomato pasta for the kids, and we’re having a mushroom and truffle risotto (she made me smell fresh truffle at the markets this morning… OMG). But we can’t eat too much because we have not one, not two but THREE full-size Christmas puddings to taste and discuss… three versions of the same pudding, cooked by BB, Naomi and Zoe, and the differences and quality will be taken very seriously.

Goodness, this is live-blogging. We earlier popped in to introduce S to the Bhutanese neighbours, who just then popped in and invited us to their party… I think we’re going to eat our first course and then take all the puddings over there, which will take the pressure off us to guts ourselves while the pudding is hot & fresh. Huzzar!

[Dr Sista Outlaw chimes in] is wonderful to be down here in Canberra, where the weather is chill and the vibes are warm. Zoe and Caren have slipped out for a fag [Zoe's fagging, Caren is abstemious] and Owen and Jeremy are working out how to keep the kids corralled in one space. The most popular solution is a DVD in the room I am sleeping in. That’s fine, so long as I don’t have to be there while the DVD takes place.

I am in my pyjamas already so am resisting entreaties to go next door to the Bhutanese. Piking, yes, but it’s been a LONG day. Zoe and I kind of overdid it last night, and have so far failed to find the person responsible for deciding to get the brandy out, although we are quite pleased we can barely remember watching a very old Duran Duran on TV. We got up at 6 freakin’ 30 a.m. and made it to EPIC markets, where we managed to secure the last truffle of the season, then came home to chop and fill the car with lovely food that Zoe has spent the week preparing. Onion tarts with chevre and thyme, a Szechuan beef stew with tofu tied in bows, lovely terrine, dips …

The launch of Ampersand Duck’s studio was entirely successful, with a great speech and with very fine company, but the boys are getting just a bit silly and parental intervention is now required …

[&Duck] The kids are cloistered with DVD in a separate room. We are underfed and descending into happy slurring drunkedness, except for Owen who seems to be in. control. The risotto is cooking and smells divine. S ducked next door to the Bhutans and hasn’t reappeared, which means he’s partying hard. I have my doubts whether we’ll be able to make it next door and have visions of us waking tomorrow morning, face-down in bowls of pudding and custard in our ears. Personally all I have eaten today is a couple of pieces of excellent Amore Cake for breakfast (port chocolate cake and pecan rhubarb crumble) plus a slice of terrine and a scraping of the red-cooked beef for a very late lunch. The amount of alcohol I have drunk since changing into some comfy jeans is outweighing the food substantially. Naomi and Owen are stars. Zoe just said ‘we need more wine’. I rest my case, we are having a pudding-off-face, not a pudding-off!

8:39pm: the risotto was stupendous. We are falling over ourselves to try at least one pudding, because apparently the Bhutanese lovelies are holding off their dinner until we can come & taste it, even though we have tried our best to dissuade them. What an overwhelming sense of polite hospitality! One child won’t go to bed without pudding, so we will taste one and then take the rest next door. I just hope they aren’t making themselves stupidly drunk waiting for us.

WOOT! pudding flames! I love the fact that Zoe’s computer is next to the dining table. First pudding is Zoe’s, made with butter not suet — vege friendly. Served with cream & custard. YUM.

The children are stoked and shovelling pudding down their gobs. This is classic kidlit eating, straight out of Enid Blyton. No complaints apart from some liking cream, others liking custard. We are trying to stop BB from explaining to the kids that the bases of Bunnykins plates have rooting rabbits on them.

We have decided to try all puddings quickly and take the leftovers next door. ‘Pudding is heaps better in winter than in summer’ says Owen. Right on…

Naomi’s, the original model with suet, is delightful. Zoe’s has big chunky fruit pieces and lots of alcohol. BB’s is the best shape, and has more citrus tones. No one is prepared to make absolute judgement, but the fine points are being discussed. Each child votes for their parental pudding. The consensus is that all are absolutely delicious, especially when smothered in burning brandy and sauces.

So now we must put the poor neighbours out of their misery! Actually, I’m sure they’re happily drinking, but the poor buggers need to eat.

[Dr Sister Outlaw] someone has to hold the fort while the others go and drink with the Bhutanese … I was already in my pyjamas so here I am, taking a break from the washing up. Zoe is putting the littlest to bed, but I suspect she won’t be emerging … my reward will be lying in guilt free in the morning while her and Owen get up and attend to their early rising children. Puddings were magnificent – very different – but the pudding off has shown the reliability of the recipe. Will be interested to see what the Bhutanese think … so, that’s me, signing off from Chez PDP. Have a good one!!

17 comments ↓

#1 Crit on 01.08.09 at 7:39 pm

Wow! Truffles and a pudding-off, it all sounds grand. Zoe &co cooked some awesome fud for your studio-warming Ducky!

#2 Penthe on 01.08.09 at 8:47 pm

Yep, bewdiful food at the studio warming. Glad to hear you are all carrying on with more.

Thanks to you all.

#3 kate on 01.08.09 at 9:29 pm

That sounds so good. Every workplace should be warmed like that.

Do you guys have a position on brandy butter, brandy cream and brandy sauce? My family have brandy sauce, my sister outlaw’s family are brandy cream people, and we’ve decided BOTH is the best option. Although, to give the frog’s family their due, leftover brandy cream is the only one you’d want to stick in your coffee on Boxing Day. Fortunately there is no such thing as leftover brandy sauce, because you need to drown your pudding in it.

#4 andra on 01.08.09 at 11:49 pm

yum! i daren’t ask for recipe’s or my mother in law might think we don’t like her annual classic. :(

#5 ThirdCat on 02.08.09 at 5:42 am

*tiptoes in* *whispers* Here, just thought you might like this berroca and nurofen. *puts fizzing glass gently down* No, no, don’t get up. Rest a while. *tiptoes out again*

#6 dylwah on 02.08.09 at 9:10 am

go you good things.

#7 Dr Sista Outlaw on 02.08.09 at 11:20 am

Andra, the pud is already on PDP, was remiss of us to not post it earlier, but we may not have been sober last night.

#8 kel on 02.08.09 at 12:31 pm

ahh, thanks for some late night entertainment last night-read it out at our ‘party for two’ . lotsa larfs. cheers.hope y’all shaped up ok today…

#9 ampersand duck on 02.08.09 at 7:38 pm

Well, I did, anyway. The Bhutanese were drinking warm cans of VB, which made it very easy to switch to hot sweet tea, and thus a large population of braincells were saved. Very sweet household! And Zoe’s, too, it’s a very sweet household. I’m still recovering from lashings of hot pudding & toppings, will definitely ride the pushbike this week…

#10 The Devil Drink on 02.08.09 at 10:53 pm

Kate: then there’s brandy brandy, on its own. A delicious accompaniment to every tomorrow, whenever tomorrow happens to fall.
&duck: that’s what I call Gross National Happiness.

#11 Carol on 03.08.09 at 1:08 pm

Congratulations on surviving what sounds like a truly wonderful warming and post warming feast. I’ll check out the recipes. And now I’m going to check the Bunnykins plates!

#12 Zoe on 03.08.09 at 2:10 pm

I belive I am still slightly tired. I cleverly booked a Masterclass with French chef Kim de Pooter on Sunday with my friend Chris, so we spent five (! five!) hours tasting Mount Majura wines and eating buckets of butter, duck fat and truffle with my favourite Mountain Creek Farm heritage breed meats.

It was a wonderful party, and I’m so glad that &Duck enjoyed it as she did. She’s posted about it at her blog, and there’s a flickr set of her beautiful studio.

#13 Aunty Lou on 05.08.09 at 2:56 pm

Congratulations Caren I was thinking of you on your opening day. You have achieved so much and have along way to go. This is a new start and a new adventure for you. Love to BB and Bumblebee. Cheers to all your friends and helpers on the day. Thats what friends are for! Once again I have loved reading about your life. It is giving us all a gift. Love Always Aunty Lou

#14 Zoe on 06.08.09 at 7:50 pm

And here (finally!) a peek at Teh Buffet table (with bonus Nigel):

Ftg a big pork and veal terrine wrapped in proscuitto with lots of homemade pickles and chutneys (thanks BB!), skinny long eggplants grilled, smeared with quince and rosemary paste (from Bruny Island Cheese Co) and wrapped in bastourma, little tarts, muhamorrah, a cavolo nero & cheese pie flavoured with lemon zest and smoky paprika and finally a big fat Sichuan red braise.

#15 Dr Sister Outlaw on 06.08.09 at 8:29 pm

BTW, the eggplant and bastourma fingerlings were teh orsumest of the orsum offerings, just slightly edging out the delightful tartlets

#16 ampersand duck on 06.08.09 at 8:44 pm

Oh, excellent! I didn’t get the chance to take a photo like this, because I was inside being Teh Host. I didn’t get to (see or) eat much of it, either: a little bit of braised beef and a sliver of terrine (but got the leftover terrine, which has been yummy all week).
Gawd, it looks great. You did so well! Ever since I’ve been getting praise for your food, which feels wrong. I hope you’ve been getting some directly from the art school types…

#17 Zoe on 06.08.09 at 9:47 pm

Oh, yes. The lovely Celia had made some brooches from keyboard keys and when I admired them said “you cooked me food, you get one!”

It says “tab”, and I love it very much.

Also, DSO, the eggplants were my fave too – beautifully balanced.

On a slightly more alarming note, a lovely vegetarian asked me yesterday for the recipe for the mushroom and tofu braise. That one with 2 kilos of beef in it!

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