A group of diversity. People joined by having completed their MBAs together, come together annually to celebrate their life – newborn babies; start up businesses and thriving enterprises. Into this group I came nervously to create a Christmas party with a difference.
With fresh lobster tails on offer and Lewis Road Cream and butter at my disposal, I aimed to concoct an alternate take on seafood – with an Asian twist.
Dumplings were essential. It is a great conversation starter. The dough brings people back to the basics. Flour and water need the right balance. Too sticky and it is impossible to handle; pliable and the dumplings are born. These focussed groups were determined. There was not a moment of giving in – and the platters of dumplings that eventuated were impressive. Delicate dough and flavour filled fillings – with teams adjusting and adding favourite ingredients from the open Asian pantry – MasterChef style.
The Stoke, smokey and bold, Smokey Ale was a perfect compliment to this dish.
Steamed fish was tackled in steamer baskets and foil parcels, but the gem of the night were the lobster tails. Our expert exporter, who had so generously donated the tails, gave us a demo on how to halve them swiftly and cleanly. My concern that the flavours I had suggested may be overpowering for the Kiwi palate was misplaced as I watched teams generously help themselves to my homemade dried shrimp satay sauce – just as we would eat it in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
Others enjoyed the option to give a lemongrass, garlic and mint marinade a go – and some did both. In all instances the lobster was divine. Grilled easily under a domestic grill – the aroma had us salivating. A fresh and light Sauvignon Blanc and a slightly chilled Pinot, gave this dish the perfect place at the table.
Our chocolate chilli mousse, macerated strawberries and meringue, with the truly rich and creamy Lewis Road whipped single cream was superbly presented by teams, who thoroughly enjoyed the tasting of a chilled Tawny to finish the meal.
A fun, relaxing, entertaining night complete with delicious food and matching drinks – what more could you need at Christmas!