Biteclub is back!!! This time hosted by Arthur and Ryan. With a very different weather situation than last time, the guys set the scene for more wonderful, warming, winter fare. Being the sticky beak that I am, I arrived about one and a half hours too early hoping to catch them in a state of chaos. Nothing of the sort. They were cool, calm and collected. All courses were planned, ready to be executed in a second. Discussions ensued with Arthur and Ryan over the planning and execution of such a huge epicurean event. As the rest of the guests arrived I set off on a photo clicking frenzy. The guys had dips and olives laid out on their dining table with grissini and mini ciabatta breads. The perfect starters to get the appetite whet, ready for the feast that lay ahead.
The first course arrives and is met with oohs and aahs at the table. Good ol' fashion minestrone is plated up with shaved parmesan and broken spaghetti pieces. Cooked to perfection it is both tasty and nourishing. Every chopped vegetable swims in the succulent broth with perfection. Every mouthful brings back all those feel good memories of childhood. It's accompanied by a sun dried tomato rye style bread with plenty of unsalted butter to spread. Vegetables have never tasted so good!!!
After a little break and everything running like a well oiled dentists drill, Arthur and Ryan proceed with the second course of stuffed vegetables. Now, these are not ordinary vegetables. Yellow capsicums, tomatoes and eggplant pieces are filled with a mixture of cooked rice, mince and a variety of herbs to make the famous Greek dish of "yemista". Basically translated as "filled" or "stuffed". Its good to see Arthur had consulted his mother over the making of this dish. Its not an overly complicated recipe but it is time consuming. Hollow out the vegies, clean them, make the mixture, stuff them and then bake them. (The boys also served a vegetarian version omitting the mince meat.) They are certainly a child hood favourite of mine and I applaud the guys for having a go at making them. Another Greek dish added to the archives of Souvlaki For The Soul.
"Yemista" are served everywhere in Greece and it is a very popular lunch time menu item. This dish has its influences from the Middle East and the Turkish regions. Both those countries make a similar version often adding pine nuts, lamb mince and many other exotic spices that were traded during the Ottoman Empire.
The "yemista" had joined forces with a batch of golden baked, rosemary and garlic potatoes. Man did they have a garlic kick to them. I think Ryan was planning on scaring a few vampires away that night!!! But yes they were delish!
And finally we ended our evening with individual tiramisu. Its back to Italy we go. We each received a hefty tumbler of Italy's famous dessert. Ryan was obviously quite excited with the alcohol as these were deadly. Each glass had savoiardi sponge fingers dipped in a mixture of espresso coffee, brandy and masala liquer. These were then placed at the bottom of each glass and layered with a mixture of mascarpone and eggs. And then sprinkled with cocoa and chocolate shavings. This process was repeated two more times till the glass was full. The tiramisu was flavoursome and the alcohol came through quite prominently. It was quite an effort but Ryan assured me he enjoyed making them especially after having a "test run" first!
As I waddled out of their groovy pad in Bondi I reflected on the eclectic mix of food that we ate. Lets see. Mediterranean dips to begin with. Then it was Italian minestrone followed by a famous Greek dish. And lastly back to Italy for sweetness. Arthur and Ryan had executed their own Eurovision dinner party. Singing and bad outfits not included! A great job guys and one to be proud of.