samedi, décembre 12, 2009

PTA Winter Fair International Buffet 2009

Beautiful Moroccan Couscous at the Winter Fair

Have you tried Feijoada? Or seen a Danish woman teach Thai cooking? Eaten South African Melk Tert? Or a Swedish Salmon Quiche? Welcome to the ISM PTA Winter Fair 2009.

This is the 3rd year that I am organising the International Buffet at the Fair and every year there are new challenges and new targets to achieve, new lessons to be learnt - you know about the importance of continuous improvement.

I aimed to have fewer leftovers this year and to present a wider variety of dishes to the paying public. I think I didn't do too badly in that, but left the buffet wondering if we couldn't generate less waste - I felt quite bad seeing the mountains of plastic plates and cutlery. We have bought just enough of the plastic stuff and I have printed notices reminding people not to waste - hoping that everyone would keep to their own plates, cups and cutlery from the beginning to the end. Myself, I brought my own reusable plastic plates for my family and brought them home to wash. I wonder if I couldn't ask each family to do the same, it's really not too difficult, you just have to walk around with a plastic bag filled with plates at the end of the day.

Claudio and his Brazilian Feijoada and smile

This year we had a Brazilian father who is a passionate cook and he whipped up a Brazilian feast complete with a slide show on Brazil, soothing music from Caetano Veloso and the most amazing Feijoada served with rice and other side dishes. Even his desserts (pudim and brigadino) were fabulous. For those who do not know what Feijoada is, it's made of various parts of the pig cooked with black beans. Very hearty.

Thai Finger Food : part of the spread

And we had a Danish mom who used to run her own cooking school in Thailand and she made us tim sum, meat balls, fish cakes, spring rolls and oyster beef.

The Indian moms cooked us samoussas, pooris with potato masala, chicken curry and chicken biryani (my kids loved it). And a Moroccan mom made us a beautiful couscous and I just had to steal a portion for the Hub. We also had Shepherd's Pie, Stuffed Tomatoes from the English and Hoummous from a Lebanese mom.

Part of the dessert spread

The desserts, needless to say, were delicious - we have very good bakers in the school. I asked for 3 cheesecakes and there wasn't a crumb left. We also had cupcakes, mousse au chocolat, fudge, Swedish chocolate balls, apple crumble, lemon cake, apple pie, cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake, winter fruits...

This year, I made Singapore Chicken Curry, Lentil and Bean Curry and Fried Rice Vermicelli. Didn't feel the need to cook too much seeing that we have so many good cooks around.

P's Samoussas, 1 Thai Spring Roll & Fish Cake, the Fried Wan Tons are mine

P set aside some of her delicious samoussas for me. To do them justice, I brought them home to eat - after I've fried them in hot oil. Mmm...crispy, soft and savoury, we had to fight each other for more in the family. I did the same to the one spring roll, fish cake and dim sum that I brought back - to try on a professional basis, of course. I cannot do my job properly if I do not know for sure who is good at cooking what.

My helpers checking to see that everything was fine before we opened the buffet

I had kind helpers notably P who stayed with me from the beginning to the end. But the others came in to help without being asked, filling in whenever they saw the need for it. I am lucky that I have no need to work out a roster, the friends knew what they had to do to help out.

The children had great fun, they were really looking forward to the Winter Fair - which is why we make an effort, I supose, to organise it. Baby Boy hung out with his friends (the Three Horrible Musketeers) and so on. I gave them money to do whatever they wanted with it and I never saw them again till it was time to go.

The Fair ended with Christmas carols being sung by the different communities in the school, giving meaning to a lovely tradition in the western hemisphere. Now I will be able to return to packing gifts and luggages for my winter holidays coming up soon.

Today's lunch : Wan Ton Noodles

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