Virtual Dinner Party No. 2 – We Go To India!

Robin Boyle Australian, Dinner Party, General Interest, Indian & Sri Lankan

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(Update: For VDP No. 3, click here)

Coronavirus Lockdown

With most of us in self-isolation or even total lockdown, a VDP (virtual dinner party) is one way to catch up with friends and to continue to test your cooking skills.

A week ago we held our first such event, and you can read about it here: Virtual Dinner Party No. 1 – A Triumph!

We had our second one last night tonight – same friends, same time, same places, different menu. In case it is of interest, here is our menu and running sheet. (If you think you might give a virtual dinner party a try, at the end we give four useful web links that are worth reviewing.)

The Menu for Virtual Dinner Party No. 2

Our aim is for a menu that is easy to prepare and finish off and for dishes that are not too heavy. An Indian theme popped up for the second VDP.

The salad is surprisingly moreish – everything can be ready and then the salad put together just before serving. The three main courses are all from books published in the 1970s and are all lovely dishes and can all be made ahead of time, and kept warm in the oven or on the stove if desired. The lamb is quite delicate; use fresh saffron if you can. The dessert is light and refreshing and can be prepared and finished off at the last minute.

Entree
Indian-Style Salad – Recipe

Main Course
Lamb with Spiced Onions (Indian cooking with pleasure by Premila Lal) – Recipe
Eggplant with Yoghurt (Baigan dahi) (The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon) – Recipe
Tomato Rice (Joseph Cotta – A Heritage of Indian Cooking) (Note: Add the garlic with the chilli) – Recipe

Dessert
Melon and Strawberry Salad – from Best Ever Indian Cookbook – Recipe
Yoghurt with a dash of honey and rosewater – See end of this post

Wines
A sparkling red
A light red – a Pinot Meunier in Melbourne, a Cabernet Sauvignon in Adelaide

Running Sheet

While it might seem somewhat prescriptive, the aim is to keep things moving and coordinated.  The times given below are Adelaide time (half an hour behind Melbourne time).

7.00 pm Adelaide time (7.30 pm Melbourne) – Log in via Zoom
7.01 – Raise our glasses. Cheers to us all!
7.10 – Assemble the salad
7.15 – Serve the salad
7.30 – Reheat the three main courses on the stove top or in the microwave
7.50 – Serve main course
8.30 – Assemble and serve dessert

How it all panned out

Well it went terrifically well. We logged in on time with our Adelaide friends, with raised glasses soon after. The running sheet was way out of whack again, as we didn’t start putting the salad together until 8.45 their time; and we finally said goodbye almost three hours later. There really was a lot to talk about. Oh, and we also had the food to serve up!

Putting the shared menu together is an interesting challenge. Being ready right on login time for Zoom provides a bit of angst (albeit enjoyable) – it is almost as if our friends were about to turn up at our front door right on cue. One problem is to remember we were only cooking for two people – not four. We did have a lot of leftovers, and our fridge is bulging!

The five dishes turned out more or less as expected, and lived up to expectations – they are all very good recipes. The dessert was a particular surprise, giving quite a sophisticated result.

Following are photographs of our dishes. Excuse the quality – they were taken on the night, just as they were being finished and ready to be served. They are shown in the order of the menu.

Our two VDPs to date have been so successful – another catchup next Saturday is on the cards.

Some Useful Links

Dinner parties go digital during coronavirus outbreak: ‘We lock in every Saturday night’

How To Throw A Virtual Dinner Party

How to have a virtual dinner with friends or loved ones

Here’s How to Have Your Own Virtual Dinner Party During Coronavirus Quarantine

Contributions welcomed!

If you have had your own VDP (virtual dinner party) or virtual foodie or wine experiences, we are happy to hear about them, including the menu, wines, etc (and good quality photos if you have any) and why it turned out so well.