For a while now I’ve hosted meet-ups at my place for a group of friends and acquaintances where we get together, prepare a meal and sit together for dinner and drinks and possibly a game of Carcassonne. It’s a nice little social occasion to talk about this or that while getting some grub.
Since I enjoy these meetings a lot but found that getting people together isn’t always easy, I now just e-mail them the invitation. The mails currently go to a group of about 30 and are usually sent the same week a Cooking with Friends is arranged.
I’ve come to think that 4 guests is the right group size for this and that’s what I usually arrange. I’ll typically offer 2 or 3 places to the first few people who happen to reply with a positive answer. The invitation always extends to their partner, should they be willing and the partners do not count towards the 4 guests cap. I only ask for that to be announced so that I can factor it in when buying ingredients. I admit that I’ll prefer people who have not yet been to a Cooking with Friends or who haven’t visited for a while if there are more replies than expected.
It is on purpose that many people on the list do not know each other or only recognize the other person as a familiar stranger. This ensures a high chance of differing, yet interesting conversation topics. As you might’ve noticed reading this blog I like stories. :)
The menu usually consists of a main dish and a dessert, the recipes for which I get from the Internet, one of my cookbooks (e.g. Sehnsuchtsküche) or even a few of my own creation.
Until about a year or two ago I refused to prepare meat myself. I’m past that now and meat and fish are regular ingredients - unless a guest requests a vegetarian or vegan version in advance - I will take special consideration of that. To be frank, I prefer stir-frying things with my wok, but other ways of preparation are fine too. As long as I get to experiment with different spices, I’m cool with many things.
By default, drinks will be fruit juices, fruit tea or water - other things will need to be arranged. Since I don’t drink, you’re free to bring your own liquor if you insist on alcohol.
- 2016-09-28: İmam bayıldı (a.k.a. Swooning Imam), fresh melon
- 2016-11-04: Stir fried salmon with soy & homemade seasoning, Yoghurt with honey & fresh fruit
- 2017-01-06: Wraps (2 different meats, 2 different cheeses, several vegetables, homemade dips), Mango & pineapple Thai-style
- 2017-02-24: Créole Fish Curry, Sweet potato pudding & vanilla ice cream
- 2017-04-15: Baked eggplant with minced meat & mushroom-tomato-sauce
- 2017-07-08: Lebanese Spinach Pies, Charlotte aux Myrtilles served a day later than intended. I’m sorry for that.
- 2017-08-18: Savoury Mushroom Medley with chicken, carrots & broccoli with herbs, salad from cabbage, rice, dessert with yoghurt, ice cream, fruit and chocolate
- 2017-09-08: Chicken Curry, Veggie Curry, dessert with topfen which wasn’t great, maybe check a recipe first next time :D
- 2017-12-30: Chicken & Shrimps wok with peas, Veggie risotto, mom’s Christmas cookies & homemade punch inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus
- 2018-11-29: Wraps (2 different meats, 2 different cheeses, several vegetables, homemade dips), Christmas cookies and fruit dessert
- 2019-04-12: Soutsoukakia (mixed veal/pork, prepared by me up front to save time), fried potatoes, Tzatziki and a variety of vegetables with pita and salad
- 2019-08-15: Skewer variety (shrimps, chicken, vegan), meatballs, homemade dips, ice cream and fruit dessert, joined by a special guest from abroad
- 2019-11-22: Oven-roasted vegetables, turkey, carrot-curry soup, cinnamon parfait with raspberries, joined by a special guest and their partner