I love the Nightlife, I got to Boogie

Okay who's kidding who, with three kids who has the energy to have a nightlife.
Geez I can barely stay up past 9:30. Well, it turns out that was true before I had kids so maybe I should grow up and marry a pillow. Instead of a nightlife, I have an early evening life. My early evening life usually revolves around food, and tend to be kid friendly so as not to discriminate among those who lack after hours childcare. A dinner party with kids is simply not the same as one without the little munchkins. Remember the days when you'd sit for hours grazing, drinking good wine and conversing. Believe it or not, I may have the formula to get those dinner parties back into your life.
I had the pleasure of hosting two dinner parties this past weekend. Friday night, my two neighbours on the other side of the laneway came for dinner. Only adults were allowed, and it was a potlatch so it was very low stress for all of us. I made mushroom risotto, and a salad. Amanda made tilapia with fresh tomatoes and roasted red peppers, and Lisa brought lovely stinky cheeses, smoked oysters and a flourless chocolate cake. Now here's the catch, all seven kids were at Lisa's house with 3 pizzas, two babysitters and a stack of movies. It costs each family $52 for the evening and we had our leisurely dinner with rich conversation from yesteryear.

Saturday night was also fun and we had lots of kids. Two other families came over around 4:30, we fed the little ones spinach lasagna at 5, and put a movie on at 6:15 with rice crispy squares in each grubby little hand. The adults sat down to eat at 6:30, and again we had our leisurely dinner with rich conversation from yesteryear.
So two dinner parties and two formulas. Try it with your neighbours, your friends, your family. It should guarantee an exciting and fulfilling early evening life for all!

Now for the recipes. I am trying to conquer Asian food, so my menu for Saturday night was inspired by foods from Malaysia and Singapore.

Fish Curry with Coconut Milk

3 tbsp oil
2 cups (500ml) coconut milk
1/4 cup tamarind water
Salt to taste
1 lb large fish fillets (red snapper or salmon) cut into chunks
1/2 tsp brown sugar
juice of 2 small oranges
handful of baby spinach

1 tsp brown mustard seed
6 dried curry leaves
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek seed
2 medium onions, chopped

Spice Paste
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 medium length dried chilies or more to taste, diced
2 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 gloves of garlic, chopped

Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard seed, curry leaves and fenugreek and onions. Fry until onions are golden. Add spice paste and fry until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, tamarind water, and salt to taste. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes, then add the fish, brown sugar, spinach and orange juice. Simmer until fish is cooked and the gravy has reduced slightly and thickened. Serve with basmati rice.

Cauliflower and Tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
3 tomatoes chopped
6 tbsp oil
1 large cauliflower, separated into florets
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cashew nuts toasted
1/4 cup raisins

Puree the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a food processor.
Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and saute the cauliflower until it is beginning to brown and soften. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.
In a saucepan, saute the onions mixture with all the remaining spices. Return the cauliflower to the pan and coat well, and heat through. Serve with toasted cashews and raisins.

Steamed Greens

1 bunch swiss chard
5 bunches baby bok choy
1 tbsp sesame oil or to taste
1 tbsp of soya sauce
fresh ground pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon

Steam greens in a large closed pot with half a cup of water. Once steamed toss with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Eat much and enjoy!


  1. I just made the Cauliflower and Tomatoes and added green beans. It tastes great to me. We'll see if it passes the kid test tonight at dinner.

  2. delightful, cousin! i wish i was a cook and a parent, just to experience this! sounds heavenly!