Right, so I've run my menu thoughts by a mate and he's impressed. And the man knows his food so that's a good sign. Mind you, I did laugh at HIS initial menu suggestion which basically comes down to a meal I'd cook for myself. On week days. When I'm tired like. But anyway.
Vegetarians look away now. Sorry darlings, this one is not going to make your heart sing. But yes Fab, next time you're over at mine, I'll make you the gado gado - with the mother of all peanut sauces.
Right, here goes.
Rice obviously. I'm thinking plain white rice, nasi goreng (fried rice - basically a traditional 'left-over dish') and maybe - if I've got time to spare - coconut rice prepared with pandan leaves. Smells fantastic. Tastes almost like dessert.
Other acar - other pickled and spiced veggies
Sambal mussels. I've forgotten the Indonesian word for mussels for some reason. Doesn't matter. This dish is yum. Freshly cooked mussels in a spicy sauce. Bliss. Comfort food extraordinaire in my book.
Bergedel/frikadel - small patties of minced meat and potato with herbs and spices. Everyone likes these. Even the most unadventurous of people love stacking these up on their plate. I seriously suspect some people even claim to be fussy eaters just so they can have more of them.
Tahu tempeh - not sure which way I'm going to cook them yet - not everyone likes tahu (tofu - or as dad calls it: 'fried sponge' - yes Si, you're not alone in this one), but must people love my tempeh (tofu with whole soy beans still in them, very nutty flavour).
Rujak - fruit salad with spicy sauce (served on the side). Obviously I won't be using ready-made rujak sauce - those are disgusting mostly. You would think this is a vegetarian dish but it isn't. Not if you have it with the sauce. And even non-vegetarians wouldn't want to hear exactly what goes in the sauce. Another 'special ingredient'. But lovely. Trust me (something tells me I'm not doing too great in selling this to you).
Sambal goreng telor or another egg dish.
Babi kecap seems a bit plain (pork in soy sauce), maybe babi asam pedis instead (pork in spicy tamarind sauce). This is a very gratifying dish - dead easy yet never fails to impress. We like that.
Pepesan - fish dish (I love using mackerel for this), with a very typical flavour because of the hot and sour marinade. Can't really describe the taste. Hope I can get the right ingredients. The ready-made variety is either divine or absolutely disgusting to the point of gagging. There seems to be no middle ground with this one.
Cumi cumi isi - to die for - stuffed squid. Soooo yum. Alright, this one is mainly for me myself and I. It might not make it to the table - but not because of me failing to make it properly if you catch my drift.
Something prawn. There are a thousand ways of doing prawns, I think I'll make them with peteh beans (also known as 'smelly beans'). I might leave out that last comment when I tell my guests about the food.
Some kind of kue (cake/pudding) or several of them rather. I'm inclined to just buy these at my local toko but sometimes they just taste of cardboard or glue with a hint of coconut. Serious sampling required. Oh dear.
Pisang goreng - banana fritters. For some reason, every Dutch person will expect banana fritters with an Indonesian meal. Mine are actually quite good. Not the oil-soaked dumplings you get at most restaurants. Even people who do not like raw banana would find them a treat (honestly Si, how can you NOT like fresh banana but go wild over banana fritters?).
What do you reckon?
Now you may think that I've bitten off more than I can chew with this one, but in all truth, most of these I can prepare well in advance and there are some pretty simple things in here too. And at the first sign of pre-dinner stress I'd probably drop the slightly more complicated or time-consuming ones like the pepesan, the cumi cumi and the mussels.
It's been fun trying to pull a nice menu together. My mate Si sent me a link to an Indonesian food blog by friends of his for inspiration, 'Cooking with Mrs K', which was a feast of recognition. It got me mumbling to myself though (What?? You put scotch bonnets in your sambal ulek - SCOTCH BONNETS?? Have you completely lost it?? Do you WANT to burn away all your taste buds??).
I may just end up trying it anyway.