Rainbow-Themed Dinner

Cooking with friends is such a treat! It’s nice to share a meal together, but sharing in its preparation makes it that much more of a bonding experience.

Aaron and I met in our university’s teaching programme, and his girlfriend Hayley instantly became an honorary member of our cohort! At some point Aaron and I got talking about my family’s food traditions, and he had the idea that the three of us could cook together sometime (an idea I’d never say no to!).

Last year we had our first meal together: we made my signature risotto, some absolutely gorgeous salads, and some pears and chocolate for dessert (they were the only dinner guests I had when I lived at that place).

It was so much fun that we decided to do the same thing again! The next time we made homemade gnocchi with brown butter, which was exceptional. I made a salad that looked like the American flag, and Aaron and Hayley blew me with a charcuterie plate that was both gorgeous and delicious.

We knew we had to get together a third time before I moved abroad, so we decided to do a theme this time: colours of the rainbow. Aaron and Hayley put our names, the courses, and the colours of the rainbow in a hat and drew them randomly (two courses per person). Here’s how it turned out:

Dishes

Chef: Aaron
Course: Appetiser
Colour: Yellow
Dish: Mexican Street Corn with Chilli Mayo and Lime

Chef: Jonathon
Course: Beverage (1 of 3)
Colour: Purple
Dish: Blackberry Mojito

The corn was delicious, definitely a highlight of the night! The kick of the sauce and the tartness of the lime made the flavour of this dish incredibly well-rounded, and the corn itself was grilled perfectly!

My blackberry mojito was a bit of a swing and a miss, not only because it turned out to be a bright red instead of the purple the recipe promised, but also because it didn’t have that soft minty taste that makes a mojito so refreshing. It wasn’t terrible, though.

Chef: Jonathon
Course: Salad
Colour: Blue/Indigo
Dish: “Summertime Blues” Sweet Salad with Goat Cheese & Honey Dressing

This one was tough to plan! (While researching this dish I learned that edible blue plants tend to die out because blue is a natural appetite suppressant.) It was fun to take on the challenge, though, and I think it turned out pretty well!

I put some blueberries atop some spring greens, added some homemade granola for a bit of crunch, topped it off with some caramelised red cabbage (sweetened with brown sugar and butter), and garnished it with some blue potato chips on the sides (oddly, they were actually somewhat tasty in the salad!). We then each drizzled some goat cheese and honey dressing on top (I mixed in some butterfly pea flower extract to give it that light periwinkle hue).

Chef: Jonathon
Course: Beverage (2 of 3)
Colour: Purple
Dish: Fizzy Fruit Punch

This one was too easy: I just found some naturally purple fruit juice and added some Sprite. Pop in a flower for decoration, and voilà, instant main course drink!

Chef: Hayley
Course: Side
Colour: Orange
Dish: Yam and Feta Salad with Bacon and Cranberries

This course was brilliant! The sweetness of the yams, the brightness of the feta, and—of course—the bacon, made for a sweet, salty, and savoury combo. The cranberries were a nice fruity touch to round out the flavour. (I may or may not have had the leftovers for breakfast the next day!)

Chef: Aaron
Course: Main
Colour: Green
Dish: Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

After some heavier courses, it was nice to have a lighter main. Aaron used romaine leaves to get in the green colour, and mixed together a peanut sauce with just the right amount of kick. Garnished with some julienned carrots and chopped green onions, this dish was a winner!

Chef: Jonathon
Course: Beverage (3 of 3)
Colour: Purple
Dish: Blueberry Rooibos Tea

 

My favourite drink of the night: just a cup of organic rooibos tea with some homemade blueberry simple syrup.

Chef: Hayley
Course: Dessert
Colour: Red
Dish: Raspberry Cake

It was fortunate that Hayley got this course and colour, because she was able to dig out a classic recipe that had been passed down in her family! This deliciously fluffy cake came alive with the addition of the sweet raspberries and caramely sauce. We ate it so quickly that we almost forgot to take a photo!

Preparation

We had lots of fun putting each course together:

Special thanks to Aaron for taking some of the above photos, and to both Hayley and Aaron for making it such a delightful and memorable evening for all of us!

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