Day two of our Come Dine With Me competition finds us in Dubai Marina at SV’s apartment for a night of Mexican delights. Having been the first to dish it out in Day One, my job in the kitchen was done and I could now relax and concentrate on eating and indulging in my friends’ wonderful cooking.
There’s always the dreaded dinner guest that arrives too early, and unwittingly, that guest this time was me! Thinking I was fashionably late to arrive 15 minutes past the appointed time, I was actually 15 minutes early due to not properly reading my emails. When I arrived at SV’s, I found the hostess missing and none of the diners present. Oh no, I worried, did I arrive on the wrong day…again?
SV’s nine-year old daughter welcomed me into their high-rise apartment which had spectacular night views of the Marina and the Arabian Sea. As I emerged from the entry hall, I spotted the beautifully laid out dining table and a sigh of relief escaped, “Whew! Right apartment and right day after all.”
Thinking incorrectly that everyone else was late and correctly that SV was attending to her other children, I set about taking photos of the apartment and dining table set-up. Finally the hostess appeared and said the magic word, “Sangria?” to which I enthusiastically nodded, “Yes, please!”
I quickly apologized for being too early as SV poured me a glass of sangria and then excused herself to the kitchen. I took a big
gulp sip and savored the sweetness of the sangria which was made with red wine, fresh fruit, and soda. SV chatted with me through the open door of her kitchen while she stirred, simmered, and sauced, as one by one, the other guests arrived and we soon sat down for dinner.
Starters – Shrimp Cocktail and Ceviche
The table setting with the deep-red charger and pewter napkin ring was so elegant, I didn’t want to move anything. But I eventually had to put down my camera so I could start the tasting of the seafood starters.
The first appetizer of fresh jumbo shrimps was nicely complimented with the homemade cocktail sauce which was more mellow and more preferable to the jarred variety that can sometimes be too horseradish-y.
The second appetizer to be served was ceviche, which is a seafood dish that is quite popular in Central and South America. It is usually made with raw fish that is marinated in lime or lemon juice. The acidity of the marinade “cooks” the fish by denaturing the proteins.
Some of the other diners that had never had ceviche before were a bit worried at the thought of eating “uncooked” fish but after tasting the fish, their fears were abated. Although the fish is not cooked in the traditional sense using heat, it looks and tastes cooked – unlike sashimi where the fish is completely raw.
This ceviche was my favorite dish of the night. The fish was tender and delicate – so light and refreshing with the perfect combination of lime and cilantro and a spicy kick. After slowly savoring each bite of the ceviche, I wanted to lift up the bowl and drink the remaining marinade in the Chinese soup way.
Main Course – Seafood Fettuccine in Alfredo Sauce
SV admitted that she had some trouble with this dish as it had to reheated a few times and although the pasta did seem slightly overcooked, I still enjoyed the creamy flavors of the Alfredo sauce with the smoked salmon and crab.
Dessert – Flan with Mexican Wedding Cake
Now the flan wasn’t on the original menu that was submitted by SV but it made a welcome appearance that night alongside her Mexican wedding cake.
Flan is a traditional Mexican dessert similar to caramel-covered custard. I enjoyed the flavors but had it been less thick, it would have been perfect.
The Mexican wedding cake was actually a cookie similar to a shortbread cookie. It was dense, buttery, and delicious.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and as the evening came to an end, the scoring sheets were passed around for us to rate SV on her efforts for the night with the winner to be revealed in a few weeks time…
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Recipe for Ceviche
1 kg (2 lbs) white fish fillets (such as cream dorie, red snapper, sea bass, tilapia, etc)
1 cup lime juice (about 8-10 large limes)
1 small onion, finely diced
5 medium tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
Serves 6 appetizer portions.
Cut the fish fillets into 2 cm (1 inch) cubes. Place in a non-reactive bowl and completely cover the fish with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. The color of the fish will change from translucent to opaque white as it “cooks.”
Drain the fish. Mix in the onion, tomatoes, avocado, coriander, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with saltine crackers.
Tip: SV recommends using the freshest fish available. If the fish has a bitter taste due to bitter limes, add a small amount of ketchup to fix this.
Recipe courtesy of SV
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More Come Dine With Me Dubai:
The Culinary Battleground is Set!
Come Dine With Me – Day 1 – A Risotto Disaster?
Come Dine with Me – Day 2 – Ceviche, Ceviche!
Come Dine With Me – Day 3 – A Grand Feast
Come Dine With Me – Day 4 – A Taste of Sweden with No Meatballs
Come Dine With Me – Day 5 – Kilawin, Kilawin!
Come Dine With Me – Day 6 – The Winner is Announced