So far, our #Discover series of fundraising meals has been focusing on Italian regional cuisine, where I was able to showcase the gastronomic heritage of areas I grew up in (Cilento, Napoli etc). Yet a few months ago @bmcboy and I attended a Malaysian supper club at Guan Chua’s (Theboywhoatetheworld) and his incredible food gave me an idea. What if we were to host another #Discover supper club but invite Guan to cook his nyonya cuisine, to fund raise for a charity dear to me who operates in Malaysian Borneo to protect the orphaned and displaced orangutans? Guan was kindly up for it and so we started planning #DiscoverMalaysia.
Guan put together a great menu, which included 3 starters, 3 mains and a dessert. I loved having him working in our kitchen and seeing him in action, and help where I could. I love Malaysian food so for me was also a sneaky opportunity to learn about it and also pick up a few cheffy skills (those quenelles…). For the occasion, we also had an absolutely full house, with 14 guests which is the maximum we could possibly sit comfortably. It was fantastic to have the support of repeat guests including MondoMulia and OrientExpresso and new guests such as the London Foodie. We also had the charity’s ambassador, Nicholas Daines, as guest of honour: he was able to tell everyone about his experience with the charity, meeting the orangutans face to face, being bashed on the head by a baby ape and his stunt man career. But he of course, loved the food like everyone else!
The starters were a great opening taste of nyonya flavours, particularly the pork belacan lollipops and a fragrant chicken and noodle salad, rich in mint and asian herbs called Kerabu Bee Hon.
The first main to be served was a beautiful dish of tamarind marinated, juicy fresh prawns donated by Barney’s: Assam Heh.
Following on, one of Guan’s signature dishes: Kurry Kapitan, a delicious, fragrant and lightly spicy curry:
Then, came what perhaps was my favourite dish (but it’s hard to choose!): Tau Ye Bak, soya braised free range pork belly (from previous supporters Abel & Cole who provided a discount on their meat). Intense, rich, dark and incredible. The mains were served with jasmine rice and sambal vegetable medley.
After such strong flavours, before the dessert, we served a lime and lemongrass sorbet, one of the two dishes I had made myself to avoid feeling too left out of the action.
The dessert saw guests having seconds or thirds: pandan madeleines with coconut ice cream (donated by our regular supporters Scoop Gelato). The madeleines are so good, and the pandan infusion really works. The green hue is very pretty on the plate too.
Finally, we had a round of Kopi (malaysian coffee, kindly brought by @OrientExpresso) and coconut marshmallows (also made by myself).
We raised a whopping £428 which includes a £30 donation from our neighbours who, as a thank you for lending us 4 chairs, enjoyed some of the left overs on Sunday and loved them so much, they decided to offer extra support.
A lot of work goes into these dinners and while I do it occasionally and for charity, it is Guan’s regular job, so I really appreciated his time and enthusiasm in supporting the event. Of course, equally I am so grateful to those who attended and gave beyond the suggested donation which allowed us to donate such a sum, Platform Galeri who sell beautifully designed teeshirts to support a number of endangered species (and sent one for @bmcboy to model) and ultimately our suppliers who, donating ingredients or offering discounts, allowed us to keep costs down. The main goal was to raise awareness of the plight of the orangutans of Asia and how we can all help to try and save them from impending extinction.
To find out more about the charity and how to support:
- Baby Orangutan Adoption programme
- Buy a cool ‘Hangin’ Wild’ teeshirt
- Buy a palm oil free Monkey Leaf soap
More photos from the night by Roadstar Photography: