This is the place to find the recipes, music and book club information to host your own party. When you have your own party, send us a pic of the fun, okay? [ btalbot (at) marriedwithluggage (dot) com ]
Still don’t have a copy of the book? Get it here.
What would a party be without a signature drink to enjoy? Thanks to Darcey Howard for creating our drink The Skinny Strip!
The Skinny Strip recipe
(makes 2 petite cocktails or 1 Big Girl Drink!)
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Canton Ginger Liquer
½ fresh squeezed orange
Splash of maraschino cherry syrup (the syrup from the jar of maraschino cherries)
Garnish: orange slice, maraschino cherry on a toothpick
Two of our appetizers are courtesy of our friend and resident Belgium expert, Alison Cornford Matheson. Alison is a fantastic cook who hails from Canada, and she takes a little something from every travel destination to add to her repertoire back in her Brussels kitchen.
Alison writes about travel, food and living as an expat when she’s not photographing gardens and architecture.
Rule-Breaking Deviled Eggs
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Cheese (sharp varieties like cheddar and gouda work best)
- A dollop of mustard (Dijon or flavoured mustards work nicely)
- Paprika to sprinkle on top
- Finely chopped olives
- Cayenne or chilli powder to taste
- Freshly chopped herbs
- Onion or garlic salt
Slice the eggs lengthwise and scoop the yokes into a bowl. Mash the yokes together with all of the other ingredients until it tastes the way you like it. Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites and sprinkle with paprika for colour and a hit of spice. Chill and enjoy!
Feta and Walnut Stuffed Magic Mushrooms
- 900g mushrooms, stems removed
- 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 200g butter, melted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 225g of Feta cheese
- 115g walnuts, chopped
- 200g white breadcrumbs
- 50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 60ml chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the mushrooms in a baking dish and drizzle with 50g butter, lemon juice and half of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 mins. Set aside to cool.
- Cream feta with walnuts and 30ml of breadcrumbs.
- Spoon the mixture into the cooled mushroom caps.
- Preheat the grill/broiler. Mix together the remaining garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley and melted butter. Season to taste. Cover the stuffed mushrooms with bread mixture. Grill for 5 mins or until breadcrumbs turn golden.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
Personal-chef-turned-media-guru Karen Rosenzweig from Seattle created the Sexy Scallops. What else would you expect from a woman dubbed the Sexy Spitfire of Seattle and one of the top 11 foodies in 2011?
Alright, who’s afraid of a little scallop? Or I should ask, who’s afraid of cooking a little scallop? That’s what I thought! Most people love to eat scallops but are terrified to cook them, for fear of ruining them or splattering grease everywhere or some other little scaredy-cat reason.
This recipe will help you get over that fear, and have you confidently serving some sexy, smoky, bacon-wrapped scallops, much to the delight of your guests. I mean really, what food isn’t sexier wrapped in a strip of bacon?! The smokiness of the peppers, the bacon and the paprika provide a great contrast to the creamy smooth scallop and sweet peppers, and your guests will think you slaved all day – when in reality, this should take you about 15-20 minutes!
- 8 large scallops (an inch or so in diameter, not the small variety)
- 8 slices of smoked bacon (hickory or applewood or other smoked variety)
- 2 whole piquillo peppers (sold in jars in condiment section of grocery store)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup smoky barbeque sauce
- 8 toothpicks
- Cast iron pan (if you have one, otherwise use heavy frying pan)
- Take the scallops out of their package and dry them with paper towels, set aside
- Slice the whole piquillo peppers lengthwise in half, and halve them again – you should have eight strips of peppers
- Mix the mayo and smoky BBQ sauce in a small bowl and set aside
- Fry bacon strips (leave them whole) in a cast iron pan until medium done, but you don’t want them crispy! You’ll be wrapping them around your sexy scallops later and don’t want the strip to break
- Place bacon on paper towels to drain and leave the bacon grease in the pan
- Heat the bacon grease to high (don’t be afraid!)
- Sprinkle the scallops liberally with the smoked paprika on both sides
- Place the scallops gently into the hot bacon grease – do not turn down the heat
- BACK AWAY from the pan for about 1.5 – 2 minutes – you’ll be tempted to poke and prod the scallops but leave them alone (they will splatter, so watch yourself)
- Using a fish spatula (or small flat spatula) flip the scallops over – they should release easily from the pan – if not, let them cook another 15-30 seconds until they release
- Cook the scallops for another 1.5 – 2 minutes until they release nicely from the pan
- Set them on a paper towel lined sheet
- To assemble – lay one strip of bacon on a plate, place one scallop on top of the bacon, and place one strip of pepper so it makes a “tee” with the bacon, across the top of the scallop. Pull the long sides of the bacon up over the scallop and pepper, and skewer through the top with a toothpick
- Continue with the remaining scallops and place the sexy treats on a platter, along with the bowl of smoky BBQ dipping sauce
Yeah, that’s right. We had a cake designed just for this occasion. I can’t really help you recreate this because it really is a work of art. Reader Samantha Searle emailed me a few months ago to thank me for writing about fear on the blog. She had just gotten over the hump herself and opened her own cake decorating business in the Australian Outback. After a few exchanges, I casually threw out the suggestion that she bake the cake for our book launch.
You know, for the book that wasn’t even finished yet.
I know bupkes about cake decorating, so I didn’t know what to expect. You can imagine my surprise (and the spontaneous tears) when I saw the final creation. WOW. You can see all of Sam’s beautiful cakes on her Facebook page.
You can find the discussion questions and party plan page by clicking here. You can cook up the goodies, pour yourself a cocktail, turn on the music and tune in to our virtual book club discussion on April 23 if you want an international perspective on women’s confidence. I hope you’ll join us – it will be a GREAT discussion.