I used to live in Sydney.
I have some awesome friends still in Sydney, and one of them ventured up for a visit this weekend. We shall refer to her as Sarah, because that is her name.
Now, being from Sydney, I felt a certain level of pressure to provide Sarah with a Novocastrian experience that demonstrated the superiority of my adopted home town. Newcastle is great. It’s laid back, it’s beautiful, it lacks the chaos and crowding that is hallmark of Sydney. So my little brain went into overdrive.
I considered beach walks, live music, the Thai Ladyboys show that is currently in town.
And then it hit me. A far greater idea. An idea that would go down in history, and perhaps should appear on the Top Ten of things to do in Newcastle.
Yes, I created a game show night.
I collected Sarah from the train station and went straight to the supermarket. Stage one: Supermarket Sweep. With a budget of $10, Sarah was issued with the instructions to collect ingredients that she would use to create a “tasting plate” dessert. She also had to buy one packet of paddle pop sticks for a later event. I had to do the same, but my mystery item was a bag of elastic bands. The plot thickens, friends.
Stage two. Within a 30 minute time frame, create a dessert using the ingredients purchased and basic pantry items.
I was a little surprised at the processes Sarah included:
She expressed surprise that this would be how she spent a Saturday night. Little did she know the fun had only just begun.
We cooked down to the wire, friends. Both our desserts needed some fridge time, which allowed the perfect opportunity for Stage Three: The Price Is Right. This challenge was easy in theory. Make a list of the items purchased. With a time frame of 60 seconds, the challenge was to put these items in order of price, from most expensive to cheapest. The stakes were high. I won.
Once victory was claimed it was time for the taste test. Now, neither of us knew what the other was cooking. My philosophy was to pick a dessert that I knew was a crowd favourite, but adapt it so that it could be whipped up quickly on a budget and still taste good. I present to you: Chocolate Cheesecake (complete with artistic smear that looked vaguely like excrement)!
Sarah took a slightly different approach.
In my more generous moments, I can see what she was aiming for. The combination of savoury and sweet, the elements of surprise and texture variation, the bite size idea of the canapé. Upon presentation I was more than a little surprised to see Cheese and Bacon Balls.
What you have just gazed upon is banana slices, with holes inside them. These holes are filled with banana lollies. The banana is topped with Ice Magic, with a crumbled Cheese and Bacon Ball crust. Sarah explained that she felt this would result in a taste sensation similar to salted caramel.
It did not.
Stage four was a sneaky one. It involved the creation of catapults. These catapults were then used to fire marshmallows across the lounge room. What was a bit sneaky about it was that this was a blatant trial run for Cubs. Sarah absolutely had the edge in this battle.
Ah, Newcastle. You have much to offer. I can’t help but wonder if I lived in Sydney still, would this evening of game show shenanigans would even been considered as suitable entertainment for a visiting friend.
I think it would, to be honest. But admit it. You’re jealous, right?
How do you entertain friends?