Vegetarian dinner for guests - cooking with baby on hip - help!

(31 Posts)
aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 21:19:29

DP usually does all the cooking. I'm massively out of practice! We have friends coming for dinner tomorrow, they'll be looking forward to one of DP's legendary meals.

But ... DP's been called away for a job at the last minute, he won't get there till it's time to eat!

I'd like to pull something good out of the bag. However I will have with me DS (4.5) and baby DD who likes to be held at all times, pretty much.

Help - I need an easily prepared vegetarian feast for 6, what would you do?

WilsonFrickett Sun 01-Sep-13 21:58:22

Could you do a big veggie curry with a side of dhal? Then you could buy naan, rice, some chutneys and some samosa/pakora. Lay it all out on the table, best of all you could make the curries ahead of time so they just need reheating. Google Vicky Bhogal for some easy recipes.

Or - and I know people usually recoil in horror from this - but a really, really good home made veggie lasagne is hard to beat and again you can do each stage in bits then it's just a case of bunging in the oven. If you use nice summery veg it will feel seasonal but still indulgent enough to impress.

Masses of salad, garlic bread and eton mess for afters.

aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 22:36:28

Thanks for the suggestions smile

Curry's definitely out I'm afraid. DP is a master at curry - he starts by making his own paste. Our friends all love his curries, I wouldn't know where to start on the other hand! It'd be too much like a poor substitute for DP's cooking! Ideally I'd like to do something he doesn't usually do.

Lasagne could be an option. Not sure if it will be "really really good" though! My cooking skills are fairly basic!

I'm not looking to do a swanky dish to impress, if I can do something nice it'll be enough. One of our guests used to be our lodger, don't think she saw me ever cook an evening meal for adults in the year and a half she was here, she'll be impressed enough that I've done it at all!

aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 22:38:21

I've found some black rice in the cupboard, I know DP was saving it for a special occasion, and this is one. I wonder what you can cook with that?

aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 22:40:00

Oh, the other thing is I need to get the ingredients from the Coop, I won't be able to get to the big supermarket tomorrow.

They only have limited veg IIRC, usual staples but nothing particularly interesting.

aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 22:43:48

Aah, just remembered my friend who's coming is a nutritionist. No pressure there then wink

I'm not into this at all. This is why DP does all the cooking, he loves it, and is good at it. I find it stressful - I'm already imagining how it'll go wrong!

It'll need to be something I can prepare ahead of time while juggling the DCs.

WilsonFrickett Sun 01-Sep-13 23:03:08

Ok. Let's go back to basics. Can you make a white/cheese sauce first off?

WilsonFrickett Sun 01-Sep-13 23:05:55

If not, lasagne is out but how about this

aufaniae Sun 01-Sep-13 23:35:41

I could make a cheese sauce. Not the easiest to stir continuously while holding DD but hopefully could do it while she's asleep. I like that it can be done ahead then stuck in the oven.

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 09:04:18

Any more idea gratefully received! smile

I need to decide by the afternoon, then go shop for ingredients.

noteventhebestdrummer Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:57

Delia Smith roasted veg lasagne is good and you can use whatever veg the coop has in, doesn't need to be specific ones.

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 09:22:15

Just wonderinmg if I could do something with the black rice. This looks lovely but no way can I stir for an hour while looking after the kids!

Black rice risotto

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 09:22:59

Will have a look at Delia Smith Lasagne, thanks smile

TwentyTinyToes Mon 02-Sep-13 09:28:28

Spinach and ricotta lasagna? Make all component parts ahead of time and assemble at the last minute.

Tweet2tweet Mon 02-Sep-13 09:29:41

Easy peasy option here. Serve with a salad and crusty bread.
You could then have baked bananas, adding some rum and sultanas with some vanilla creme?

Mumbledore Mon 02-Sep-13 09:37:51

I did some bean wraps for veggie friends recently which went down well, and you can just chuck everything on the table like wraps, jars of sour cream, grated cheese etc. The only cooking is the bean mix - I just fried some onion, garlic, peppers then added veg stock, a tin of toms, beans (like a bean salad in a tin but you could use whatever the co op have), chilli powder and cumin and simmered. Open a bag of salad, maybe throw in a tray of potato wedges and you have a feast!

intheshed Mon 02-Sep-13 09:37:59

Spinach and ricotta canneloni? Easy peasy especially if you use fresh lasagne sheets to make the canneloni instead of the fiddly tubes. Or my favourite is broadbean and asparagus risotto, easy and delicious.

Alternatively get a takeaway?? wink

TwentyTinyToes Mon 02-Sep-13 09:42:35

Takeaway sounds like an even better plan.

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 09:49:06

Takeaway is so tempting grin Can't really justify the expense though sadly!

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 09:57:29

Tweet2tweet genius, thanks, I'm going to do that. It's not swanky, but I know I can do a good job of it, and more importantly I can do it this afternoon, and just pop it in the oven when they get here.

I'll do a lovely salad, and get nice bread like you suggest.

Love the baked bananas idea too but DP hates bananas sadly.

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 10:01:35

I hadn't thought of pudding. If I had time, DS and I could make a cake. Not sure I have though - need to tidy (very messy!) house with the two kids in tow this morning. <looks nervously at clock>

One of our visitors is American. I remember she loves British puddings and custard. Did you know they don't have custard in the US?! shock

Maybe I'll just buy something we can have custard with.

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 10:03:03

Oh, hold on, the Coop might not have sweet potatoes. It's a bit boring if it's just normal potatoes isn't it?

cherrytomato40 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:44:05

Normal potatoes with plenty of butter in the mash and cheese on top would be fine!

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 11:18:37

DD looks like she's falling asleep (fingers crossed!) she's feeding right now.

Here's my plan - tidy house now till 2:30. DS can play in garden / watch TV / help if he feels inclined

Check I have:
- olive oil
- carrots
- 800g tinned toms
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 2 large onions
- 50g butter

2:30 get kids ready to go out:

3pm, go to coop, buy:

- fresh thyme
- red wine (yummmm)
- 820g can green lentils
- 1900g sweet potatoes
- nice cheddar
- salad ingrediants
- nice crusty bread
- pudding that goes with custard
- custard

3pm - cook, put aside. Will give DS some simple cooking jobs to do

4pm - play with DS

4:30pm - tidy DS's room

5pm - tidy house from today's mess

6pm - first guests arrive

Easy peasy, what could possibly go wrong?! wink

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 11:19:51

That looks like an awful lot of potatoes, is that right? I doubled all amounts in this recipe

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 11:23:12

Oops I've double counted an hour there, this doesn't bode well grin

aufaniae Mon 02-Sep-13 11:27:33

New plan:

- check ingredients as soon as DD stops feeding
- tidy house
- 3pm shop
- 4pm cook, with DS
- 5pm more cleaning
- 5:30 tidy DS's room, with DS
- 6pm guests start to arrive
- 6:30 make quick salad

Tweet2tweet Mon 02-Sep-13 13:07:51

Normal potatoes are fine, I've done it with them before. Just make sure they are well seasoned and cheesy as cherrytom says. As a guide I reduce the amount of water used so that the filling is not too runny. Cut back by about a third and then if it looks too thick you can add a bit more boiled water when cooking. Better to be too think than runny!

Maybe go for 1.5kg of potatoes if you don't want too thick a topping. You don't want it to be too thin though as the filling will bubble up. If you think that there's too much once boiled, keep some aside for a potato salad.

If the guests like custard what about a trifle? I buy a simple off the shelf mix but add fresh berries and strawberries to the jelly so it's a fruity trifle, I believe you can add sherry to the sponge too. Just don't go for too runny fruit or the jelly won't set. On a plus the birds trifle mix is vegetarian form memory.

You can make everything in advance and pop main in the of just before guests arrive. Bare in mind if the filling has cooled you'll need to up the cooking time a little. Trifle takes 5mins ish and then just put it in the fridge to set. As a tip I cover on cling film so no other food smells taint it.

Don't worry about it not being too fancy. If one guest is American you can say that you wanted to do a vegetarian twist on a British traditional meal. Shepherd's pie followed by trifle, a good honest spread if you ask me;)

Hope you all have fun and it works out.

Tweet2tweet Mon 02-Sep-13 13:11:11

PS- if you want to occupy DS, I find giving some pre rolled puff pastry and asking little ones to cut into cheese straws is a good attention grabber. Just unroll the pastry, cut one to show what should look like (a pastry finger) and give a bowl of finely grated cheese to sprinkle on top. Then when guests come it can be a nibble with drinks and DS can get all the credit which usually goes down very well!

Tweet2tweet Mon 02-Sep-13 13:11:59

PPS- and obviously bake the cheese straws, usually about 15/20mins at around 180.

Tweet2tweet Mon 02-Sep-13 13:21:30

PPPS- you can use dry thyme, just reduce amount as not fresh, again reduce by about a third

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now