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NOW CLOSED Share your best dinner party dishes with Waitrose.com - you could win a £100 Waitrose voucher

(100 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 13-May-12 17:28:35

On Saturday 12th May Waitrose.com sent 12 Mumsnetters and their guests to Waitrose Cookery School in North London to attend a Michelin-star cookery masterclass. They spent the day preparing (and eating) a three course dinner party menu consisting of:

~ Roast scallops, potato gnocchi and truffle emulsion
~ Rack of lamb with braised peas, bacon, lettuce and mint with dauphinoise potatoes
~ Inverted lemon tart, summer fruit salad and lemon yoghurt sorbet

This thread is for their feedback on the day but we'd also like to open this up to all on MN - so if you didn't attend please add your own comments on your favourite dinner party dishes - what's the best dish you've either made for or been served at a dinner party? Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £100 Waitrose.com voucher.

For those of you who attended the event, please tell us all about it. Specifically we'd like to know:

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

Please also feel free to add any other comments you have about the day.

We hope you enjoyed the experience, good luck with the prize draw.

MNHQ

wesolutka Mon 21-May-12 18:13:30

So many lovely ideas here!

My dinner party menu (suits summer or winter depending on the accompaniments):
Starter: beetroot & goat's cheese salad made with whatever pretty leaves I can find (rocket, pea shoots...)
Main: chicken pieces done in a tomato, chorizo and butter bean sauce. Served with potatoes and greens if winter, or hunks of crusty bread if al fresco!
Dessert: would serve a platter of fruit, cheese & biscuits - something there for appetites of all sizes smile

It needn't cost a lot - look for special offers on e.g. salad leaves, and use canned tomatoes and butter beans, supermarket own brand chicken/chorizo, etc. etc. Scrummy!

bebemoojem Mon 21-May-12 21:17:28

Personally I love doing:
Avocado Bacon Salad starter
3min beef sirloins with fresh carrots and beans and sautéed asparagus and bacon.
For dessert I like making white and milk chocolate swirl cheesecake (using the cream cheese based recipe for ease) with a chocolate bourbon crushed biscuit base.

Everyone always croons and every thing is so easy to make you could make it everyday.

FourThousandHoles Mon 21-May-12 21:22:53

Sorry, been meaning to add my thoughts for a few days but have been away. THanks so much for choosing me, my friend and I had a really wonderful day.

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
The organisation was amazing, it seemed to be a very well oiled machine indeed. The staff were all very friendly and the tone of the demonstrations was just right, not patronising but not boring or cheffy either.
~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
Oh god loads - rolling out pastry between two sheets of baking parchment, slicing an orange on a slant to juice it, re-warming the tuille if it started to cool before you'd finished moulding it.
~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
The starter was fun, looked very impressive on the plate but was quite easy to do. I enjoyed cooking all three courses.
~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?
Without a doubt I wouldrecommend it.

There was a couple of negatives, only minor points - the timing was a bit off, started late and finished really late meaning my friend had to rush back to catch her train. ALso there wasn't a lot of room between some of the stations and I am not a small person

Dinner party....
Starter - Red onion tarte tatin with a parmesan crisp
Main - steak with horseradish mash and steamed veg
Desert - spiced plum cheesecake

spendthrift Mon 21-May-12 22:24:46

Best starters, lettuce soup with creme fraiche, selection of Mediterranean starters, mushroom soup with nutmeg and sherry.

Best mains, poached salmon with garlic hollandaise sauce, chicken casseroled with chopped walnuts and pomegranate juice (faisanjan), vegetarian Lebanese stew with seasonal veg in a saffron and tomato sauce.

Best puddings, syrup sponge with cream, apricot creme brulee, meringue nests with cream and pureed mangos or raspberries.

alibubbles Mon 21-May-12 22:38:59

Best main, quick and easy and very impressive, Waitrose Sea bass fillets, pan fried in the butter that comes with it on Waitrose asparagus risotto from the frozen cabinet, add fresh asparagus for effect!

No mess, no prep, fast and yum!

Avver Tue 22-May-12 08:12:43

My most successful dinner parties (if you can call them that, I don't as it makes me feel like I'm my mum in 1986..) have been on the casual side but with amazing quality food. I don't do fancy individually plated food but rather put loads of dishes out and let people dig in. Much more convivial.

Tapas is brilliant for this and having lots of dishes neatly swerves the problem of people not liking the one main dish served.

Kidneys in sherry, salmon in saffron, fresh grilled sardines, lamb skewers, paprika butterbean stew, patatas bravas and tortilla etc is a good mix of dishes that can be prepared in advance and on the day, plus good olives and bread.

Waitrose are great for this sort of menu, by the way!

Avver Tue 22-May-12 08:13:35

My most successful dinner parties (if you can call them that, I don't as it makes me feel like I'm my mum in 1986..) have been on the casual side but with amazing quality food. I don't do fancy individually plated food but rather put loads of dishes out and let people dig in. Much more convivial.

Tapas is brilliant for this and having lots of dishes neatly swerves the problem of people not liking the one main dish served.

Kidneys in sherry, salmon in saffron, fresh grilled sardines, lamb skewers, paprika butterbean stew, patatas bravas and tortilla etc is a good mix of dishes that can be prepared in advance and on the day, plus good olives and bread.

Waitrose are great for this sort of menu, by the way!

gingercat12 Tue 22-May-12 13:47:55

My friend cooked coq-au-vin for us. I loved her recipe so much that I use it to this day.

mckenzie Tue 22-May-12 16:13:54

I think salmon with a peccorino cheese, breadcrumbs and pesto topping is the best I've ever served. It's easy to make beforehand, it doesn't take long to cook but it looks lovely on the plate. Served with baby new potatoes and green beans the whole plate looks colourful and appealing.

HarrogateMum Tue 22-May-12 16:43:51

My favourite dishes to cook would be:

Starter: either a dish of very simple smoked salmon on a bed of grated fresh beetroot with creme fraiche, or a lovely crab and smoked salmon starter that is basically chopped avocado and lemon juice pushed into the bottom of a cooking ring, followed by a layer of crab and cream cheese, dill and tabasco mixed togethr, followed by smoked salmon layered on top, all on a bed of rocket. Very clean fresh flavours.

Alternatively if I'm doing fish as a main I might do a tart of some sort on a bed of rocket - so caramelised onion and blue cheese, or red onion and goats cheese.

Main: I do a nice lamb dish with the lamb fillets that you can only seem to get in Waitrose (well of course butchers will do them but other supermarkets don't seem to). I roll the fillets in herbs such as tarragon, parsley etc and then flash fry them before putting them in the oven for about 10 minutes to cook so they are nice and pink in the middle. I serve them with either dauphinoise or a fondant potato each which is time consuming to make but ooooohhhhh so delicious and again can be done in advance and rewarmed before the meal. I make a nice jus with a simple bit of lamb stock, tomato puree, thyme and some butter whisked in to give it a nice glaze!

If I fancy fish I do a nice stuffed monkfish wrapped in parma ham. You whizz up pine nuts and garlic and olive oil and stuff them in the monkfish, wrap in parma ham and cook! Nice with parmentier potatoes and herby creme fraiche.

Pudding: Either a tart (if not done one for starter), make a mean plum and frangipane one, or a meringue roulade with loads of raspberries and cream!

not sure I'm posh enough to use the word 'dinner party' but when we have friends over, my tried and tested:

starter: scallops with sweet chilli sauce and creme fraiche. char grill the scallops. green leaves on plate with creme fraiche at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. sweet thai chilli sauce at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. serve with crusty bread.

salmon with strawberry salsa. either bake salmon or fry. serve with strawberry salsa (strawberries, coriander, red onion and lots of lime juice).

LulaPalooza Germany Wed 23-May-12 01:09:16

Heavens to Betsy, I love this thread. I am a fatty foodie and LOVE cooking and eating.

I am BEYOND jealous of those that got to go on the course, but I didn't enter as I was too freaked by the idea of being filmed.

So many great ideas and posts on this thread, but a few that I really need to respond to...

CMOTDibbler - can I please come over to yours for an early dinner then we can scoff some raclette at 11-ish with some nice red wine?! Or perhaps we could head over to BornSicky's after?

MakeTeaNotWar - am so jealous that your DH is a butcher! Mine brings home some amazing leftovers from work (event manager) plus booze, so we live a champagne and fillet steak lifestyle without the cash. I would love a man who knows his meat (fnar)

Comradejing - am intrigued by the slug of peaty whisky in cumble. Thanks for the tip!

I tend to cook homefood rather than fine food. Recent experiments that went down well include pulled pork (with my own homemade BBQ sauce made with a really smoky single malt), southern fried chicken, gammon in cola (pimped up version of a Nigella recipe, with more spice). Not all at the same meal, obv.

I think I might have lived in the southern States in a former life.

If doing scallops I serve them with a vodka tomato salsa.

I really like cooking roast dinner (slow cooked lamb or garlicky lemon chicken with tarragon), but my favourite meal to cook is breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with smoked bacon OR fried eggs with chorizo and strawberry salsa ...

Served with baked portobello mushroom, oven roasted cherry tomatoes (roasted with garlic, herbs and a shitload of butter), home made hash browns or crumpies.

Omnomnomnomnom...

Sorry this is so long. I am a Food Tart.

The best dinner party dish I have had/made is scallops with rocket, black pudding and squeeze of lemon to start. Beef Wellington as main with various veg and spuds and chocolate tart for pudding. Always goes down well.

In summer a big berry pavlova always looks nice, pain to cut and serve as it tends to get a tad messy but very tasty.

Glabella Tue 29-May-12 16:46:50

Our biggest dinner party success is my husband's risotto- chicken and spinach with lashings of butter and white wine in it, and parmesan on top. It is amazing!

We usually do tapas type dishes for starters- mozzarella and tomato salad, pate and flatbreads, feta and spinach spring rolls.

Eton mess always goes down well for dessert (is often meant to have been a pavlova, but our friends seem to like the failed version better).

cherryjellow Wed 30-May-12 10:45:38

sweet potato gratin was nice
I always love ham hoc home made soup for starter
chocolate mouse with sticky orange caramel

Ive only been to one dinner party though :/

nipitinthebud Wed 30-May-12 11:17:09

I love planning and preparing dinner parties and tend to choose things that can be done ahead of time so that its not too frantic once friends arrive (plus....the amount of wine I consume is inversely proportional to the quality and care of the food - so best to have something that doesn't need anything much doing to it).

My favs are:

Starter -

Good Housekeeping Roasted asparagus with a shallot vinegrette and Parmesan
Or
Delia's Piedmont Roasted peppers, but without the anchovies and with goats cheese or toms and mushrooms if pg
OR
Nigel Slater's baked goats cheese, honey and thyme wrapped in puff pastry

Main -
Crunchy pesto chicken (chicken smeared with garlic butter topped with breadcrumbs, smoked lardons, parsley and grated parmesan, baked in the oven with a pesto sauce made of cream with a couple of tbsp pesto sauce in it. But old fashionedly calorific and heavy but delish)
OR
Delia's Roast Duck with Sour Cherry Sauce (sauce can be done ahead, and roasting is just bunging it in the oven)
OR
Poussin with a creme fraice and pesto mix under the skin and topped with a couple of bits of proscuitto. Roasted with splosh of vino.
OR
Coq au vin

Pud -
Mary Berry's Divine Lemon Pots (served in tiny coffee cups)
OR
White choc and Bailey's cheesecake (if very special occassion or if I like the guests muchly)

Or go chinese and have:
Won Ton soup, yuk Soong, Ginger chicken, some garlicky pak choi and fried rice, then a scoop of Waitrose Coconut and lime ice cream, scoop of Mango sorbet and some pineapple

If its just me and DH we have:
Starter -
baked garlic mushrooms in butter
OR
garlic, chilli prawns

Main -
Steak and stilton

No pud

noo1985 Wed 30-May-12 16:41:47

I have never held a dinner party, but alweays wanted to do it.
Think if I were to hold one I would have to pick my favourite dishes to serve to everyone. Which would be:

Cream of winter vegetable soup
Lasagne with garlic bread on the side
Profiteroles

Not the most extravagant of menus but I don't care, its what I like to eat so everyone else can enjoy it with me to lol.

fallingandlaughing Fri 01-Jun-12 09:57:04

I think the key to cooking for a dinner aprty is making something that doesn't have to be poked at and tended to just before serving. Much better to whip something out the oven and spend more time with your guests. Stifado is great for that, nice made with venison, lamb or beef and served with roast potatoes, rice and salad. Anytime I have made the Nigella Easter Cake (not just at Easter) it has gone down a treat but I'm going to pinch some ideas off this thread as DD is allergic to egg, we need some new ideas she can join in with!

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Jun-12 14:39:47

Thank you to everyone who has posted on this thread and all those who went along to the cookery school event - we hope you enjoyed the day!

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the £100 Waitrose.com voucher is...

HarrogateMum

Congratulations! I'll PM you to get your details.

PseudoBadger Tue 13-Nov-12 23:09:50

Does anyone know if the video ever got made and posted anywhere? Do asked me tonight if he was famous yet grin

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 16:29:12

Good question Pseudo - I'll ask and get back to you

PseudoBadger Mon 19-Nov-12 16:32:14

Thank you! And obviously *DP asked me not Do... grin

PseudoBadger Mon 10-Dec-12 15:43:24

Any update TheOtherHelen?

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Dec-12 13:06:59

I've got the link to the video - just checking whether I can post it here or not - bear with please!

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Dec-12 13:13:08

Here's the link to the video from the day - looks like you all had a great time - the food looks delish!!

amp-london.com/videos/waitrose/waitroseIndex.html

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