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Dinner Party Dilemma!

(10 Posts)
blue2 Thu 15-Sep-11 18:16:44

We have agreed to host one of those 'safari suppers' for the local hopsice in a few weeks time. There are 10 houses hosting, each of which has 6 people for a starter, then a different 6 for a main - and hey - guess what? 6 more for pud! The guests move from house to house.

They all pay for their food and drink, but we have to host the whole caboosh out of our pockets. (I won't tell you what dh said when I told him I'd agreed to do it...)

So.... I need an easy peasy cheap and easy to serve 3 course dinner. I have the day before to prepare, but probably no time on the night due to ushering guests in and out and adhering to a timetable.

I'm thinking that serving stuff up needs to be quick, too.

In fact, I'm thinking I've made a bit of a mistake.

Any ideas?

said Thu 15-Sep-11 18:25:49

So, does the food not need to be too haute cuisine? It's the thought that counts type of thing? Can be good but basic?

chinateacup Thu 15-Sep-11 18:27:57

I have just stolen my sis-in-law's Nigella and there's a fab grilled halloumi with beetroot purée on rocket- starter maybe? Or home made soup with a bit of creme fraiche wanged in artistically at the end and some part baked rolls for the home made feel. Or hot smoked salmon with crispy warm bread and salad garnish?
Pudz- choc mousse made the night before? Eton mess or similar always quick and peasy especially if u buy meringues to bash up and use value fruit for the purée and decent stuff just for the bits you leave whole? Nigella has a good one with lemon curd & cream & meringue- looks yum.
Mains- if it's not quite casserole weather how about salmon- whole or fillets. Seasoned and steamed in foil in the oven with roasted cherry toms to make it look pretty and then the usual veg, spuds and funk up a bit of couscous. Or tandoori style chicken- just roast a couple of whole ones with usual sides? Or do a roast? And appoint one of the guests as head carver to Involve everyone.
Sorry if this isn't posh nosh enough but they are all quick and easy, mean you don't have to spend all night cooking, and don't have a million ingredients so not too expensive.

Ps Can I come?
Pps other good ideas look in telegraph online for " cheat's dinner party"

DesperatelySeekingSanity Thu 15-Sep-11 19:41:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

choccyp1g Thu 15-Sep-11 19:49:05

Will you be talking to the other hosts, otherwise there a risk that the three courses will be too similar. People might get goats cheese for starter, cheesy mushrooms for main course and cheesecake for pudding. Or three lots of pastry (not that I'd be complaining at that).

cheesetoastie Thu 15-Sep-11 20:04:49

Soup for starter, chicken/veg casserole or thai-style chicken curry for main, cheesecake for pud. When we've done these the wine is 'sold' (ie. you buy so many tickets and it gives you X amount of glasses) for the charity so by the time you get to main course everyone is very tipsy and the last transfer to the pud house can take some time - so you definitely need a pud that doesn't spoil.

Ragwort Thu 15-Sep-11 20:10:00

What a great idea, it sounds fabulous.

Smoked mackeral pate with french bread is a really easy starter, can be made the day before.

Agree a casserole type dish for maincourse.

Crumble for pud ?

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 15-Sep-11 20:10:51

I would do something like chilli and rice for main course. Will you have advance notice of any special requirements (veggie or allergies etc)?

I would make a key lime pie (my speciality) or something similar for pudding - it's a bit like a cheesecake. It can be taken out of the fridge 30 minutes before guests' arrival and no probs if they are late.

Something simple to start, melon and parma ham? Looks beautiful if you have a melon baller or slice different colours of melon. Omit the ham obviously if any veggies.

blue2 Mon 19-Sep-11 11:45:32

Oh, thank you all sooooo much for your replies - and inspiration!

I've spoken to the organiser, and I have a better idea food-wise as to what to serve. It needs to be fish or veggie to start, with meat as a main. I dont think I'll have any vegetarians to cook for, but I've offered to be a wheat free hostess as I cant eat it - and I'll serve wheat free stuff to people - they never know!

I also think portion control may be the way forward, so little ramekins of fishy pate with crackers or toast would be a good start. Sainsburys do smoked salmon offcuts that I could do something with.

The organiser said that it can take some guests 2 minutes to swap houses, and others up to 10, so people could be arriving in dribs and drabs a bit.

I am overwhelmed with apples, so def an 'appley' number and a choc mousse in ramekins. (Hmmm need lots of ramekins)

I dont think I'll be able to do fish as a main, so a posh casserole might be the answer; I like the idea of an 'artful swirl' of cream and a few chopped chives.

Keep the ideas coming in - they're brilliant!

IHateDailyMail Mon 19-Sep-11 19:22:10

I can recommend this beef stroganoff. It will keep warm, you can bulk it out with extra mushrooms, lovely with rice or pasta or mash.

Pork braised in cider, with apples and new potatoes cooked with it, is nice at this time of year, and pork is probably the best value meat to buy at the moment.

Instead of ramekins, how about using those chefs' rings (I use round cookie cutters!) to frame the starter while you build it up on the plate. eg bed of chopped rocket at the bottom, then marinated salmon, then some corn salsa, topped with some sprigs of dill. The rings keep it neat and it looks gorgeous on the plate when you take the ring off. Add an 'artful' squirt of balsamic dressing across the plate and voila!

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