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Help!!! I need an easy menu for 12 friends next Saturday that is impressive!

(22 Posts)
KillashandraRee Sun 09-Dec-18 17:13:23

My husbands 40th next week and we've a few friends coming round. I'm nervous as it's more people than I normally entertain for. Instead of a sit down dinner I thought I'd do something more relaxed so we're not squeezed round the table, something that can be eaten with a fork sat on sofas etc.
I've one fish eating veggie, a few men with large appetites (who won't be happy if there's no meat) so I will have to do two mains, and I need to be able to cook most of it ahead as I've got a mega week at work. Can anyone help?

Oh and they are all quite foodie people so normally do Ottolenghi style food when I eat with them shock

So far ideas are:
Nigella pumpkin and goats cheese lasagne
Could serve this with salad but what would I do for meat eaters? Another lasagne? Isn't that boring?!

Boeuf bourguignon or veal casserole with mash and greens
What do I do for the veggie/ fish eater?

Starting to have a panic...

OP’s posts: |
Blondie1984 Sun 09-Dec-18 17:56:48

Tagine with pomegranate bejewelled couscous - do a meat one with lamb and a veggie one with chickpeas. Tastes better if made in advance, and just needs reheating - will quite happily sit on the stove until you’re ready for it so is great if there are latecomers or you get distracted. Serve with some sort of Ottolenghi inspired side dish

For dessert, pavlova, cheese board and I’m guessing birthday cake?

maxelly Sun 09-Dec-18 23:16:23

Lasagne could be lovely but a little on the everyday side if your plan is to impress. Your stew idea is a good one but you would probably then need to think of a second stew or 'wet' type thing for the veggies in order for it to feel like a coherent meal- perhaps a white bean and leek stew? (Does seem like a bit of an effort to do 2 separate stews if you are v busy with work?).

My go-to main for a large group is a large shoulder of lamb, marinaded either with rosemary and garlic, or north african flavoured spices, slow cooked in the oven on a very low heat for 6-8 hours. It will go very soft and you can then 'pull' it like a pulled pork rather than serving in traditional spices. Serve either with potato gratin (if English style) or bulgar wheat, with appropriate veggies. The marinading can be done in advance and then you just need to bung the lamb in the oven on the morning of the party, the potato gratin/bulgar wheat can be done in advance also.

For the veggies I would do a roasted butternut squash, stuffed with roasted veg, pine nuts, feta cheese and fresh herbs. The stuffing can be made in advance and then just popped onto the squash (which will need about an hour in the oven).

Or (thinking about the 'pulled lamb') you could just do a pulled pork? Quite informal but always goes down a treat here. Serve with bbq sauce, soft white buns, chips or sweet potato chips, coleslaw, corn on the cob? For the veggie/pesce do a spicy bean burger or some flash fried spicy prawns?

Are you thinking of doing starters, puddings or both?

MakeLemonade Sun 09-Dec-18 23:19:21

If you wanted to do pulled pork you could serve with jamie’s BBQ beans, jacket sweet potatoes and cheesy croutons. It’s not overly complex to make but it’s really delicious.

What about curry? One meat and one veg with impressive sides for foodie points!

MrsEricBana Sun 09-Dec-18 23:26:51

I agree re curry - make two early in the week and freeze then reheat and serve with dish of basmati and wild rice (easy and looks fancy) plus nice accompaniments. No starters just tasty nibbles you made earlier passed round with the drinks (bubbles on arrival as is big birthday) e.g. posh olives, blinis, posh crisps, other M&S type nibbles. Pudding = fab cake plus large bowl berries & creme fraiche. Coffee and chocs. Good music, candles, low stress = good party!

Longdistance Sun 09-Dec-18 23:33:04

A lamb joint served on a wooden chopping board.
Roasted Mediterranean vegetables (courgette, onions, peppers, buttered squash, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes)
Hassle back potatoes
Stuffed mushrooms for the veggies.

VittysCardigan Sun 09-Dec-18 23:42:08

One meat & one veggie curry that that you could make ahead & reheat. Served with plenty of rice, popadoms, bhajis etc that you can heat in the oven

Ariela Mon 10-Dec-18 00:47:48

If you're doing a desert, this would do 12 and can be made and frozen beforehand, and has the benefit of looking spectacular, it's also not over-sweet or heavy.

kateandme Mon 10-Dec-18 03:12:16

i don't think there is anything better and for a dinner party than a well made lasagne.if you serve it with a proper side salad with onions.toms peppers and cucmber in.with dressing its lovely and a side of nice garlic bread in could do a veggie one and a meat love this all sat round with can make it the ay before and keep it in the fridge or prper earlier on in the day and leave to sit til cook.or even do one in the week to freeze

or proper curry with rice.and then firstly give out ,little plate with a cachumber salad and mango chutney and riata with naans and popodoms.

a stew so you could make the base of onions celery carrots.add your stock and base of either gravy or tomato.then split in half and add beef or chicken thighs to on half.serve with jackets.dumplings

a great dish for all of salmon and prawn taglieteli really lovely dish you could eat in pasta bowls.with garlic bread
fish pie.

lemon mirangue pie
choc ganache tart
choc mousee/ganache.sponge cake
sticky toffee self saucing or choc pud.

kateandme Mon 10-Dec-18 03:15:06

or make a jambalaya or paella and then split and add some chicken fish etc to one half or just serve chicken thighs on the side.

BlingLoving Tue 11-Dec-18 15:59:02

I would second the slow cooked shoulder of lamb suggestion. Easily done in advance and can look really lovely on a large board or platter in the middle of a table. I'd do a selection of good side dishes that could be mostly prepared in advance and some kind of stuffed vegetable for the veggie (with enough that the meat eaters can have it as a side dish as well). I'd probably do a roasted butternut/spinach/pine nut/feta "warm" salad (aim to have butternut out of the oven shortly before guests arrive, make up salad then leave to cool until you eat) and possibly some kind of dips like Tzatiki or Baba ganoush, both of which go extremely well with lamb. If people are eating while standing around I'd either serve it with a selection of lovely bread or simple buttered new potatoes.

AndThereSaw Tue 11-Dec-18 16:04:58

slow cooked lamb I see shoulder mentioned but leg just as easy) done in a tagine style with spices, chickpeas and fruit. Served with couscous, yogurt, roasted veg/dips.
Veggies can have almond and apricot tagine with all the same accompaniments.

KillashandraRee Wed 12-Dec-18 06:19:54

Thanks all. I wish I'd come back on here before I panicked and ordered food! I can't do shoulder of lamb as I've done that a couple of times before for these friends and feel it might be a bit boring for them, although I do love it.

I panicked and ordered food for a casserole before I saw the tagine ideas and now I'm slightly regretting it. But I've gone for a delia oxtail and Cannellini bean casserole which looks nice and I can make in Friday and just reheat. Thought I'd do nigella cheesy mash that you can prep ahead - or should I just stick with plain mash? and some nice greens like a cavallo nero or Swiss chard.

Still have to find a veggie/ pesce main but wondered about buying a salmon en croute or similar (is that ready rubbish to buy not make...?)

DH doesn't even want to do the dinner I think he's panicking about turning 40 confused

OP’s posts: |
imip Wed 12-Dec-18 06:29:20

I’m in exactly the same position and just ordered duck legs. I’ve really no idea what I am doing as I usually do slow roast lamb also!

whystay Wed 12-Dec-18 06:44:01

If you don't want to but ready made salmon en croute, but a roll of puff pastry, set salmon fillet on it, cover with pesto and sliced tomato, wrap the pastry round it and cook in the oven, it's yummy.

Amazonian27 Wed 12-Dec-18 06:58:40

Apologies for thread jumping. I am catering on a much smaller scale for 7 but I am certainly no Delia or Nigella and don’t have to overly impress just want something edible and tasty and to appear organised so I can concentrate on enjoying my guests compsny please can anyone recommend a nice foolproof not overly spicy chicken curry or tangible recipe that I could make the day before on my day off and just reheat the evening after. Thanks

BlingLoving Wed 12-Dec-18 11:45:43

OP - DEFINITELY buy a salmon en croute made. Are you near a Cook - I think they do a good one, or they do a side of salmon which is good too.

With Oxtail, I'd be inclined to stick with regular mash - it's very rich as it is, I'm not sure you need the cheesiness although I can imagine it tasting pretty good too! And the greens sound great. If you don't do fish, I'd do a veg lasagna as the veggie option. It's in line with the oxtail, and people could choose to have some veg lasagna as a side dish if they really wanted?

BlingLoving Wed 12-Dec-18 11:45:57

Or a stuffed butternut squash.

lastqueenofscotland Wed 12-Dec-18 16:59:41

A big thing of curries maybe a chicken one, a chickpea curry with a Dahl and Bombay potato’s + some shop bought samosas/Bajis with rice and naan

kateandme Thu 13-Dec-18 03:14:37

Amazonian27 you will want to stone me and im sure many other will tell me off.but to make our curries we buy a good jar sharwoods often of tika and jal frazi put them both in to a base of softened onions and garlic,then slightly dusted in cornflour chicken then cauliflower broccoli and green beans.and again sorry bit it makes a great currys! what I usually do otherwise which is why I cant find the specific curry recipe now is type it in google then go to images and then see what fits your fancy from there.because this is also where the bloggers pics comes up which are obviously truthful and don't and tested by them for their job/blogs.
ive just done this and there are so many currys recipes you could choose from which looks good.all different so id go and pic the one that looks like the one your seeking.

salmon sounds lovely.bought ones are fine. but they are lovely when home made.easier if you buy the read rolled pastry.

Amazonian27 Thu 13-Dec-18 04:31:46

kateandme No I don’t want to stone you I may well look into your suggestion. I was thinking a curry but couldn’t find a recipe. Other alternatives are an old ghoulash recipe I have, jools Oliver stew or a friend suggested Delia’s sausage casserole which I haven’t tried but got stuck wondering which type of sausages would work best and where should I get them from (then haven’t progressed to buying the ingredients). Any help welcome.

Oblomov18 Thu 13-Dec-18 06:19:57

Yum!! 🍾🍽
Did OP do a big meat dish? She decided not to do lamb again. But maybe the pulled pork?

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