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OK - I have a dinner party for 36 people next thursday night - what to cook please??

(61 Posts)
lisalisa Fri 18-Jul-08 11:44:26

By way of explanation before anyone thinks I am cuckoo - !!!!

It's for the yr 6 parents of my daughter's school. The yr 6 is very special as the school is new and it is the first yr 6 to graduate - many of the parents helped build the school - physically - and lots of fathers were still decorating the classrooms days before the children started reception!!! When they began school - 4 yrs old and in bunches and big smiles weilding paintbrushes us mums were at the door sobbing and feeling so proud simulateneously. Most of the mums were pregannt with these graduates together and remember when eachother's chldrne first walk/spoke/vomited on them. So it is hugely emotional.

The ofifical graduation is next tuesday but as some childrne are going on to different high schools dh and I thought it would be lovely to do a farewell dinner party for all at which the headmistrees is guest of honour ( as a surprise to her).

But....... i need a menu! No pork, bacon or shellfish please as we are jewish and the parents attending largely are too. Also no dishes that combine milk and meat for hte same reason ( althhough I can do a pretty good job of converting them to milk free) . Any recipes where I can do a lot of prep the night before ( or nights before and freeze in advance ) would be especially good please.

Oh and I plan on 3 courses and will probaly have lots of people offering to bring things too. smile


Tinkerisdead Fri 18-Jul-08 11:49:12

eek i cant think of a menu but just wanted to say what a lovely idea and how brave you are to even attempt it!grin

lulumama Fri 18-Jul-08 11:51:43

for big celebration we usually have :

whole poached salmon

cucumber salad

potato salad

green salad

something like tabbouleh

chopped and fried fish and /or gefilte fish

bread and butter

buffet far easier!!

or you could do smoked salmon/ rollmops with salad to start

then the salmon , salads etc

fresh fruit , meringues etc

or you could do flaishik

and do chicken soup, roast chickens/ turkey which can be done day before, and sliced and served cold, and then something like lokshen pudding?

if people wnat to help they could bring something salady, or egg & onion

lisalisa Fri 18-Jul-08 12:15:35

Thanks thedoctorswife.

Lulumama - thanks - I don't want to do salmon as its more lunchy and this will be a sophisticated eveningy type do with low lights - that type of thing. this crowd will not eat chopped and fried fish and bread an d butter etc.

thinking more along the lines of some dramatic beef dish or a theme of some type - french, mexican etc.

lulumama Fri 18-Jul-08 12:18:14

oh well !! good luck !

mishymoo Fri 18-Jul-08 12:24:48

Gosh you are brave!

Starter could be melon, garlic or stuffed mushrooms or soup

Curries can be made in advance, frozen and reheated. Chicken and beef? Serve with salads and naan bread.

Pudding - fruit salad and ice-cream ?

jesuswhatnext Fri 18-Jul-08 12:26:01

can you do smoked salmon and cavier to start, easy to prepare in advance (is cavier ok for jews?)

possibly roast 2 whole sirloin and serve with roast potato, seasonal veg.

fresh fruit salad for pudding.

lisalisa Fri 18-Jul-08 12:33:53

lulumama - didnt mean to shoo you from thread - more ideas are welcome!blush

Mmmm - curries - a bit too risky as some are sure not to like spicy.

Like the sound of stuffed mushrooms............

Want to steer away from smoked salmon etc completely.

Like v much the idea of roast whole sirloin but very nervous to do it as once or twice I tried and it came out v dry. Need an absolutel foolproof recipe - perhaps to roast it in a wet type of sauce?

jesuswhatnext Fri 18-Jul-08 12:42:13

lisa - i let a sirloin brown at fairly hig temp, then turn down and cover with foil, turn meat several times during cooking, the juices get to kind of seap through the meat!

how about chicken liver pate to start? served on salad leaves with a raspberry vineigrette?

misselizabethbennett Fri 18-Jul-08 12:49:40

Boeuf bourguignonne? Or is that too seventies? You can leave out the bacon, and it can be made in advance. Lovely with potatoes dauphinoise - also very easy and make in advance.

I know, I have very old fashioned taste in food. I won't suggest prawn cocktail and black forest gateaux though!

WaynettaSlob Fri 18-Jul-08 12:55:53

Is it going to be sit-down?

Is chilli a bit too plebby for you? It's v. easy to make by the bucket load.

lisalisa Fri 18-Jul-08 13:01:41

jesuswhatnext - i would dealry love to try the plain cooked sirolion you suggest but am too nervous - i also baste druing cooking etc but always comes out like a rock.

I don't like liver I'm afraid - its about the only thing I dont like!!

salad leaves wiht raspberry vineigrette sounds gorgeous though - wonder what else I could put on top?

Beef bourguigonne - sounds amazing misselizabethbennett!!! And dauphinoise potatoes - sounds quite easy to make lots of too. Does it make well in advance? And don't worry about old fashioned food tastes - most people would rather eat a wonderful tasting but old fashioned meal rather htan a sliver of raw beef sitting on one solitary pea surrounded by a dribble of some unprouncuable jus.

But no no no to black forest gatueaux.

Actually waynettaslob - i don't think chilli is too plebby at all - I absolutely love it - just think it may be a bit risky as some may not like spicy. I did consider mexican though.

WaynettaSlob Fri 18-Jul-08 13:03:56

Oh good....

Why don't you make a mild chilli, and then have bowls of jalapenos etc around for people to spice it up if they want it?

dinkystinky Fri 18-Jul-08 13:22:36

Definitely a buffet for that number!

My indian mum often has dinner parties for similar numbers (its an indian thing!) and often what she does are samosas/fishcakes/pakora plus small side salads for starter, then help yourself buffet with different rice dishes, nan breads, 2 veg curries, one meat curry and one fish curry for main course and then a selection of deserts which people can help themselves to.

Westernising it a bit - how about something summery for starters (if weather is nice) -maybe a selection of savoury veggie tarts that people can help themselves to with side salad, couple of roasts for main course (assuming you have the oven capacity) - would suggest a roast lamb with side dishes including tabouleh, green salad, new potatoes, etc. We normally do a couple of huge tartlets for dessert when catering for the masses (shop bought puff pastry, use Nigel recipes with lots of fruit and always a hit).

robinpud Fri 18-Jul-08 13:34:15

I would do greek lamb and serve it with couscous; both can be done in advance.

for any vegetarians I would do Delia's vege strudel, or [[ this]

Large bowls of green salad and bread.

Desserts- glasses with summer fruits in and greek yoghurt or ice cream to go with them. Buy cheap tumlbers from Tesco or similar and filled with summer fruits they will look lovely.

stealthsquiggle Fri 18-Jul-08 13:42:54

Lamb Tagine or other slightly spicy/fruity lamb stews are cost-effective, can be made in advance (in fact they improve with keeping)

Desert - fresh berries and whipped cream, or does it have to be fancier than that? Meringues/Pavlovas?

Jajas Fri 18-Jul-08 13:44:11

No idea re food but that's such a lovely story! I'm sitting here swallowing hard!

elmoandella Fri 18-Jul-08 13:46:17

starter - soemthing salady like greek salad. or mini caesar salad.

or soup to start. something light like a brodo base.

lasagne - (i've got a proper tradition italian granmother recipe that involves boiled eggs. can be made the night before.can be made without the white sauce.)

to finish. some fresh fruit/cheese and biscuit.

or something traditional like lemon merigne pie or bannoffee pie. very easy to make the day before. and can either be served cold or heat before serving.

pgwithnumber3 Fri 18-Jul-08 13:47:45

Can the vegetarians eat Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne. You could make that up in advance (buy the big disposable trays from Lakeland) and heat it up before they arrive. I would definitely do a one pot stew for the meat eaters, again can be made up in advance.

Good luck - it all fails go to a decent butcher, they usually make stews etc or your local deli, they should have some good traybakes to throw in the oven.

jesuswhatnext Fri 18-Jul-08 13:48:18

lisa - how about smoked mackeral with horseradish sauce

coq au vin minus the bacon, new pots and french beans

eton mess for pud

just about everything can be made in advance.

Prufrock Fri 18-Jul-08 13:57:16

I would definitely do a slow cooked lamb stew - Nigellas's greek lamb is gorgeous, you'd just have to leave out the crumbled feta on top but that's not essential.

For desert, fresh berries (you can ask people to bring them) and to make it special serve with Nigella's (I do have other cookbooks but always return to her) Barbados cream (I'm presuming milk/meat are Ok if served indifferent courses?) which is cream & greek yoghurt sprinkled with dark sugar and left for 36 hours beforehand.

Smoked mackerel fillets with the salad/raspberry vinaigrette? Or a smoked mackerel pate (mackerel, horseradish, lemon juice and creme fraiche) if you can mix fish/milk (Pru shows her almost complete ignorance of Jewish food customs)

Swedes Fri 18-Jul-08 14:05:07

Beef and horseradish casserole. Creamed parsnips, new potatoes and green beans.

How about doing canapes (sorry abotu that word) instead of a starter so you can all mingle with a drink?

Figs with cream cheese wrapped in smoked salmon?

Slender slices of warm quiche?

Spanish Tortilla?

I have listed the beef with horseradish recipe on here before. It's brilliant and can be made a day or two before.

Collision Fri 18-Jul-08 16:21:53

I would do carrot and coriander soup to start with as it is easy to serve, can be made in advance and tastes yummy.

Then do the Boeuf Bourginon with dauphinois as you can do the dauph and the casserole the night before and just prep the veg on the day.

Poached pears in red wine with sorbet for dessert....

......and lots of wine!! grin

Where do you live? Do you need some help??

traceybath Fri 18-Jul-08 16:27:50

How about delia's twice baked cheese souffles to start - can make these well in advance and freeze if necessary.

I'd also go for the beef in red wine and gratin dauphinoise.

For pudding - how about a trifle - nigella has some lovely recipes for slightly different ones.

Good luck!

Collision Fri 18-Jul-08 16:29:34

can't mix meat and milk.

forget dauphinois then and do potato cakes or rosti potatoes.

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