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Ideas for dinner party....

(48 Posts)
PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 16:54:53

Hi... my DH has invited his boss and GF for dinner on Saturday night.

I am not a good cook (at all) but need to produce something lovely.

Not comfortable about cooking beef as it will be under cooked / over cooked / raw etc!

My DH does not eat fish/shellfish.

I am thinking 3 courses with a starter that I can prepare ahead of time and a simple/shop bought dessert. Maybe M&S profiterole stack on a nice plate?

No waitrose here but OK sized M&S Food Hall.

Any ideas?

thighsmadeofcheddar Mon 02-Nov-09 16:58:12

What do you normally cook for friends or family? Is there something you do well? I'm sure there is.

Buntytea Mon 02-Nov-09 16:59:48

Definitely a good idea to prepare something ahead of time.

What about a cold starter - something like beetroot and goats cheese salad, pate and toast (could buy some nice pate), soup?

For mains it would be easy to do some kind of casserole / stew - maybe a chicken, chorizo, red pepper and tomato combination with new potatoes and vegetables on the side? It can wait in the oven until you are ready for it without any worry about burning / overcooking etc.

To finish, the M&S creme brulee is really good if you wanted to buy something.


displayuntilbestbefore Mon 02-Nov-09 17:01:47

A casserole - that way you know the meat will be thoroughly cooked and you can leave it to look after itself in the oven while you spend some time preparing some vegetables served in a nice way (minted peas, bundles of babycarrots etc) to accompany it. If you offer good wine and a homemade dessert then an easy main course like casserole is an ideal meal.
My mother always used to do a sort of pear brulee when she did dinner parties - halved, cored, peeled pears in a serving dish, topped with a cream and yogurt mix then demerara sugar sprinkled on top and it dissolves in the fridge and goes syrupy. Easy but it looks quite impressive!

Mcdreamy Mon 02-Nov-09 17:02:11

I have a very quick and easy coq au vin recipe but would agree with preparing as much in advance as possible. Do you have a slow cooker? Cold starter or soup is the way ahead.

Bleenherbe Mon 02-Nov-09 17:04:08

Good smoked salmon and blinis or good bread is v easy starter.
Nigella's brownies v easy make ahead pudding with good ice ceam...

Bleenherbe Mon 02-Nov-09 17:04:46

oops, just ntpiced no fish...

bigchris Mon 02-Nov-09 17:06:31

get dh to cook as he did the inviting wink

what about smoked salmon, nice salad and nicebread for starter, dh could have soup if not keen?

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:07:58

We normally eat out if we are eating with friends / get a takeaway / or I just buy bung in the oven things from M&S.

My friends and relatives all KNOW I can't cook lol!

I do have a crock pot and have used it a couple of times but the casseroles always seem to be very watery (use packet mix).

Also, I am not up on dinner party etiquette but is a casserole appropriate? Also what would you serve it with? For me and DH I would serve with mash is that ok?

I think soup may be the way forward for the starter and LOVE creme brulee.

Ok just the main then....

Also should I play music during the dinner? Is this the norm? I think I might have to download some classical music tracks, or maybe I could play classic FM through the TV?

[desperately trying to impress]

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:09:39

Oooo brownies but I am not sure if I could pull that off TBH.

I did try to make some from a Betty Crocker mix t'other day but they came out crispy round the edges and raw in the middle...

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:11:05

bigchris if only.... DH has somewhat old fashioned view domestic chores hmm not entirely sure why he married me shock!!!

dam him for inviting them though! and dam him for only telling me today!

Blackduck Mon 02-Nov-09 17:13:05

M&S jointsof meat in the foil containers are pretty much foolproof as long as you follow the instructions! (I don't eat meat so haveno idea how to roast a joint, but I can follow instructions!!).

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:16:00

Blackduck yes I use them every Sunday but wanted something a bit more special...

Blackduck Mon 02-Nov-09 17:17:52

Don't they do 'posher' ones? Nice piece of meat with some decent veg and potato - whats not to like? (well the meat in my case grin)

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:21:00

Yes true.......... it would keep it simple as well.

A bit worried if I get beef though as most people like theirs pink and I know it would end up being over done (it usually does).

Maybe pork or chicken would be best.

[Now worries how she is going to keep everything hot]

Buntytea Mon 02-Nov-09 17:21:02

I think a casserole is fine for a dinner party - especially if it will just be the 4 of you (I presume?).

You might want to play music but just play the music you enjoy listening to!

WRT to the Creme Brulee, I have a friend who is an excellent cook who swears by the M&S ones, says she can't make better, so I think that is a good recommendation!

Enjoy yourself!

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:24:31

Ok if I go for the casserole how would one thicken the "gravy" bit?
Maybe I should add two sachets of the mix instead of one?
I just always find it very watery when done in the crock pot and a bit flavourless (like you need to add loads of salt).
Any suggestions?

displayuntilbestbefore Mon 02-Nov-09 17:27:17

casserole certainly suitable for a dinner party. Don't use a packet mix though! Get really good quality stewing steak (or venison if you're feeling fancy) and all I do is brown the meat in a nonstick pan, no oil,whiole the oven preheats to 190 degrees.Pour off excess fat then put meat into a casserole dish.
Fry finely chopped onion in the pan for a couple ofminutes until softened then add to the casserole dish with chopped carrots and potatoes (although just carrots is good enough) and then I add my liquid mix which is as easy as packet mix but much nicer:
In a pint measure put
-a generous teaspoon of marmite (doesn't matter if you hate it, it won't taste of marmite in the casserole)
-about an inch of garlic puree
-black pepper, sprinkling of oregano and then a teaspoon of flour.
Add a bit of water from the kettle and mix to a smooth paste then add about half a pint of water from the kettle and stir well. Pour it over the meat (add more if you need to - you want the liquid to come to just below the top of the meat)
and put in oven for a good 2-3 hours. The longer the better really - 3 hours makes a really delicious tender casserole.
All you have to do is check the casserole every so often to check it doesn't dry out, adding a bit of water if it does.

If you've put potatoes in it then you don't need to bother with those as a side veg and can just serve up nicely presented vegetables and some good bread.
Allow 2lbs stewing steak to feed 4 people

Can't go wrong! Let us know what you decide to make and how it goes!

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:31:24

Oh displayuntilbestbefore that's great thank you!

I might have to do a trial run on Thursday or something just in case!

Mmmmmm hungry now!

Buntytea Mon 02-Nov-09 17:33:33

I know what you mean about the crock pot, I find the same. It's because (I think) the lid is on the whole time, so the excess liquid doesn't evaporate off.

When you make a casserole normally, it is best to start it off either on the hob in a flameproof and oven proof dish, and only put it in the oven with the lid on when the sauce is at the required thickness.

If you don't have a suitable dish (eg Le Creuset) - start off in the oven on a high temp with the lid off, let it bubble in there to reduce, and then put the lid on after 30 mins or so, and turn the temperature down.

Hope that makes sense!

Message withdrawn

displayuntilbestbefore Mon 02-Nov-09 17:39:08

I have to be honest,from September until about May my family live on casseroles whether they like it or not! Takes about 15 mins prep and then you leave it to cook so you don't end up with loads of washing up or fiddly instructions and can then vary it according to taste (add tin of tomatoes to a chicken one, or a spoon of mint sauce just before serving a lamb one).
Just call me stew!grin

PDR Mon 02-Nov-09 17:39:14

Ok glad it's not just me with the crock pot!

The "pot" bit lifts out and apparently can go on the hob so would it be ok to start it off on the hob as you describe and then put it back in and onto low with the lid on?

Sorry I am making no sense. Do you know what I'm trying to say :S

Slubberdegullion Mon 02-Nov-09 17:39:24

I concur with the casserole approach. It's the season and all for such things. Pork and apple are good, google Somerset Pork (pork in cider) serve with rice or mash and some green beans.

Soup for a starter is a doddle. I have a nice brie and courgette recipe if you'd like me to post (laughably easy and invented by a 13yo boy for a home ec project).

This pudding is good and made ahead too

displayuntilbestbefore Mon 02-Nov-09 17:40:47

(goes off to google Somerset Pork with mouth watering!)

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