Anyone feel like sharing dinner party menus please?!(6 Posts)
I'm going to have to bite the bullet and invite some friends for dinner having put it off for ever and a day ... but what will I cook????? One of the girls I'm having is a fantastic cook, and I mean out of this world, and whilst I know I cannot produce a meal to the same standard as she does, I would like to put something nice on the table ... so any ideas please? Main thing to keep in mind is that it's got to be a Friday night and I'll have a 1.5 yr old and a 3 yr old 'helping' me so needs to be easy-ish and also not labour intensive at 7pm when I'm trying to get the kids to bed.
Dinner parties can end up being a bit "poncey" IYSWIM You can't go far wrong with a roast chicken with roasted vegetables - do all the prep in advance and just bung in the oven at regular intervals.
Dessert : 1 tub marcapone cheese, 1 med bar plain chocolate. Melt together (add slug of brandy if wanted) and pour into ramekins. You can also bake pastry cases blind and pour it in that to set or pour it over a biscuit crumb base. Depends how lazy you're feeling!
Right, this is my top meal for getting ready when the kids are still rampaging and I've six for dinner.
Go to a good butcher and buy a lovely large leg of lamb. Put lots of garlic in it (use the tip of the knife to cut the skin and tuck sliced garlic underneath) and some rosemary.
Time it so the lamb can come out at 7pm and you can put the kids to bed. Earlier in the afternoon wash a load of lovely new potatoes (kids could help) and have them ready in the pan ready to switch on 20mins before you eat.
Buy a couple of large bags of herb salad/baby spinich and some lovely vine tomaotes. Either make a lovely salad dressing or buy one. That's your main course! Cold roast lamb is really delish and perfect for a summer evening.
If you want starters, why not fry some king prawns in garlic and butter and serve on baby spinich leaves (takes two mins)
Buy the pudding.
This is my absolute failsafe....when I'm feeling really lazy I replace the potatoes with loads of lovely toasted pitta bread. Yum!
Ok I'm a really good cook (trained chef, write about food for a living) and I love having friends over for dinner. However often if I've cooked for some (usually new) friends we don't get invited back and I suspect that the reason is is that people are a bit intimidated about their cooking skill. I hate this because I love going to peoples houses for dinner and I wouldn't care if it wasn't a gourmet meal, I would appreciate any effort that my friends go to.
I think a roast is a great idea, in fact anything to be baked or roasted can usually be prepared in advance.
A large platter of anti-pasto( parma ham, salami, olives sun dried tomatoes, marinated vegetables etc) is dead easy - you just buy it and assemble it, serve with bread sticks and ciabatta. Smoked salmon on wholemeal bread with creme fraiche mixed with a little horseradish sauce is also a very easy starter. For dessert I often serve some roasted figs in a port sauce with mascarpone. Home made ice cream is easy to make in advance or you could even just make chocolate fudge sundaes with bought chocolate ice cream, chopped nuts and choc sauce. A good cheese board (buy from local deli or cheese shop)with crackers, pears and walnuts makes a great end to a meal and can be lingered over.
Most importantly don't attempt anything too complicated as it is vital for you to be relaxed and have fun
I have a recipe book by Prue Leith which contains about 30 dinner menus of varying degrees of difficulty and last minute cooking. She also builds in time for a bath in the preparation schedule. I can't remember what it's called but it might suit you. I'll try and remember to look for it when I get home if that helps.
Thanks Ladies! Plenty of food for thought (only prob is that one of the guests eats such plain food, ie. no garlic, no sauces, no butter in mash etc etc) that I'll have to cook a separate maincourse to keep her happy! Still, I do like the sound of the lamb - even though my last attempt at a roast was just too pink for my liking! Deserts are okay - love doing them and easy to have ready in advance, it's just the main. And I hate the mess after a roast. Still, after an evening perusng my (many) recipe books and reading your suggestions, a roast it will be!
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