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NOW CLOSED Share your best dinner party dishes with - you could win a £100 Waitrose voucher

(100 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 13-May-12 17:28:35

On Saturday 12th May sent 12 Mumsnetters and their guests to Waitrose Cookery School in North London to attend a Michelin-star cookery masterclass. They spent the day preparing (and eating) a three course dinner party menu consisting of:

~ Roast scallops, potato gnocchi and truffle emulsion
~ Rack of lamb with braised peas, bacon, lettuce and mint with dauphinoise potatoes
~ Inverted lemon tart, summer fruit salad and lemon yoghurt sorbet

This thread is for their feedback on the day but we'd also like to open this up to all on MN - so if you didn't attend please add your own comments on your favourite dinner party dishes - what's the best dish you've either made for or been served at a dinner party? Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £100 voucher.

For those of you who attended the event, please tell us all about it. Specifically we'd like to know:

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

Please also feel free to add any other comments you have about the day.

We hope you enjoyed the experience, good luck with the prize draw.


HannahLI Thu 17-May-12 15:40:29

My best dish has to be profiteroles or strawberry pavlova! My husband makes a great roast chicken with all of the trimmings and my sister makes a great caramalised onion and cheese tablet,in combination we host a cracking dinner!

CelticPromise Thu 17-May-12 18:15:26

My favourite dinner party food would be some sort of slow roasted meat that you can prepare ahead and ignore all day. The merguez spiced slow roasted lamb shoulder from River Cottage Everyday is brilliant, or another H F-W one pork Donnie Brasco. I also make a mean seafood laksa. Veg from the garden would be ideal if it's the right time of year.

For a starter... maybe a pate or terrine, or some sort of salad, there is a Gordon Ramsay beetroot and blue cheese one I have made a lot.

Pudding... well that's not my department. DH does an amazing honey and almond cake (thanks H F-W again) or if we're being posh, panna cotta.

blue2 Thu 17-May-12 18:52:00

My mouth is watering sooooo much!

My starters would be either -
Thai beetroot soup or Home made gravadlax with soda bread

Mains - slow roasted shoulder of lamb - kleftico style, pot roasted venison haunch or a joint of pork from our own pigs with serious crackling. Veg from the garden as much as poss.

Pudding - Baked alaska (Thank you Nigella) or "Deconstructed Black Forest cake" - aka H/made brownies, cherries, whipped cream and ice cream all passed around the table.

Time to get some invites out!

megabored Thu 17-May-12 19:02:50

so if you didn't attend please add your own comments on your favourite dinner party dishes - what's the best dish you've either made for or been served at a dinner party.

I suppose it has been comfort food now I look back. Delicious simple food. Vegetable lasagnia followed by tiramasu. Or Thai Green Currey followed by some ice cream. The wine has flowed and late night conversations. That has been the best bit. Where the food has been fussy, it has been rather a boring night.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 17-May-12 19:33:52

My very own signature dish is sirloin steak with a blue cheese crumb on a bed of buttered cabbage and bacon.

That might out me because I cooked it in a local 'Masterchef' style live final in a demonstration kitchen in front of an audience - who all taste-tested it at the end! There are some fabulous pictures of the DCs tucking in backstage afterwards, too grin

Katz Thu 17-May-12 19:38:25

My favourite dinner party menu to serve:

Starter - open lasagne with garlic bruschetta (which is just fresh lasagne pasta cut into 1inch strips and boiled for 2 min, with a tomato sauce and parmesan shavings)
Main - Mozzarella beef wraps (subbed with aubergine for veggie guests) served with garlic roasted new pots and green salad
Dessert - chocolate mousse

I have a friend (hulababy) who is an amazing cook she makes the nicest main courses. I think my favourites would have to be:

sticky scallops with egg fried ice and chinese style greens
burgers and double fried chips
salmon with dill and cucumber

Wombat33 Thu 17-May-12 21:17:09

Best quick and easy dinner party dish that tastes great is fish pie made with king prawns, smoked haddock and cod in a creme fraiche and wholegrain mustard sauce and topped with mashed potato and grated mature cheddar. Heavenly.

turnipvontrapp Thu 17-May-12 22:02:48

Anything simple, lasagne, beef and mushroom pie, chicken with goats cheese wrapped in parma ham.

The easier the better, then you aren't stuck in the kitchen all night whilst everyone else is having a great time!

FannyPriceless Thu 17-May-12 23:34:36

I am giving evil envyenvy faces to all who attended. It should have been me!

That aside, my best best dinner party dish is lemon posset. I make the Nigel Slater version, served in martini glasses. People love, love, love it.

And soused halibut with dill vodka shots for the fish course!grin

helterskelter99 Fri 18-May-12 08:24:41

My favourite dinner party menus are always things that can be prepared prior to guests arriving so it looks like everything is effortless.

Starters - nuts / dips / nibbles or smoked slamon & prawns, simple
Main course - Nigella's beef with anchovies always goes down well even though no one likes anchovies
Chicken in parma ham with a spread of pesto in the middle is another simple dish with dalphounoise pots & green veg. Just a little bit different
Pudding - I am renowned for Nigella's chocolate deserts - like the ones in the M&S advert.. people get upset if I don't serve them lol!

The best recipe for a great dinner party in my opinion is great friends, lots of wine & being relaxed

klaxon Fri 18-May-12 09:24:19

I am famous for my chocolate truffles 50g butter (salted), 300 ml double cream, 300g very good dark chocolate. 100g dark chocolate to coat.

Melt chocolate and the 300ml cream and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water (DO NOT ALLOW CHOCOLATE TO GET WET). Stir till smooth. Put in fridge to set. Use melon baller to scoop out. Set on greaseproof paper in fridge. Dunk in the other melted chocolate when set (again set on greaseproof paper).

When you have made the cream/choc butter mixture you can add other flavours, popular are whisky, irish cream or cardamon and cloves (seriously, really nice).

My supper guests often forget the main courses but they all ask for my truffles at the end.

But I tend to make vast vats of curry and serve them in heated table trays so people can help themselves. Can't abide stacked up fussy food, would rather people relaxed and had what they liked.

I don't drink but I always make sure there is plenty of wine on the table and encourage people to serve themselves drinks.

BIWItheBold Fri 18-May-12 09:38:35

I love cooking for dinner parties, but I have found that I'm increasingly cooking simpler things these days. Back in the 80s, the Yuppie days, it was much more complicated - and generally all about showing off! I used to buy an incredibly poncey, foody magazine called A La Carte, which had ridiculous things in it. One of them, which I did cook, was green and white tagliatelle that you wove together to create a square, which was then filled with mozzarella in a garlicky tomato sauce. You folded the pasta square around the filling, so that you had a pretty green and white woven parcel on your plate. Was really, really fiddly, as the pasta is very sticky and starchy, but it look brilliant on the plate!

I like to do 'trios' of things occasionally, so for a starter I have done a small plate of mushroom risotto, mushroom pate and a stuffed mushroom. Or a platter of three different pates - a cream cheese and chive pate, a lentil and tomato pate and a pea puree. It's as much about the presentation as it is about the flavours, and that looks really pretty with the white/orange and green - garnished with the ever-trendy pea shoots.

My last dinner party was:

Roasted tomato and fennel soup with black olive ciabatta (and Waitrose Brittany butter with sea salt crystals!)
Roasted cod, on a bed of Puy lentils, with lardons and garlic, with a green salad
Lemon posset, with orange polenta biscuits (zaletti), or a platter of berries with extra thick double cream

iwantavuvezela Fri 18-May-12 11:03:23

I hope you dont mind, but I "stole" my favourite dinner party menu from one of your (ready prepared type) meals.

Salmon fillets, topped with feta, fresh mint, splash of olive oil and in the oven for 20 minutes. The feta melts only a little, and that against the pinkish salmon and mint looks lovely

then served with steamed spinach and either sweet potatoe mash or mash.

looks and tastes delicious and barely takes 20 minutes to cook, and about 10 minutes preparation.

I melted some chocolate the other day, dipped in strawberries, and they look lovely for dessert. None left at the end

i also like serving some cheese/biscuits etc

zipzap Fri 18-May-12 14:02:07

I'd forgotten to mention my hot chocolate sauce which comes out Whenever I have guests and never fails to impress. Best thing is that it is so easy, can be made in advance and if there is any left it lasts well in the fridge unless you scoop a fingertip out each time you open the fridge, for quality control issues obviously grin blush

You need:
a large bar of bournville (yes this is 70s recipe, but 200-250g of any nice dark chocolate works equally as well)
Butter - walnut sized knob of salted butter
Honey - a good squirt/couple of spoonfuls to taste (depends On how much you like honey as to whether you use teaspoons or table spoons!)
Small carton of double cream (approx 150-200ml of double cream)

Melt the chocolate, butter and honey - either slowly in the microwave (it can catch and scorch if you do it too high or for too long) or in a bowl over boiling water, making sure no water gets in or it will all turn into a flabby lump that's hard to rescue)

Once it's done, slowly add the cream and mix well - let the choc mix cool a little and don't add lots of the cream all at once if it's really cold, just drizzle it in to start with, stirring well as you go. stir until all the cream is mixed in, try it to check for taste.

And that's it. It's ready. It's a very flexible forgiving recipe - bit less cream, bit more honey, splash of liqueur, however you like it and however if fits with the sizes ingredients come in/you have around.

And if you do have any left, keep it in the fridge and it can be turned into truffles (by rolling balls in cocoa powder or dipping in melted chocolate etc) if you don't want to melt it again to put on ice cream...

ShatnersBassoon Fri 18-May-12 15:50:06

I only make things that can be prepared in advance and that can sit in a low over until everything ready. I like being served that sort of dish too, because it means you get to spend plenty of time with the host and they're relaxed.

I like a cheese board too, so people can have a little snack long after the meal is over. Put plenty of oat cakes, mixed biscuits, chilli jam, grapes with it and everyone can have supper to soak up some of the booze before heading home.

BlastOff Sat 19-May-12 12:11:42

My favourite dinner party components - I don't necessarily do this whole menu altogether but:

starter : grilled halloumi with lime and coriander dressing

main : either a whole salmon stuffed with smoked trout and a caper/mayonnaise dressing or

(70s favourite but everyone always loves it and asks for the recipe!) chicken tarragon with wild rice with pine nuts or

lemon spaghetti with rocket

pud : pavolva with red berries or

pannacotta with rhubarb

or I agree a good local cheese board or just one cheese, like a large brie always go down well.

I'd love to go on a Waitrose cookery course, but as usual these things are only ever in London sad

peggyblackett Sat 19-May-12 17:24:11

For me it is :

Scallops for the starter

Pumpkin and goats cheese lasagne for the main course

Summer pudding or chocolate mousse for pudding (season dependent)

I should not have read this thread, I am starving!

ceeveebee Sat 19-May-12 18:23:12

iwantavuvezela, we copied the salmon ready-meal too, its my DH's signature only dish!

I don't have dinner parties as such but often have friends round for sunday lunch, I love roast pork and I do excellent crackling mmm! Always have a stodgy pudding with custard afterwards

nah1974 Sat 19-May-12 20:14:39

Homemade pea soup with a poached egg floating on a 'raft' of crispy parma ham is a good starter: easy to do, cheap, doesn't require too much last minute faffing around! Plus it looks much more impressive than it really issmile

I like to follow with something that everyone can dig into at the table like a big pot of beouf bourginon with homemade bread

StillSquiffy Mon 21-May-12 10:39:11

Dishing out the gossip definitely trumps the food at any dinner party, but the very very best dish for a dinner party is Vietnamese Beef Salad.

It's not the most spectacular thing you can possibly eat (but it is great), and it's not the best dish simply because it stops conversation (even though it does). The reasons it's the best dinner party dish are:-

1) you can serve it as a starter, winter or summer
2) You can serve it as a mains with seasonal sides. At the moment I would serve it for a supper party with Jersey royals and asparagus.
3) you can prepare it all hours in advance, then simply warm the beef for 30 seconds before combining everything and serving
4) It requires virtually no cooking skills (other than being able to cook a steak rare)
5) You can keep a steak in the freezer and all the other ingredients except the salad itself can be bought in advance and kept as kitchen staples.
6) You can vary the dish to suit whatever salad vegetables are in your fridge (or your local supermarket). There is no hard and fast rule for what goes in the salad other than that the ingredients be fresh. You don't even need beef - I have successfully varied it with Tuna, Chicken and Duck.
7) The dish contains no simple carbs and is low fat. Yet even men like it, despite these facts....

MrsMicawber Mon 21-May-12 10:43:53

I don't like it when an hors douvres is too heavy.

My favourite that always goes down well is a salad of cubed avocados with cherry tomatoes and rocket, topped with 3 rolls of smoked salmon. Dress with balsamic vinegar, a little salt and a little garlic.

ComradeJing Mon 21-May-12 14:41:32

The day sounds brilliant. I'll have a look online as I think my DSM would love it for her birthday.

Best dinner party dishes:

Cheeses, cured meats, pâté, dips, bread and biscuits to start. I just set it out in the living room and people dig in as they fancy. Much easier than dealing with timings and getting mains on.

Roast lamb with cauliflower cheese, sprouts, roast onions, roast potatoes, peas, honey carrots, and steamed greens.

Apple and blackberry crumple. Add a good glug of a peaty whiskey before cooking.

It's all real comfort food and people are always impressed because most don't have ovens or dont cook so it feels like a real treat.

Other great dinner party was serving tacos with home made guacamole and salsa plus sour cream, cheese and lettuce. Everyone loved it and devoured the lot. Sounds so in glam I know but it just worked.

Elkieb Mon 21-May-12 16:36:20

I love cooking good homemade traditional British food so my favourite dinner to make for friends has to be a beef roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon with all the trimmings- the meat has to be rare, the potatoes have to be Maris pipers so crunchy and fluffy, loads of veg, stuffing, yorkshire puddings. For pudding my special-only once or twice a year- rhubarb and ginger crumble with proper vanilla custard. Officially feeling hungry now!

3littlerabbits Mon 21-May-12 16:55:09

This threads making me hungry...

My best dinner party is a mezze selection with hummous, pitta, grilled haloumi, olives and a whole selecyion of little bowls of tasty things - yum!

BIWItheBold Mon 21-May-12 16:55:43

Most don't have ovens? Really?!

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