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Fancy Dinner Party Suggestions

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Initial post: 30 Jan 2013 12:03:45 GMT
Bearman says:
We have friends coming over for dinner that we haven't seen for 3 years. I would like go the whole hog and lay on some really fancy food, that both looks amazing as well as tastes great.

One person doesn't eat lamb, the other doesn't eat rare (or even pink) meat. They eat fish, but are nervous around anything on a plate with eyes.

I am looking for ideas for dishes (3 courses) that requre minimal last minute cooking and most of the work can be done in advance so I can play host. Ideally, things that can be presented well - so avoiding stews and casseroles unless you have fancy serving suggestions.

All suggestions gratefully accepted!

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 12:12:24 GMT
First, don't cook anything you've never done before without a dry-run before the event. I know you know this.

Try something vegetarian! Morroccan, Israeli, like that? Even Indian, there are a lot of dishes you can prepare in advance that only need warming. How do they feel about chicken or other poultry? Chicken or turkey breast can be curried, sauced, made into pie, minced...
Soup is a good bet at this time of year, everyone loves hearty, warming soups. Then a main with maybe pasta and lots of veggies? Or a dahl dish like Dal Tarka?
Just thinking aloud...probably been no help whatsoever.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2013 12:45:09 GMT
Charlie says:
Hey Bearman. I feel kinda embarrassed making suggestions to you, in fact when I saw the new thread I planned to tell whomever started it to ask you :),
However last year we had friends to stay and I wanted to make one evening special. I did the whole menu from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook it was nearly all made in advance, fancy salads etc. one was puy lentil, bacon and sour cherries,yum. Also had chicken in sumac zah'tar and lemon, sweet potato and sage gratin. The desert was his cheesecake from same book but don't recommend it as have had better. Just a thought as it would be different and not too 'animally' for your friends?
By the way thanks for your advice the other day, just been and bought Cox's Orange Pippin and crabapple for garden.
Btw, you owned up to your boys about the caramac yet??

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 12:49:40 GMT
Bearman says:
Thats all food I like, but also hard to do with fancy presentation. In my mind I see things stacked high on the plate. I was planning to get my timbals and ring moulds out to make a nice circular pile of something at the bottom (carbs or veg), on which I could artfully place the star of the dish (meat/fish/special veg) before topping with something else to give more hight (crispy skin/veg or herbs). Stews, curries and especially Tarka Dal are difficult to stack :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2013 13:19:59 GMT
Charlie says:
I think you could do it, and it would be unexpected. You could do the gratin in ring moulds, top with lentil salad, get chicken thighs partially boned and place on top, maybe fry some sage leaves and toast some pine nuts to top. The colours of middle eastern food would look amazing stacked.

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 14:11:23 GMT
Have a look at Vegweb. You don't need to create a profile to use the site and they have umpty-jillion recipes on there of all kinds. It's not all tofu and stuff.

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 14:14:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jan 2013 14:16:21 GMT
pixie says:
As you haven't seen them for such a long time I would make the starter very casual...I find an ice breaker/ or if you know you have a lot to catch up with conversation wise a good way to go. Some of the nicest meals I've done begins with a glass of fizz and a big platter of mixed meats and nibbles with thinly sliced french bread. i make the pesto trout that I mentioned before and hummus and salami. Cooked prawns etc...the whole platter can look amazing and it starts the meal off with some fun. friends you haven't seen for a while can feel intimidated by a big formal meal and I find most people enjoy a casual approach. Friends being in the starring role and the food supporting act kinda thing.
When they come again you could really push the boat out.
Charlie mentioned the Eastern route and I think that is so nice. Also if you haven't seen them in a while they may have health issues. I remember inviting friends I hadn't seen for a few years and cooking a lovely meal but the wife forgot to tell me hubby was suffering from Diabetes since the last time we met...he hardly ate a thing and I spent the rest of the evening worrying that he was hungry!
Hope it goes well Bearman and tell us what you decide!x

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 14:29:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jan 2013 14:29:36 GMT
If they have trouble with meat and things with eyes, try an antipasto platter for starters. Shaved carrot, baby beets warmed in orange juice, roasted pepper strips, marinaded olives, grilled mushroom caps (stuffed or not is up to you) and like that.
Or a homemade veggie pate like this one (my own recipe):
Juice of one lemon
Lemon zest
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sweet basil
pinch salt
Before squeezing the lemon, take off some of the zest.

Blitz all ingredients in a food chopper or processer until very smooth. Chill well. Serve on crispbreads or as a dip.

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 15:18:15 GMT
Bearman says:
Lots of good ideas there - thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 13:11:40 GMT
Stu says:
bearman do you know if they like anything just a little spicy?dont mean hot like i have it.

Posted on 31 Jan 2013 13:37:47 GMT
Bearman says:
Spicy they like - what have you got in mind?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 15:44:16 GMT
Stu says:
well bearman,tamarind chicken satay,usually a starter but this version is used as a main course.with just a tomato sambal to accompany it. use a chicken breast per person,cut into 1/2 inch cubes. the marinade,1tbsp oil give or take,2 inch piece tamarind soaked in 4floz of hot water or lemon juice,2 cloves of garlic,1tsp ofcardamom,1/2 tsp ground nutmeg,salt,pepper,and1tsp ofkecap manis (sweet soy sauce)tomato and chilli sambal--2 red chilli peppers,small piece fresh ginger grated,1 clove of garlic crushed,1lb fresh tomatos,peeled and seeded.4 tbsps oil a bit much i think,1 tbsp lemon or lime juice,1 tbspdark brown sugar. right then put chicken in a large bowl mix with the marinade ingredients,stir well and refrigerate for 30 mins.grind together the chillies,ginger,and garlic,your usual way.chop tomatoes coarsley blend into chilli mixture.heat oil in wok or large frying pan,fry tomato mixture for 5 to6 mins stir occasionally.add lemon juice and spoonful of water,if sauce becomes to thick.stir in sugar and seasoning to taste.thread the marinated chicken cubes onto thin wooden skewers.cook chicken under pre-heated grill turning frequently until golden brown 5-8 mins serving idea is to serve on a bed of rice,and pour over tomato and chilli sambal. prep 30 mins cooking 15-20 mins

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 17:01:34 GMT
pixie says:
What time do you want us round for eats Stu? Sounds scrummy!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 19:32:31 GMT
Stu says:
cooked only once love,saw the recipe in a book,and if you are not used to cooking for more than one,it would take a practice run the week before.but the sambal is very tasty.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 19:33:45 GMT
pixie says:
Well I think you should invite one or two pals round and cook it because it sounds lovely.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 19:44:26 GMT
Stu says:
thanks pixie love,i will know what to cook if you and oh turn up for dinner one day eh!!--x

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 19:50:34 GMT
pixie says:
sure thing! I don'rt know if you entertain Stu but I think you should...would be good for you, How about in the summer inviting your little girls friends and parents for some food...make for a lovely afternoon! You could start planning now.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:04:27 GMT
Stu says:
one thing i dont do pixie,im afraid my pokie little flat doesnt hold many,and i dont have a dining room.nottingham city homes will not let me have a 2 bedroomed flat which would have a dining area,and also more space,as there is only me, ah well.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:05:40 GMT
pixie says:
Well where there is a will there is a way...when you feel better, you will find a way!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:06:24 GMT
Frenchie says:
Don't worry Stu, what is space between friends? your company (and cooking skills) is worth ten times a palace... True. **smiles**

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:07:37 GMT
pixie says:
You lovely french bird you! Lol!xx

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:18:10 GMT
Frenchie says:
Oh, you are not too bad yourself, Pix, for a Pixie **smiles**

Posted on 31 Jan 2013 20:19:16 GMT
Stu says:
thank-you ladies if you lived near me you would be round for dinner every week i assure you,and when people care like yourselves,tear pops in the eyes.--xx

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 20:19:50 GMT
Frenchie says:
Big hugs to you Stu.

Posted on 31 Jan 2013 20:22:26 GMT
pixie says:
7 just for you...Stu, lol!
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  107
Initial post:  30 Jan 2013
Latest post:  11 Feb 2013

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