Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Uncomplicated dinner party food
on 2 April 2012
Lovely dinner party ideas - nothing too complicated, and designed to be made ahead. There is sound advice about planning & preparation which would be useful for the inexperienced. There are some suggested menus given by season and theme e.g. a spring French brasserie menu of celeriac remoulade, steak tartare, roast chicken with shallots & tarragon with chocolate pots with cherries to finish. Other menus include a barbecue menu, a Moroccan themed meal, south east Asian, rustic Italian & Greek.
There are lots of nice canapés, all easy and quick to make ranging from saganaki bites (fried halloumi cheese) to pork & ginger potstickers. Starters include a range of salads, soups and seafood dishes of which I would mention two soups - a chilled sweet corn soup and a chilli tomato chicken soup with tortilla strips. There is a good selection of mains too, including such things as crab, saffron & watercress tart or for vegetarians a spinach, mascarpone & roasted garlic tart; mini meat loaves with thyme tomato sauce; Persian chicken with walnut & pomegranate sauce; rosemary & olive lamb stew; Sicilian seafood stew; cumin-crusted pork with romesco sauce. It has to be said, some are just variations on old favourites with a bit of extra primping to elevate them from the everyday e.g. lemon gnocchi sorrentina, butternut squash lasagne, baked orecchiette. A whole chapter is devoted to barbecue food - for example, butterflied leg of lamb; swordfish with red onion & oregano dressing; steamed fish parcels with coconut cream, chilli, coriander & lime; snapper with chilli vinegar sauce. The sides dishes chapter provides supporting dishes for the range of main courses e.g. corn cakes with chilli & spring onion; green bean, hearts of palm, tomato & basil salad; date & lemon couscous.
There is a final, short chapter covering desserts - rhubarb cinnamon tarts, triple-layer almond meringue cake, chocolate layer cake - although I wasn't overly-impressed by the offerings here.
All told, a useful little book.