My style of cooking for our dinner parties is fairly basic, but tasty (I hope) and easy to. The hardest part is to think up different menus, so I don’t repeat anything, and also when you are hosting, it is nice to prepare and cook as much as you can in advance, or dishes that do not need to be cooked when your guests are ensconced, so you spend most of the time with your guests rather than being in the kitchen. You can read about my style of cooking here
Dinner Party Menu Idea for 4 People
|Starter||Carrot & Coriander Soup|
|Main Course||Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham Filled with Brie Served with Rice and Vegetable Towers|
STARTER: Carrot & Coriander Soup (serves 6)
2lb (900g) carrots peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1oz (25g) butter
1 small garlic clove crushed
2 pints (1.2 litres) chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (plus 6 small sprigs to garnish)
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
Fry the coriander seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat stirring and tossing for 1 – 2 minutes until they start to jump in the pan. Then coursely grind them in a pestle and mortar.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan, then add the chopped carrots, garlic and three quarters of the crushed coriander seeds and stir. Cover the pan and leave to gently simmer for about 10 minutes or until they are beginning to soften.
Add the stock and season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for a further 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Leave to cool slightly and then liquidise in batches. You can leave now and just reheat when you are ready to serve.
Return the puree to the pan and stir in the chopped fresh coriander and 2 tablespoons of the crème fraiche. Heat up and check the seasoning before serving in warmed bowls, garnishing with a swirl of crème fraiche and a sprinkle of the remaining coriander seeds and a sprig of fresh coriander.
Serve with little bread rolls
MAIN COURSE: Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham Filled with Brie Served with Rice and Vegetable Towers
1 chicken breast per person
Cheese for filling (I use Brie) but they could also be filled with goats cheese and mushrooms mixed together, or any filling you choose)
Parma Ham (usually 2 – 3 slices per breast
Preheat Oven to 170 degrees centigrade
Make a slit in the breasts, fill with filling, and then cover with parma ham. Tightly roll each one in foil like a cracker and place in a dish. Cook for about 40 minutes. During the last 20 minutes put the towers in the oven
Rice of your choice
I actually like the ready cooked container of Veeto Wild Rice that you can buy from any Supermarket, just turn back the plastic top and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. One container is enough for 2 people.
Vegetable Towers One for each person
Lightly oil a little pudding shape ramekin and line with sliced corgette ribbons leaving the ends hanging down (as these will be folded over once filled). Fill with cooked chopped tomatoes and peppers.. A cheats way is to cook some Mediterranean vegs that you can buy frozen in bags from the supermarket. Press the vegs down hard and then fold the ribbons of corgette over the tops as a seal. Place ramekins in a baking tray and half fill with water. Cook for about 20 minutes, then turn out on serving plates. Now these will be hot, so please take care when removing the towers.
DESSERT: Chocolate Fondants (serves 4)
Ingredients (in metric)
100g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
100 g good quality bitter chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) in pieces
2 free range eggs
2 free range egg yolks
120g caster sugar
100g plain flour
Icing Sugar to dust
Ice Cream, or Cream to serve
I served with a couple of strawberries or raspberries to make it look pretty, but these are optional
Preheat Oven to 160 degrees Centigrade
Butter 4 large ramekins (about 7.5cm in diameter) then dust liberally with cocoa powder, shaking off any excess
Slowly melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl placed over a pan of hot water. Take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes
Using an electric whisk, whisk the whole eggs and the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick and then incorporate in to the chocolate mixture.
Sift the flour over the mixture and gently fold in, using a large metal spoon
Divide into the ramekins and bake for about 10 minutes
Turn the fondants out on to warmed plates and dust the tops with icing sugar. Serve with a spoonful of ice cream, or whipped
Dinner Party Ideas and suggestions of what I think goes together best
double cream and add a couple of strawberries or raspberries just for look (but this is optional)
- Chicken Liver Pate – Fragrant Chicken with Rice and Poppadums – White Chocolate Cheesecake
- Stilton Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms Wrapped in Parma Ham – Duck Breasts with Cherry Sauce Served with Noodles and Warm Little Gem Lettuce with Peas – Lemon Cheesecake
- Terrine of Spring Onion & Chicken In Parma Ham – Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Lemon Sauce, Roasted New Potatoes, Julienne Carrots, Peas – Individual Tiramisu’s
- Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto, Hollandaise Sauce & Poached Egg – Persian Lamb With Sticky Vegetables, Flatbreads, Yoghurt & Harissa – Rhubarb Fool
- Antipasta – Spanish Chicken with Chorizo, Cubed Potatoes and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables – Tart Tatin served with a Brandy cream
- Deep Fried Camembert – Steak with Pepper Sauce Melon, Cheese, Grapes, Sweet Potato – Crème Brulee
- Goats Cheese Bruschetta – Fillet of Beef With Red Wine Sauce & Gratin Dauphinoise Potatoes – Homemade Chocoate Tart