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
|Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
|Stuffed Roast Fillet of Pork with Cranberry and Madeira Gravy & Stilton Mash
|Passion Fruit Souffles
STARTER: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut Squash (about 1kg) peeled and deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped or you can add some crushed dried chillies
850 ml hot vegetable stock
4 tbsp crème fraiche, plus a little extra for serving
Fresh parsley for serving
Note: The chillies do give quite a kick to the soup, so use less if you do not like it quite so spicy
Heat oven to 200C/180C for fan oven Cut the butternut squash into large cubes about 1.5 inches across.
Put in a roasting dish and toss in half the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes turning once or until golden and soft. While the squash is cooking, melt the butter with the remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, garlic and the chillies (you can just use ¾ at this stage and use the remainder as a garnish for the soup.
Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15 – 20 minutes until the onions are completely soft. Add the squash to the pan, add the stock and the crème fraiche and season to traste, and then either whizz with a stick blender until smooth, or put it through a liquidiser.
Return to the pan and gently reheat when ready to serve and serve in bowls with swirls of crème fraiche and a scattering of fresh parsley
MAIN COURSE: Stuffed Roast Fillet of Pork with Cranberry and Madeira Gravy Serves 6
2 Pork fillets of equal length each about 450g (1lb) in weight and trimmed of all fat
10 – 12 long rashers of streaky bacon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
225g/8oz chestnut mushrooms,chopped
40g/1.5oz freshly grated parmesan
25g/1oz fresh white breadcrumbs
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 egg yolk
Madeira and Cranberry Gravy
100g/4oz chestnut mushrooms sliced
300ml/½ pint cranberry juice
75ml/2.5 fl oz Madeira
1 rounded tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Make the stuffing by heating the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until tender. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook over a high heat to cook off any mushroom liquid. When the pan is completely dry take off the heat and add all the remaining stuffing ingredients and season well and set aside to cool
Split the pork fillets lengthways halfway through (but not all the way through). Open out and cover with clingfilm. Using a rolling pin, beat out to flatten. Stretch the bacon rashers with the back of a knife and arrange overlapping on a chopping board or on top of cling film
Put one fillet on top of the bacon and season with black pepper and then spread over the stuffing. Cover with the other fillet (beaten side facing down). Roll up tightly each piece of bacon over the roll. Remove the cling film and put the roll in a lightly oiled roasting dish with the bacon joins underneath. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, so the bacon is crisp and the pork is cooked.
While the pork is cooking, make the gravy by melting the butter in a saucepan and add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes and then gradually pour in the cranberry juice. In a small bowl blend the Madeira with the flour until smooth and then add to the sauce. Bring to the boil whilst stirring and then add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Allow the pork to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes, and add the roasting juices t the gravy.
Carve the pork and serve with the gravy and some Stilton Mash and Vegs of your choice. I served it with baby carrots and broccoli
Peel and cut 900g/2lb potatoes and cut into even sized cubes
75g/3 oz Stilton coursely grated
Salt and Pepper
Milk and Butter
Fresh Parsley chopped
Cover the potatoes with salted water and boil for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain thoroughly.
Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper, the grated stilton and the parsley and mash until nice and smooth.
DESSERT: Hot Passion Fruit Souffles (Serves 6)
Butter for greasing
8 Passion Fruits
150ml/1/4 pint orange juice from a carton
1 rounded tsp cornflour
3 eggs (separated)
100g/4oz caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan oven and generously butter the inside of six ramekin dishes
Cut the passion fruits in half and scoop out the pulp and sieve into a measuring jug. Make up to 225ml/8fl oz with the orange juice
Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp of the fruit juice. Heat the remaining fruit juice until boiling and pour on the cornflour mixture stirring continually. Bring to the boil to thicken
Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff. Gradually add a teaspoon of the sugar at a time, still whisking until it is glossy
Beat the egg yolks into the thickened fruit juice. Mix in 2 generous tbsp of meringue and finally fold in the remaining whisked egg whites
Divide the mixture between the buttered ramekins and fill to the top. Level the surface and run the point of a teaspoon around the edge, pushing the mixture slightly inwards (this will allow it to rise evenly). Gently transfer the ramekins to a small roasting tin and pour enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins
Bake for about 10 minutes until risen. Dist with icing sugar and serve immediately. The centre should still be slightly soft