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Old 09-07-2004, 08:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Dinner party for 11

So, as some of you may know, I recently moved into a new house and we just spent the past two weeks decorating and renovating. It's only a temporary residence whilst we build our own new dream-home. Having said that, my wife and I are feeling that little bit house-proud and have invited her extended family over for dinner on Friday.

Now I love cooking. I'm also looking forward to the dinner party. However, due to the fact that we have small stand-alone electric oven and hob (brand new, but not gas unfortunately and sort of "old style"), I'm worried about my ability to prepare a meal large enough, or interesting enough, for our guests.

I have made several suggestions, most of which we have abandoned.

1) Fillet of pork with a mushroom stuffing. These are little "mini-roasts" that you create by opening out a fillet and rolling up again around a stuffing. They are cooked individually in small tin-foil parcels. I aboslutely love them but my wife thinks they are too dry (I sometimes overcook pork!), so that's out.

2) The same as above but with beef. My wife again doesn't really like these, but I adore them.

3) Lasagne - I'm an old schoold lasagne cooker and make it entirely from scratch, incuding the bechemal sauce and pasta. This makes for absolutely lovely tasting lasagne but it takes too long and is rather messy. Also, lasagne for a dinner party is a bit boring.

4) Spaghettie Bolognese - Rather boring but a traditional Aussie choice for popular and large dinners. I think this is too cliched so nixed this idea.


I'm leaning towards making a number of dishes, and letting people pick and choose. My father-in-law cannot, under any circumstances, eat pork. Not on religious grounds, unless it's a sin to sit on the toilet and loose half your body weight!

I need a good starter. I was going to go with my favourite 'Roquet and Fig Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese", but it's not really the season for figs. So what else?


Main courses. I've been asked to cook my chicken curry. To be honest, it's extremely easy and a rather boring choice, but it's very popular. I guess it can't be too bad if everyone likes it. But I want at least two more.

For dessert, it will be port and cheese. I'm a bit of cheese chauvinist and will be serving some of the best (and most expensive!) French and Italian cheeses you can buy in Australia. Unfortunately, the best cheese in the world is impossible to get here (Roquefort) as it is illegal to import due to its unpasteurised nature. However, Livarot, Pont Leveque, St Agur, Gorganzola Dolce Latte, Formagge D'Affinois, real camembert, aged English cheddar and Stilton are all on the list. I might even stoop to some of the local cheeses to keep my Aussie friends happy!

Ideally I should also like another, light and easy to prepare dessert.


So help me out my fellow gourmands! Give me your suggestions for

Starter
Additional Main Courses
Dessert

They should be easy to prepare on a small electric oven/hob. That's about it.



Mr Mephisto
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: on my ass :) - Norway
Was in a wedding where the dessert was Passion-fruit panacotta (with vanilla) and red berries.

I don't have all the details so this is just some observations.
In advance make the panacotta. (Online recipe here).

Mix raspberries and strawberries with (a little) sugar to a "sauce" - can also be made the day before and refrigerated.

When serving put the panacotta (vanilla-pudding) on the plate, berries around and some passionfruit on top.

Tastes wonderful!


If you disagree, try this recipe - Panacotta and poached plums
(Bad spelling - will try to clean it up)

Last edited by freeload; 09-08-2004 at 12:17 AM..
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
Junkie
 
I like the fact that it can be made the day before!


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Old 09-08-2004, 03:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I like the fact that it is very tasty! *drools all over the keyboard*
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
This is one of my favorite salads - -super tasty and super easy
Mixed Green Salad with Pears and Spicy Pecans
Pecans
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add nuts, sugar, cayenne pepper, cook 4 minutes, sturring constantly. Remove from pan.
Dressing
4 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
5 tbs crumbled gorgonzola
Whisk together all ingredients except for gorgonzola. Then add gorgonzola.
Salad
8 cups salad greens
1 cup trimmed arugula
2 Bosc pears, cored and chopped
Combine greens, arugula and pears in a bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle with nuts.
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
Main course - -this one is always a huge hit.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb
Boneless leg of lamb
Marinade
Soy sauce
Garlic
Rosemary
Olive Oil
(I change the proportions each time)
Marinate the lamb overnight if possible

Throw on grill til cooked to desired doneness.

Serve with
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary
4 new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs rosemary (minced)
Black pepper
1/4 c. water
Brush potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, rosemary and black pepper. Arrange cut side up in shallow roasting pan. Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 40-60 minutes or until tender.
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Old 09-08-2004, 07:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No cook starter:

Insalata Caprese
3-4 rounds of fresh buffalo mozzarella
3-4 ripe tomatoes of equal size to the cheese
Fresh basil
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Optional
balsamic vinegar
thinly sliced fresh chilis

Slice cheese rounds between 1/8th and 1/4 inch thick.
Slice tomatos the same way. Begin alternating slices of
tomato and cheese in the center of a large serving platter
spiraling outwards towards the edge of the plate. Tear
basil and sprinkle over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and
season with salt and pepper.

For individual servings, stack the alternating slices in the center
of the plate and drizzle olive oil and vinegar around the plate.
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Old 09-08-2004, 08:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
Bread Pudding, with Strawberry Drizzle
The Custard
Blend all of the following ingredients together:
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
3 c. low fat milk
1 c. half and half cream
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tb. Vanilla
c. dried currants
1 tsp. nutmeg

1 loaf french bread (or bread of your choice)

Prepare a 9 x 13' pan lightly sprayed with a vegetable oil spray and lined with 1" slices of French bread. Leave the pan of bread (covered but not sealed tightly) overnight to dry on the counter. The next morning, pour the custard over the bread. Decorate with a scattering of cinnamon powder and bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Raspberry/Strawberry Drizzle:
2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c. orange juice
3 TB fresh lemon juice

Heat in sauce pan until mixture boils. Puree and serve warm over the Bread Pudding.

Served with a large portion of mixed fresh fruit in season.



Both items can be made a day or two before, and just heated up .
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
Junkie
 
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What about tuna? Since some people want the chicken curry, you could make about a 1-1.5 lb of tuna cut into 4-6 equal portions. Marinate it in Olive oil, soy sauce (about a 2:1 ratio), garlic and ginger for a half hour and either grill or pan-sear it. With portions that size, they will need no more than a minute on each side to cook, giving you an extremely easy and quick entree.
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Old 09-08-2004, 01:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Bread and butter pudding! My God, I love that dish...

Problem with tuna is that I hate seafood. And Tuna, if it isn't fresh (read as "caught by the people at the table themselves") won't be any good. This is a family of fishermen/women.

I just spent 5 days up on the north eastern coast of Australia on a deep sea fishing holiday with them, even though I don't eat fish myself! That was great fun. Apart from being marooned on an old British nuclear bomb test site... but that's another story.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Keep 'em coming!

Mr Mephisto
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I know you said no pork, but I really love this as a dish (Mu Shu Pork) that can be served to a large group - I'd get up out of my chair and get the recipe I use for this, but the Internet is at hand

http://www.foodtv.com/food/recipes/r..._15421,00.html

Rather than cook your own pancakes as suggested, I serve with store bought/warmed tortillas.

It is a slightly messy but fun dish - bung it all in the middle of the table and get people to jump in.

If you have a flat bottomed wok, this will still work on electric stove top.
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Last edited by spindles; 09-08-2004 at 06:46 PM..
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Old 09-09-2004, 05:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Dude your tastes are way over my head. Everyone that comes to my house gets spaghetti and meatballs. They only get the meatballs cuz my neighbor loves to make them, if it weren't for her it would just be meat sauce! But I'd love to come to your house for dinner!
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