Well let’s face it, who on earth besides antique dealers and gay couples actually still give dinner parties?
~ Nigel Slater
Nigel, I adore every piece of writing I’ve read by you save one (see above) – on this front, I hope you stay wrong for a long time to come!
May I be so bold as to say that everyone should host at least one dinner party in their lifetime? It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated… all you need to do is gather friends, cook something and share your food. There’s just some kind of magic about taking the time to cook for others and filling your home (or your friend’s home in my case this time ;-) with cooking smells and friends/friends-of-friends…
We hosted a dinner party for 10 on Saturday night, at Kath’s place. Between Kath’s efficiency and preparedness and my groggy state of existence after a rather busy week, we launched our informal dinner club!
Most people knew just Kath or myself, and it really didn’t matter. Midway through the evening, it seemed that we didn’t need the background music; everyone was chatting, laughing… and Katherine and I looked on from the kitchen feeling pretty good indeed!
We had gone shopping in the rain on Saturday morning, at La Cigale and at a supermarket, before meeting up again in the afternoon to prepare dinner for our guests.
Before dinner, we served slices of fresh French batard from the market, dukkah from Zarbo, fresh tomatoes and Kath’s homemade basil & balsamic pesto. Guests contributed a very generous amount of wine too.
Dinner was chicken, ricotta and spinach cannelloni swathed in a bubbling sauce of tomato puree, spices, and a light sprinkling of grated cheese – and an impromptu green salad with olives, capsicum and whatever else we could find. I had never attempted to make cannelloni before, and it was an exercise in patience stuffing those tiny tubes! All worthwhile in the end :-)
Dessert was Bosc pears poached in spicy syrah, cinnamon, star anise, lemon juice and sugar, served in ramekins with a melting scoop of maple walnut ice cream… and the requisite tea and coffee.
Altogether a great evening, I hope we hold our next dinner soon!
It all looks fantastic!
What a great menu. I love how you presented the pears.
Ah! Dinner parties are so not dead. Or, they may have died a short-lived death until people realised there’s nothing wrong with having good friends around for some good food. Though I tend towards potlucks myself, I’d love to put something like this on… gorgeous pears, too :D
Thanks Jill, Rufus and Millie!
Millie – indeed! Hmm, I haven’t gone to or organised a potluck for ages… and now it’s even trickier in Auckland since it feels like everything is further away, people live further away, etc.