Monday, 17 September 2012

First night - Ben & Karen's party of eight. Nasli's party of five

First night. Wow. Who knew I would be that nervous? Two sittings of eight and five. All very accommodating and forgiving. Things that went well... my warm nuts (insert your own punchline), my vinaigrette (recipe to follow), the hot shots of chicken and Maderia consommé, the pineapple and lime granita... What went badly? Actually nothing ended badly. The chicken for the first sitting took ages to cook which upset my timings. But we recovered. I think the pavlova helped.
Fabian and Belinda were predictably doughty, wonderful and very reassuring... especially at the time when I thought I would have to serve omelettes as a main course.
Ben Lister came and took some ace photographs. Many, many thanks to him.
Two tips for the unwary home cook:
• If your chicken comes out of a cool box, it may take longer than usual to cook!
• Don't open a syphon (one of these things) until you KNOW there's no more gas left. I mean, NO more gas. Wow, those things go off with a pop.
Party of ten next week which brings its own problems challenges; not least building some sort of collapsible but sturdy table extension. I can smell the MDF already.

OK. This was asked for on the night. I make mine by sticking a jug on a digital scales and adding the wet and dry ingredients, then pour that into a jar for shaking.

Mustard Vinaigrette.
20g sherry vinegar
20g white wine vinegar
130g groundnut oil
40g Dijon mustard
10g wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
just under a tablespoon of balsamic reduction. (Note: This is balsamic vinegar reduced to a syrup. You can make your own from cheapie stuff or buy similar balsamic glazes in supermarkets. Add this to taste, as they all vary is flavour and acidity. The end result should be just slightly sweet and fruity as this sets off the mustard heat nicely.)

1 comment :

  1. An awesome first night! All the relaxed intimacy of a dinner party but without anyone ever having to leave the table in search of the next course... perfect. The food was divine, the starter veggies were perfectly cooked and to die for, the curd cheese a sumptuous addition and the dressing... well, the fact that we all mobbed you for the recipe says it all. The chicken and tarragon were made for each other and the potatoes caused a huge aaah! around the table when released from their paper bag, or whatever that french name was. Just when we thought we couldn't eat any more we suddenly discovered empty corners of our stomachs into which we could squeeze huge dollops of your show-stopping pavlova. And you let us outrageously over-stay our welcome in your gorgeous home, thank you so much and see you again soon!