Dinner No 10 hosted by Lucinda

Well round three caught me with my guard down and I have to admit that my menu was less considered than it should have been and as  a result I am somewhat disappointed with the outcomes!

I chose a menu that would see the Summer out and the Autumn in.  The ahi poke was a favourite of Robert’s whilst we lived in the Californian sun so I was keen to do this before the British sun completely disappeared.   It’s also a nice healthy start to a meal.

The chicken liver pate was a way of introducing the autumn with a chunky chutney to go with it.  It was especially appealing as both can be prepared ahead of time and keep well, excellent if you have house guests over Christmas!  I have never cooked offal before and have never attempted a chutney either!

The pork belly with butternut squash and chick peas sounded lovely but had I seen a picture I might have realised that it really was more of a sunday roast dish than a dinner party.  I have never cooked pork belly before and was curious about what you can do with it!

The chocolate and raspberry tart was an attractive way of saying goodbye to the summer and provided the challenge of chocolate pastry making!

Having made the effort on previous occasions to make petit fours I have now decided that they are A LOT of work and it’s not really something I would ordinarily do for a normal dinner party, especially if I want to enjoy the evening without having blown a fuse on the way there!  I therefore chose to buy and indulge!

How did it go?!

Ahi poke
I was pleased with the taste and texture of this and will definitely do it again, in fact I already have for Roberts family last night!  It would be nice if the tuna was a brighter colour but I think I would have to get super fresh tuna (from America probably) in order to achieve this.

Chicken liver pate and fig chutney
Having never made a pate before, I now realise that there are a variety of techniques when it comes to cooking the offal.  I think I got it right on my second attempt but should have added the extra butter in order to gain a
firmer texture.  I enjoyed the taste and will have another go at this.  I really enjoyed the fig chutney and could really taste the spices that I put in.  I might chop the fig pieces up a little smaller next time though.

Pork belly and spiced butternut squash
Well, I was very disappointed with my choice here but I won’t dwell on that.  I definitely think it needed less cooking time before I zapped it for the crackling and I was disappointed that you couldn’t taste more of the fennel seed and garlic rub.  The butternut squash nearly never made it to the table as I had forgotten about it in the oven up at the house!! I enjoyed the flavours but it didn’t look anything special.
Sorry I overcooked the courgette pasta, I will definitely do this again as it is delicious when cooked properly and its really nice to serve courgettes differently in season!

Chocolate and raspberry tart
Well I was seduced by the picture and the challenge of making chocolate pastry!  Although the cocoa makes the pastry very challenging to roll out, I found that when rolled for the second time it was a dream to work with.  The pastry smelt gorgeous when it cam out of the oven but I found the taste a little lacking.  They were clearly too large but with a bit of tweaking with the marscspone/White choc filling and a smaller case I might do it again.

It was really enjoyable hosting you all to my first dinner party in our pool house and I can’t wait to do it again.  Thank you all for coming and thank you so much for all the goodies you kindly gave me!!

Over to you Ellie! Xx

(some dreadfully poor quality pictures)

                                                  Ahi Poke



                                hicken liver pate and fig chutney

                                             The pool house table

                                Pork belly and spiced butternut squash

                                        Chocolate and raspberry tart

Wine Cellar for a glass of Tinwood

                                   Natasha, Elle, Dawn, Lucinda


                                         Tanyah, Sally, Jo, Louisa

  1. T

    Before I start on the foot I have to comment on the setting for the tuna. Having a glass of beautiful local sparkling in such a beautiful wine cellar was just SO fabulous. Relaxed yet a real sense of occasion. The tuna was my favourite part of the meal, it was just a dream. And a very 'you' dish. It was so lovely and felt healthy and light yet so full of flavour. Just scrummy.

    Pate was a life first for me so I have no comparison. All I know was that for something I would never choose on a menu I enjoyed it and finished it all. I enjoyed the texture and flavour and thought it looked more inviting than a slab although I know it was supposed to be firmer. I loved the chutney, perhaps a little too chunky but I could taste all the individual flavours – I loved it.

    Again, pork belly, I have never had it! There didn't seem to be a lot of meat? but I certainly enjoyed it – it was very rich though so sadly it was the culprit for me not finishing my pudding. Can't remember ever not finishing a pudding! I loved the butternut squash, I was a very happy girl with that, and a lovely accompaniment.

    The pudding looked exquisite, I was not able to enjoy it fully as I had overeaten! I thought it was a great dinner party pudding as it is always nice to have something individual like that. Perfect really but I could not do it justice.

    Lucinda, you are always an effortless hostess that makes every single person feel totally at home, it is a delight to be a dinner guest x

  2. T


  3. Jo T

    What a super evening: Stunning venue, gorgeous food, perfect host!

    To arrive & walk down to the pool house & have the typical warm welcome you always give & be ushered into the stylish wine cellar to sip some bubbly & meet the other guests was a fab way to kick off Friday night!

    The tuna canapés – done three ways were delicious & I loved the fact that it was one dish at its heart but with varied foundations, all looking mouth watering was clever & pallet teasing.

    Then going thru' to sit down at a simple stylish table & find that the three courses were all my favourites was amazing!

    I love chicken liver pate, so have tasted a few versions in my time! Although as you say it was softer than some, I still think the flavours & beautiful presentation made it one of the best I've had. The fig chutney (agree some smaller bits of figs might be good) was scrummy & went beautifully with the pate but also would be a fabulous accompaniment to lots of other dishes & make a great jar of delight for Christmas presents!

    The main course of Pork belly was cooked to perfection & I'm not sure why you're disappointed with it. To get the crackling right first time is big achievement & the squash & chick pea was scrummy (I'd love the recipe), plus the courgette ribbons were light & added another dimension to the dish.

    Congrats on the pud too. Although full I had to finish it off, so agree smaller ones would have been better for my waist line! However the pastry was light, filling lovely & raspberries gorgeous. It looked so pretty & rounded off the goodbye to summer, hello to autumn theme perfectly.

    To then go outside under a starlit sky around the fire pit & be wrapped in cashmere blanket to sip peppermint tea rounded off a memorable night, which I know both June & I will remember for a long time.

    As always, a complete pleasure to be a guest at yours & enjoy delicious food, great company in stylish relaxed surroundings, thank you for a super 8ate Club!

    (Of course cycling back & being lucky enough to join you, Robert & the Girls in the sunshine to scoff some left overs for late lunch the next day when picking up the car was an added bonus!) x

  4. Anonymous

    From Ellie,
    A really superb evening Lucinda, and I totally agree with Tanyah and jo's comments that we felt spoilt with such a warm welcome in the beautiful pool house.
    Tuna- my favourite dish of the night. I had never eaten tuna, or any fish, served this way before, and thought the texture was light and soft, with delicate flavours. I would really love to make this, and would copy your superb presentation, especially the lettuce 'cups'.
    Pâté- I'm sorry but pâté is probably the one and only thing I would never order or make myself, and I did struggle with the taste of the chicken liver. BUT, while it might not have been for me, I loved the quenelle shape, and really appreciated the effort you had put into making something so tricky. The chutney was great, and as the others rightly said, would be a great standby for Christmas pressies!
    Pork belly- I loved this dish. I have often cooked pork belly, and it is a real knack to get crispy crackling without overlooking the meat, and I thought you did it perfectly. I could really taste the fennel, and I love butternut squash. A great dish.
    Chocolate tart- this looked stunning, the contrasting colours really pretty. Yes they were too big, but only because we had all eaten so well with the previous courses! This would look great served as one very large tart and sliced at the table. A very successful end to the meal.
    Don't be too hard on yourself, I really enjoyed the evening, great food, interesting company, and, as ever, a lovely lovely hostess.

  5. Anonymous

    From Louisa –

    Firstly, thank you for hosting us in such a fabulous setting. It was a lovely evening. Really lovely to meet everyone.

    It is such a treat to be cooked for and I thoroughly enjoyed each course. The tuna was definitely my favourite and I look forward to having a go at making it myself. I had never tried anything similar to this dish, so it was a great way to start the evening. I must admit to slight Gollum style waves of anxiety each time someone else took a piece. Batting other guests’ hands away might not have been the most polite way to introduce myself.

    The pate was gorgeous and the fig chutney went with it perfectly. I liked the chunky texture of the chutney compared to the spreadable consistency of the pate.

    As a bit of a crackling connoisseur, I am pleased to confirm excellent crunch and flavour of the pork belly dish. There wasn't a lot of meat on the piece that I had, but I would quite happily munch on pork scratchings 24/7, so that was no hardship for me. The accompaniments went with the dish well although the whole course was very rich as a result of the pork.

    The chocolate desert had a lovely flavour, but I also couldn't finish it.

    Rounding off the evening outside with mint tea was superb, but I will mark you down slightly for not having fresh mint. If I had any suggestion, it would just be that you control portion sizes a bit more. You are a talented cook and it was a shame not to be able to finish each course.

    If you are ever in Devon, please let me know, I would love to cook for you. xx

  6. June

    Well what very good luck on my part to be invited as guest to a fine dinner. After a very warm welcome and arriving after everyone else the canapés were still fresh and appetising, I am a big fan of tuna so done in this way was a real treat on the tastebuds and very light as a prelude to the starter.
    The pate is definitely a dish I would happily order often and the smooth consistency was not a problem for me but I see your point if you prefer it firmer or coarser, and yes the chutney is a winner, have never made it either so top marks for that one!
    Pork belly was delicious and perfect crackling which can be hit or miss in our house but you pulled it off, perhaps beginners luck so you shouldn’t be disappointed with that. You may have preferred it with a light jus but I was happy with the squash and chickpeas which went very well with the meat.
    Thought the pudding very nice and yes a little daunting in size but as so tasty ate the lot, all the flavours were good and berries taste better at room temperature which I think they were.
    Wine was suburb and your knowledge of it showed. Sipping tea and scoffing chocolates with fun company under a star studded sky wrapped in blankets was a wonderful surprise finale, a lovely memory to take away! Many thanks
    June xx

  7. Anonymous

    Firstly I would like to thank Lucinda, for a lovely evening and introducing me to the lush combination, of the tuna in the Ahi poke. I love the fresh taste of the ahi poke and seriously found it quite hard not to scoff a lot. The late comers were very lucky that there was some left.

    I thought it was very brave of Lucinda to tackle a pâté and chuthey, but both were lovely and complimented each other.
    The main event was belly of pork, which I have to say I never normally have as I always worry that it will be a bit fatty, but this was great, and I could of eaten It twice. I' will certainly attempt to cook this at home. Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables.

    I am not a pudding girl as I am always, too full from eating starters and main courses, but no one can resist a chocolate and Raspberry tart.
    To finish the evening under the stars by a roaring fire was my idea of heaven, I only wish that I had had a holdall that was large enough to smuggle one of those blankets home.
    Once again Lucinda thank you for a very pleasurable evening, and Ellie thank you for letting me be your guest.
    Sally. Xxx

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.