Dinner 13

Dinner No 13 hosted by Lucinda: June 2013

It was great to get started on my 4th dinner. I decided to go for a different format this time, whilst staying true to the ideals of the 8ate club I thought that a summer indoor picnic would be a suitable theme for June. I also wanted to experience a meal where I didn’t need to leave the room or the table during the meal, a treat for me and hopefully not a bore for my guests!!

My menu was based on a traditional English picnic and I chose recipes that stretched me more than any other picnic I have done and are all dishes that can be taken on a picnic!

Pomegranate and Lime Smash – Virgin or Loaded

I loved this and have made it again since. It’s a great alternative to Pimms!


I have made ruff puff pastry at school before but not puff pastry and they are really the same thing. Thankfully I had plenty of pastry to experiment with as when baking the parmesan twists I needed to make some adjustments with the thickness of the pastry in order to be happy with the size. I thought they were light and tasty and my daughter LOVES them! I also wanted to go for a different take on crisps, something that we all enjoy at a picnic but that are never very healthy. I am not sure if kale can be classified as a super food but it certainly felt better eating them than the normal crisps. Apart from being very fine and therefore a little messy I really enjoyed them.

Main Picnic

Well, I knew i had to do coronation chicken so I thought I had better find an interesting recipe! The recipe was certainly promising but I felt the end result didn’t reflect the amount of work that went into it! I would make the marinade again but probably not bother with the rest, I also felt that the sauce was a little thin.
I have never made a dish with Israeli couscous in it but really enjoy eating it so it was time to have a go. I really enjoyed it and liked the slightly fiery smoked paprika dressing that accompanied it, a nice change from the semolina couscous.
I thought the goats cheese and fig tarts looked lovely and were just the right size, I have made quiches before but not mini savoury tarts. My instinct were telling me to bake the pastry blind but the recipe said not to, I wish I had stuck to my instincts as the pastry wasn’t crisp enough for me. Other than that I thought the taste was mild and therefore a good accompaniment.
Celeriac soup was a last minute entry as the weather was so awful! I thought it was light in flavour and was a nice little addition to the cold food.


The strawberry baklava millefeuille with orange flower cream was a winner for me personally and we have eaten it again since. I slightly over whipped the cream given it went back in the fridge for a while but I loved the flavours and textures of this dish as well as the presentation.

Petit Fours

The salted caramel and nut squares are a recipe from a campervan book, designed for making at home and taking away camping. I think they are delicious and I will definitely keep making them (have made them again already) but they are definitely messy/sticky.

I would like to thank you all for coming and for all my gorgeous gifts!! It is always an absolute pleasure meeting everyone’s guests and its always nerve wracking cooking dishes for the first time on an occasion this, please can we change the rules!!!

  1. T

    A beautiful 8 ate meal. I love the way as time goes on and the meals go by we are all getting something new from the experience and this time it was lovely to have our hostess with us for the whole evening.

    I always love a glass of champagne at the start of an evening, and luckily for you I was driving so it actually went a lot further! I loved the pomegranate and lime smash, would definitely want it again but it is probably fiendishly difficult to make. I tried virgin and non-virgin and would say the vodka wins out 😀

    Loved the kale crisps, they felt all earthy and irony and good and were incredibly moreish. I enjoyed the parmesan twists up until the point Lucinda revealed there was lard in them and that did stop me from reaching for thirds (ignorance is bliss when it comes to lard…)

    So to all the mains. My favourite was the israeli couscous because it is a great way to pimp couscous which can often be thought of as a bit bland. This looked great in the bowl and the dressing was *superb* I had extra as well as the heat was wonderful. The tarts looked so amazing, I felt like they had pulled their weight already on the plate. I found that their flavour got overpowered by the other things though, I would probably serve these on their own as a starter. I know you were not totally happy with the pastry but I didn't notice it at all. I must admit I don't think the coronation chicken warranted all the work and effort that had obviously gone into it. The chicken was lovely and gorgeous and tender but the flavour was probably a bit subtler than I would choose. Although the sauce was on the thin side, it was fine with everything else on the plate as it added a nice lubricant!

    I really enjoyed the white wine with the main course as well…

    The pudding was a triumph. It was fun to make it ourselves although I did notice people didn't go for the full stack, I loved the pastry – it was just so evocative of a full on backlava with the cinnamon and honey, delicious.

    By the time the slated caramel squares were being served my tummy was holding up a protest sign but obviously I ignored that and got stuck in! Well, I think salted caramel is obviously the house speciality as these were superb.

    Mint tea. Always a winner.

    What a brilliant night.

    AGAIN!! Well done, Mrs Langmead x

  2. I was delighted when Tanyah's text came in asking me to accompany her to 8ate again. The huge advantage this particular evening over the last time I attended was that I did not eat much all day in preparation for the evening. So I was still able to enjoy the final course to the full (quite literally).

    Firstly, thank you so very much Lucinda! What a wonderful and multi-taste evening. So many lovely culinary experiences. You may have enjoyed not having to get up so much during the meal but my goodness me you must have prepared hard to be in advance! Lots of labours of love.

    The Cheese Straws. I am still dreaming about these. They were perfection. A real highlight for me. Beautifully handed around by your lovely daughter as well (I hope she pitched in to some of the leftovers!). The slightly fatter ones were just as delicious and in fact better as they showed off more the fact that they were homemade – which you and they deserve as they were so impressive! (My father always used to make his bow ties slightly droopy so people knew it was real – same thing!). So, a real treat. I was lucky enough to get another glass of champagne (drinking fast as usual to make up for Tanyah not drinking – like the good wingwoman that I am) so I did not get to try the smash. Looked yummy though. Kale krisps – you are on to something there. I am sorry I made such a mess with them.
    The main course. I am a massive fan of grazing and lots of different cold foods so I was in heaven. A gorgeous and rich coronation chicken. Delicious. I won't be able to have the bog standard 1950s style one in a sandwich ever again after that! The goat's cheese tart was very delicate and as you said, complimented the other facets beautifully.
    Pudding – well hurrah. So different, so refreshing, so beautiful – so delicious. I made the mistake of copying Tanyah who was in front of me and going single tier. Mistake of the night on my part. Enjoyed every mouthful.
    And as if it could not get better…. the caramel squares. I am still dreaming about these as well. Where I lost in my pudding holdback, I gained in PF seconds. Just gorgeous. Thank you!
    The other highlight of the evening was having you with us for so much of the time, Lucinda. Although at the other end of the table, it really made the night having our lovely hostess with us. There is a lot to be said for slaving in advance as it paid off in the wonderful and relaxed atmosphere having you in the room.
    And – what a wonderful collection of human beings all in one room!
    Thank you Tanyah for inviting me, thank you Lucinda for such a cracker and thank you all for your company.
    Alexandra x

  3. Anonymous

    Hello, Ellie here,
    Lucinda well done on a great start to our next round of 8ate meals. I was abit skeptical that having a 'theme' for each meal might make it a little complicated, but you have completely changed my mind, and your summer picnic theme was brilliant.
    Canapés and cocktails
    My favourite here was the crispy kale. An unusual, interesting and delicious nibble, I loved it! The great thing about these 8ate meals is trying things you've never even seen in restaurants, let alone cooked yourself, and Lucinda you always manage to serve something unique!
    Picnic meal
    My husband loves coronation chicken, and I have never cooked it, assuming it was cold chicken, mayo and curry powder. How wrong was I, this version was delicious. Lucinda all your efforts were worth it, the depth of flavour, different textures and beautifully roast chicken were great. I also thought the couscous salad was delicious, and like Tanyah I was loaded up with the paprika dressings it gave it a real kick. The tarts were beautiful to look at, and gave some structure to the plate against the salads. A well thought out combination of tastes and flavours, something that can be tricky when making a 'spread' of cold food.
    These were great fun to make, and this added to the picnic theme of the evening. The flavours of honey and cinnamon were strong, but this worked well with the sweet cream.
    Salted caramel squares
    Anything that involves salted caramel and chocolate is a total winner, and these were no exception. I will be making these!
    Well done on hosting a relaxed, informal and hugely fun evening. I know how much hard work it is to create not just the food, but the whole experience of the evening, well done.
    Me next, crikey better get planning!!

  4. Anonymous

    Hi All, Jo here,
    First and foremost a huge huge thank you to Lucinda for the most incredible evening. When I was first invited I really did not know what to expect, and without a doubt it far exceeded all my expectations. What struck me more than anything was the incredible attention to detail and effort that was made. The room had been decorated to reflect the picnic theme and really set such a wonderful tone for the night. I absolutely loved the pomegranate and lime smash and even the virgin version was good enough to stop me craving the alcohol! The cheese straws and kale crisps were fantastic – the pastry was so light and moreish. The choice of dishes for main had obviously been cleverly thought out, the contrast of colours and tastes complimented each other perfectly and although it all was divine, my favourite was the goats cheese and fig tarts – perhaps it shows my ignorance but I thought the pastry was perfect. The celeriac soup was a brilliant extra, full of flavour. Hearing the effort that had gone into the coronation chicken made me feel a little guilty for wolfing it down quite so quickly ( I couldn't help it-it was truly delicious).
    Now on to my favourite part of any meal, the dessert. The combination of the baklava; cinnamon, honey, strawberries and orange cream – mouthwateringly good. The presentation was amazing and boy was I happy to receive the triple layered example made by the hostess. I was well on my way to polishing the whole lot off when the salted caramel and chocolate made its entrance and that was game over..l was in heaven. Can't think of a better way to spend my birthday – being stuffed full of wonderfully wicked and scrumptious dishes. Really touched to be invited, such a great crowd, and the only massive negative I can think of is I realised how much I have to learn when it comes to cooking!! It is not easy to produce such a selection of delicious dishes and make it seem effortless, when I know for a fact it is serious hardwork! It also made the evening so enjoyable to have Lucinda with us for most of it. Thank you so much, I loved the whole experience. Jo x

  5. Anonymous

    What a wonderful evening, and as being a guest this year; I was very excited about the first dinner. Lucinda presented lovely food, and within a really relaxed atmosphere. The idea of an indoor picnic, I loved, which allowed Lucinda to be with her guests more.
    Canapés and Cocktails.
    The pomegranate and lime squash was amazing and so refreshing; two of my favourite flavours smashed together. I would love to try and make them at home; I am just not sure if I should as I loved them so much – just lovely.
    Curly kale is an underrated vegetable I feel, which I love. So this way of eating it was great, a great idea to try with other vegetables. The Parmesan twists were very moorish and a real treat. Well done for making puff pastry.

    The Picnic.
    Yum Yum Yum, loads of my favourite foods, coronation chicken, couscous and celeriac. It’s quite a process to make coronation chicken from scratch, but I thought it was well worth the effort. The chicken was beautifully cooked and the sauce was just right, as it soaked into the couscous.
    I loved the celeriac soup and could have drunk the whole flask. I am not a great dairy eater, so I thought the goat’s cheese tart might have been a bit rich for my palette, but the combo of figs and cheese balanced it out beautifully.
    Wow, what a dessert and great way to serve it. It was really fun to make and tasted divine – what a winner. You haven’t described what the desert it?
    So I would like to thank Lucinda for such a wonderful evening, also thanks to Tanyah and Ellie for asking me to be this year’s guest. Slightly nervous but calm at the same time about my round, I think I might need to see the rule book!!

  6. Anonymous

    Hi, sorry the above comment is from Sally.
    Must have left it off when I posted it.

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