I am blown away by the meal you produced under pressure Holly. I would love some of that super-coolness to rub off on me!
Having been vegetarian for 20 years I was delighted to hear we were having a veggie menu, I think vegetarian food by it's nature makes you be more creative and think about textures and flavour combinations.
The kohlrabi and beetroot was heaven to me, kohlrabi is something unusual but so delicious and I loved the way it had taken on the pinkness of the beetroot, and having used only salt with no vinegar there was none of that sharpness you can get with pickles. Baba ganoush is another favourite of mine, I was in heaven! It was smokey and a great consistency. Home made houmous is always a revelation to people the first time they make it because it is so simple to make and has none of the salty processed taste of bought stuff – and the chilli dip was lovely, really reminded me of a Mexican dip, fresh and zingy with just the right amount of heat.
The starter for me was another treat, I live in a house where beetroot is banned, but I adore it! Such a treat to have all the produce from mama's garden too. I'm not a fan of walnuts but I thought the ricotta/herby mix was a perfect accompaniment to compliment the natural sweetness of the beetroot.
I know that you were keen to be plating food up rather than having an everyone-help-themselves style and I have to say the table looked beautiful with all those plates of beetroot 🙂
I have never done a baked risotto and will definitely give it a go now. I did think it lacked some of that lovely 'ooze' of a pan risotto, so maybe just a bit of extra liquid to offset that? The balance of blue cheese was perfect, not too overpowering and it passed the ulitmate test of a risotto which is enjoying every mouthful and not getting a bit tired of it by the end! Loved that mushroom with whatever amazing marinade had been used. I also enjoyed the moderate portion size so that you could enjoy each course properly without rolling out at the end.
(and the lovely tomato salad, so pretty!)
Pudding was gorgeous looking which is always a great start. I know the hazelnut cookies were the cookies from hell to bake but they were wonderful to eat. Having sampled the large and the small, I preferred the large and I thought it looked great on the plate as a half – an unintentional improvement! i thought it was a very sophisticated pud.
Very impressed with the marshmallow making, I'm not a big marshmallow fan but still intrigued to give it a go myself now!
And the chocolate 'special cuddles' were divine and utterly decadent.
What a wonderful evening, I love how much you love food and I hope you managed to enjoy some of it in between the stresses – you are a wonderful hostess.
Trish said…The venue for my second 8ate club was in the beautiful town of Arundel and our hostess Holly welcomed us into her lovely home just filled to the brim with quirky products from her wonderful shop Sparks Yard. Holly, it must be mentioned, is in her third trimester of pregnancy with her second child so all praise to her for volunteering to cook on this occasion!We were welcomed with a chilled glass of champagne and some expertly made dips – homemade houmous, babaganoush and a third which I’m afraid I cannot even attempt to pronounce. I adore houmous and this one was a lovely texture, not too smooth, so I had plenty. The babaganoush was really tasty and also smoky, but not too overpowering, which satisfied me completely. The third dip had a bit of a kick to it – I have no idea what was in it and although tasty I preferred the other two.Our entrée was a very colourful and prettily presented plate of two types of beetroot with a homemade ricotta accompaniment. I am going through a beetroot craze at the moment but haven’t tried it this way before so nice to have another idea. We were informed that the beetroot came from Holly’s mum’s garden so a big thanks to her too. I enjoyed the freshness of the beetroot which was very simply prepared but accompanied by walnuts, ricotta and a few bright green salad leaves. The beetroot was thinly sliced and had a little crunch to it and although walnuts can sometimes be a bit bitter I thought the mix was superb.An oven baked risotto followed complemented by a large field mushroom in a red wine sauce. The risotto was very tasty and I would definitely try the oven baked method in the future. There was some blue cheese in the risotto but it was still fairly light. I’m afraid I am always guilty of putting too many ingredients in my risottos and they can end up being too filling, so I am going to take note for the future. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms but I did like these. I thought the tomato salad was a brilliant match for the risotto as it provided a little acidity to what was quite a creamy dish. I rather overindulged in pudding by having two of the cookies but it was the least I could do given they broke your magimix! I love a few figs too – it’s always a shame though that it’s hard to find really ripe figs in this country.The marshmallows were really interesting and nothing like I expected having only ever experienced shop bought ones. They were very light and melted in the mouth. I could only manage one after my pudding effort but a brave move by Holly to even attempt them!We finished with some refreshing teas offered by Andy and I must say I really liked the French Earl Grey. I will definitely be adding that to my shopping list.Holly, you have made me very nervous. If I can produce a meal with half as much finesse I will be happy. Thank you for a most enjoyable evening.
So here goes……
Holly, firstly, thank you for inviting me as your guest, and what a great theme for me as I love veggie food!
Secondly, aside from the food, what a fun evening and lovely group of girls which made the evening a real giggle and lovely easy atmosphere!
So on to the food:
1. Loved the dips, the baba ganoush was delicious and it was a first for me so will definitely try and make it one day. I really enjoyed the beetroot and kohlrabi, very tasty and crunchy.
2. As I love beetroot, it was lovely to eat it slightly differently. I haven't had it crunchy before so that was very enjoyable.
3. I LOVE risotto, and a baked one was delicious, I prefer it more moist but it was lovely with the tomato salad and mushroom, just what I would have if Nick was out one night!!!!!
4. The figs were gorgeous, such a shame I don't have them more often. The biscuits were great (shame they were difficult to make!) but very nice together.
5 The marshmallows were great, and totally melted in your mouth, just a shame I don't like coconut, but I made up for that by using it for my bunnys tail!!!!!!!!
The chocolate cuddles were divine but naughty so I only had a bite, but a very nice bite it was!!!!
Thank you again Holly, a wonderful feast of food and company!!!! Happy resting xxxxxxx
Sorry that was from Dee!!!!
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