Dinner No 2 hosted by Amanda

OK so here goes for the Menu for Wednesday the 19th of Jan, 2011
Host – Amanda!

Have been having mild to “not nodding off as easily as I do normally” type panic attacks for this event as it has drawn closer.

What I hear you cry could possibly be the problem?

Is it the fact that I will be attempting dishes I have never cooked before with utensils that have remained untouched since purchase in front of people who really know about food?

Or could it be that I am totally out of my comfort zone and a secret control freak so cooking things for the first time on the night is actually quite a risk not many people would take?

Well, it’s a bit of all that but despite the above, the menu has been decided and I am looking forward to it…honestly 🙂

Savoury Stilton & Walnut Sables

First Course
Spinach & ricotta filo pastries with slow roasted vine tomatoes

Second Course
Rainbow Trout with Horseradish Balsamic yoghurt & beets with smashed new potatoes

Honey & Almond Panna Cotta with Watermelon & Rosewater salad

Hoping things will go well on the night and I really look forward to reading your comments afterwards.

Here’s to hoping I am a decent host and everyone has a lovely time.

Amanda x

                                                           Bonnie, Sarah, Sally, Ellie

                                                       Suzie, Tanyah, Lucinda, Amanda

  1. Anonymous

    Well my comments first on the evening!

    Lovely group of ladies and hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves. I have never had any training or been on any cooking courses and so my cooking is definitely on the rustic side.

    Everyone introduced their guest and it is a really nice way to meet new people. It proved again that between the four of us we all know really lovely people.

    They seemed to go down quite well, I didn't want to do too many as we were having 3 courses, just a nibble to wet the appetite. The recipe said 10 but I made 14 (there was 1 left so perhaps this was the right amount?)

    You had to pre bake the pastry before but that was all so I think they are worth doing and you could add any cheese to the onions. They held well together on the plate. I would do the pastry base again but would do lots of different toppings next time.

    First Course
    The filo pastry wasn't as scary to use as I thought but you had to butter 4 sheets together and then I over cooked the pine nuts but as I had used them all they had to go in…I personally didn't like the filo parcels all that much to me as the ricotta tasted slightly poached but I did like the Marcus Waring cheese & seed/olive muffins. I did mini ones so it was a bit of a risk as the recipe were for large ones but I would do those again but with less olives next time.

    Second Course
    The trout was interesting because I had ordered it from Waitrose to be pin boned but when I opened the packet just before cooking I felt along the spines and there were loads! 10 minutes later whilst guests chatted in the background I had managed to take most out, apologies to Bonny who got one.
    The fish fried well but myself and the kitchen took a pasting from hot olive oil. (The pan had to be very hot to create a crusted skin.) I did like the main course a lot however as it was light, tasted fresh and was really quite easy to do.

    The recipe had beets in balsamic so should have bought the beets without vinegar but this detail skipped past me as I was looking more at size at the time rather than what they had been cooked in. The recipe did say to add a tiny amount of balsamic but if I had bought the non vinegar ones they would have been sweeter which I think would have worked better as beets are lovely when their natural sweetness is allowed to come out.

    Pudding – Almonds in Panna cotta – no!
    It was too rough on the texture but I am not put off making them again just not with almonds as it defeated the whole purpose of what is a very soft and creamy pudding normally. Everyone seemed to like the watermelon with rosewater.

    At the end of the night I felt I had honoured the club in only making things that I had never cooked before. I loved the company and would do a couple of the things again but it did push me out of my comfort zone which was great.

    Good luck to Ellie, I am sure she will be a creative and competent cook and a lovely host.


  2. T

    A really lovely and relaxed evening, 3 hours had whizzed by and if we didn't all have the prospect of early starts I think we could have quite happily continued into the early hours!!

    The canapes were perfect, not fussy but lots of flavours, the blue cheese was subtle, maybe because it was warm? A definite treat to have warm canapes.

    The starter was also very nice, I think the spinach could have done with a little more sprucing (maybe some nutmeg?) but I loved the addition of toasted pine nuts and this dish could easily be turned into a lunch. I thought the muffins were a pleasant bonus, although not needed.

    I was particularly happy with trout as the main is it one of my favourite fish. The trout was succulent and perfectly cooked, it was a really welcome change to have a yoghurt based sauce rather than a creamy one, and I felt it went superbly with the lightness of the trout, I would have liked a bit more of a kick from the horseradish but that is just personal taste. Although the beetroot was bought in vinegar rather than without, I happen to love pickled beetroot, so I was quite happy! All in all a delicious main that did not leave me feeling over stuffed.

    Desert was a bit of a mixed bag – the watermelon was so refreshing and beautifully fragrant and the rose petals looked very pretty The panna cotta itself was a bit confused! The flavours were there but the texture with the ground almonds was just not quite right for me. Taste aside, technically it worked though and hadn't flopped!

    It was a treat to finish off the meal with fresh mint tea (and a couple of delish prestat choccies).

    Amanda was a gorgeous and accomplished hostess who underplays her skills in the kitchen. An extra nice hostessing touch was that as a non-drinker for the night it was very thoughtful of Amanda to put my cordial in a wine glass to make me feel included 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    What a wonderful evening, with lovely company and divine food! Thank you so much Amanda for letting us into your home and giving us such a treat!

    Canapes and bubbly
    A delicious start to the evening. I have to agree that warm canapes were a real treat and they were very mourish!

    First course
    Lovely and light with subtle flavours. I loved the texture and flavour.

    Second Course
    I dont eat enough fish, and this dish really made me think I should eat more. The subtle flavour of the fish was given a perfect kick by the beets and horseradish.

    Third Course
    Unfortunately the panna cotta was not for me, but I absolutely LOVED the rose water and water melon – divine!

    A wonderful experience, thank you! x Sarah

  4. Anonymous

    hi this is ellie.
    i had such a lovely evening, amanda thank you so much for your efforts, they were really appreciated.

    i thought the canapes were delicious and i could have easily eaten more, but i agree with your comment that the key is not too provide guests with too many nibbles otherwise they fill up!

    i liked the starter, i hardly ever cook with spinach and this was a good dish as a starter as it could easily be prepared in advance. the tomatoes went with it very well, balanced the creamy spinach mix.

    the main was delicious. i thought you were very brave to cook something delicate like the fish during the evening, i like things i can prepare well in advance in case they go wrong! i would have worried that the fish would fall apart, so your technique was perfect! i liked the yogart sauce, but am not much of a beetroot fan, tanyah polished off mine. a very light main, perfect for an evening such as this.

    i thought that dessert was fantastic. i agree with the comments that the texture of the pannacotta was perhaps too granular, but the taste was amazing. i loved that it was greek yogart based rather than cream, and you could really taste the honey. the watermelon was amazing, a simple idea that looked so smart, and tasted so different. a real 'chef' touch that i will definately copy in the future.

    such an enjoyablle evening, im actually quite looking forwrd to my turn!

    ellie x

  5. Anonymous

    What a lovely evening, great food. Thank you Amanda for being such a welcoming host.
    Canapés – I thought the canapés were very tasty, I loved the combination of crunchy walnut and Salty stilton all washed down with a glass of fizz.

    Starter – I don’t normally eat dairy products, but a really liked the strudel, very brave to cook with a pastry that you have not used before. I really like the pine nut crunch, mixed with the creamy spinach. I will definitely try and copy it.
    Main course – I love fish, so this was a great dish for me. However I don’t normally cook with trout, but I will in the future. The beetroot went very well with the lemony horseradish sauce. I really loved everything about the dish.
    Pudding – I love panna cotta, but I was not sure about the texture of the ground almonds, but as the others have said the taste was very good.
    I really had a lovely time, great food and brilliant company. The evening flew by, and was so surprised at the time.
    Thank you Amanda again. Sally xxxxx

  6. Anonymous

    A superb evening Mrs 'T'. Really enjoyed meeting the 'girlies' and exchanging banter. Thank you so much for inviting me to share your company.

    Canapes and Bubbly
    A glass of 'bubbles'is always the perfect aperitif in my eyes. Still raving about your canapes-absolutely delicious! Really brought our the 'va,va voom' in Mrs W.

    I adore spinach so this went down a treat. Light enough for a starter and a delightful texture brought in through the pine nuts and crisp pastry.

    Main Course
    Trout is a particular favourite of mine. Amanda, you cooked it perfectly and I adored this tasty dish.

    The pannacotta was set to perfection-held together with no boucne or rubbery texture. Its flavour was subtle and the freshness of the water melon rounded the dish off well.

    In a nut shell Amanda-terrific bird! Thanks for a great evening.
    Love Suzie XX

  7. Anonymous

    What a fantastic evening thank you so much, lots of familiar faces a great get together with fab company and amazing food.

    The Canapes were really scrummy and i could easily have eaten more.
    Not too over filling and small enough to have more than one.

    The starter was delicious.
    I loved the pine nuts adding flavour and texture.

    The main course smelt so good as we all sat awaiting the creation and it definately tasted as good as it smelt.
    The beetroot went really well with the horseradish sauce.
    The trout cooked to perfection. Yummy!!
    A light meal leaving yet room for one more course but thats another department isn't it.

    The Pudding. Looked beautiful and smelt good to. I loved the flavours and the rose water is something that smelt familiar yet im positive i havent had before and really loved.
    The texture of the panacotta was different and was a bit like marmite to me i couldnt decide if i loved it or was just not so keen never the less i almost polished all that off too.

    All in all i would say a very successful evening Amanda well done you, it certainly puts my cooking skills to shame.
    Thank you so much for icluding me in your special evening.
    As i waddled out of your front door i couldnt help but think that maybe there was still just one thing missing from my CV and thats rather a long course of cooking lessons. eeeeeK XXX Bonnie XXX

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