Dinner 21

Dinner No 21 hosted by Holly: April 2015

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the invite tan, and holly it was such a treat to be invited into your home for some wonderful food.
    The starter was my favourite dish of the night. The summer rolls, I have always wanted to make these, looked beautiful on the plate and tasted light and fresh. A great contrast to the more earthy gyoza, they looked great (just like wagamamas!) and now I have watched you perfect the shallow fry/steam method I will be trying it at home.
    The salad of green papya was unusual, a great experience to eat something I have never had before. I found the chilli kick quite strong, but the fresh textures and crunchy papya were a great match with the softer Riesling. A good girls low carb option!
    The girls food theme continued with the noodles which I think we all agreed was not a good 'date night' food, probably because we were all so keen to slurp away it got abit messy! The broth was light, with some depth of flavour from the hoisin, the chicken well cooked and shredded, ( definitely better then beef ) and all the fresh extras we added made the bowl look beautiful.
    The rice pudding with hot pineapple was a great ya to finish the meal, a slightly heavier dessert, rich and creamy with coconut and a wonderful fresh hot charred pineapple. A great one to easily do at home.
    You have a beautiful home holly, I have 'bowl cupboard' envy, and thank you so much for such a lovely evening, best wishes, Ellie x

  2. Tanyah

    I can never quite work out how Holly produces these feasts. It is all well beyond my own capability which is probably why i love these dinners so much – getting to eat such amazing food!

    I loved the cocktail, would have happily slurped it all night. I think I would shoozh it up with a bit more rum!

    The starter was the stand out course for me – the summer rolls were fabulous and I can imagine that this could be good fun to set out for guests to make themselves, especially after a couple of the cocktails. I didn't really go for the satay as a dipper – I LOVE satay sauce but it seemed to drown the delicate flavours a bit so I used the other dipping sauce which worked gorgeously.

    I thought the gyoza were SO delicious. In fact I went to a Yo Sushi for the first time a few days later and ordered the gyoza (having never had them before the 8ate) and they were so disappointing. They were deep fried for a start which then just overwhelmed everything else. I loved the fact that you had fried the bottom and then steamed them, I know you were saying you thought the outer part was too thick but I thought it was perfect, anything flimsier and it would have fallen apart. I would happily have eaten those summer rolls and gyoza all evening!

    Sadly, I was not a fan of the green papaya salad. Interesting to try it and not sure how I have avoided it for so long having been to Thailand and Vietnam where I know it springs up often – I just found it a bit fishy and salty for my tastes. So brave to be doing frying right by the table, I would be too worried about my hair catching fire or some other disaster – I thought the squid was very nice.

    Now to the pho – I was glad it was chicken and not beef as I think beef would have been in danger of being a bit chewy maybe? I did love this dish, I loved adding in my own bits and bobs and I loved the flavour of the broth – it really did taste like an authentic Vietnamese dish (and a really good one as I have had some horrid food in Vietnam…). My only feedback would be it was *really* difficult to eat with any semblance of dignity!! With the noodles as well, it was hard to choose the right implement to get it into my eager mouth.

    I would never choose rice pudding on a menu but this was LUSH. I absolutely loved it- it's the kind of thing I would make and there would be nothing left by the time people arrived with all my little tasters through the day. I am such a fan of coconut as well. And coconut and pineapple is a winning combination.

    More please!!

  3. Lizzie

    Spectacular!!! Every bite was totally sublime and I made sure I tested every single one!

    Gyoza- incredible. Completely delicious, gorgeous crispy bottom but soft and moist and full of flavour and I really like them with the dipping sauce. I never order gyoza when out because I'd imagined them to be soggy, but I haven't actually stopped thinking about yours all day and definitely want to have a go. I will be pestering you shortly for the recipe and where you got some of the ingredients!

    Summer rolls – they were so lovely, they looked stunning, so professional and colourful and I especially loved the sweet mango in there. The peanut sauce to go with them was a massive winner for me, I love peanut sauce and have had many a go with different recipes and none compare, I will need to try that ASAP!

    I have never tried green papaya salad and I'm so glad I did, I loved how fresh and crunchy it was with a gentle kick. I'm blown away that you made salt and pepper squid and in front of us, it was really deliciously.

    Chicken Pho (however it's pronounced!) was just lovely. It was really Warming and packed full of flavour and loved adding all the different bits and special sauces.

    Very truthfully I have never liked rice pudding but this has totally changed my view, I have in fact already bought the ingredients as I think it will be a winner at home. I absolutely love coconut, in everything, breakfast lunch and dinner and pudding was no exception!

    Thank you so much for such an amazing meal and for having us all, it was so lovely to watch you cook too. You must feel very proud!

  4. Trish Skinner

    Holly greeted us with a coconut rum cocktail which was absolutely delicious. Had I not been driving I could have quite happily guzzled a few more of those. They were a perfect start to what was to come.
    I really enjoyed the starter too. The vegetable rolls were fresh and crunchy and the pancake so delicate and thin I just don’t know how you managed to make them stay together. They were a lovely accompaniment to the pork gyoza ( I never would have known that was what they are called) which were very light and melt in the mouth. The dipping sauces were both lovely and a great contrast to each other.
    I adore squid but I am never game to do it at home because it’s so easy to overcook the squid. I thought Holly’s were really good, maybe just a little overdone. I would have quite liked slightly larger pieces but that is because I am a piggy. I loved the chili in the salad – it was perfectly zingy. This is a dish I would like to try at home for sure.
    The chicken pho was a fun dish to eat! We all had a good giggle at each other with dribbles down our chins. It was really tasty and surprisingly filling especially with all the fresh greens added to it. I’m not sure we actually needed it after two very nice dishes beforehand. It would make a really nice warming dish just on its own.
    Finally the rice pudding with the pineapple was a great way to end the meal. I particularly loved the pineapple which was sweet but still a little crunchy and beautifully caramelised. I could have polished off a plate of that on its own. I’m not a big fan of coconut either but I was surprised on two counts both in the welcome cocktail and the coconut rice pudding.
    So Holly, thank you for yet another stunning meal. As always, you seem to do it so effortlessly but such a lot of work went in to it – so much gorgeous food and all the little touches that you add. You are a wonderful hostess and cook.

  5. Charlie

    Wow! What a fantastic evening it was and thank you Lizzie for inviting me.

    The Summer Rolls with the peanut and soya dipping sauces were delicious. They were so colourful and tasted great. The Gyozas were out of this world. So much better than Wagamammas! I will certainly be asking you for the recipe!!

    I love Pepper Squid so was really excited that this was on the menu. It didn't disappoint! The salad really complemented them too.

    The highlight of the evening for me was the Chicken Pho! Since trying all this on our honeymoon in Vietnam we fell in love with Pho's. This was amazing! Fantastic! I really need the recipe for this as would love to be brave enough and try this at home!!!! My husband was incredibly jealous having found out we had had this!
    I don't often have rice pudding and thought the coconut version was wonderful. So creamy and incredibly morish!!! Shall be another one I would like to try.
    Holly thank you so much for a wonderful evening, it really was truly amazing. You are one great cook! And I LOVE your kitchen! Very cool. It was lovely to meet you all. Thanks again love Charlie xxx

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