Dinner No 26 hosted by Lucinda: May 2016

Having had a break from the 8ate club I felt that I would be super organised for my dinner and guess what…. I wasn’t! It’s great to be back, enjoying lots of yummy meals and challenging myself once again!
So my theme for this dinner was all sorts but most of all, simple. I wanted to choose a menu that I could fit into a busy schedule as I was up in London all day on Tuesday and needed to be realistic about the line up!! I also wanted to choose foods that I hadn’t cooked before more than using techniques that I hadn’t mastered.
So here is the line up:

Scallops and chorizo with pea purée
I very seldom cook scallops and was drawn to this dish because of the presentation and colour along with the balance of flavours. Quite a summery little palate pleaser (well let’s hope it pleases!)

Home-cured bertroot gravadlax and homemade bread
Well this one is more about technique as I have smoked salmon before and have ceviche’d fish but have never cured fish. I also fell in love with the colours of the cured fish. I hope that the flavours will be subtle and not too overpowering, I am little nervous as there are some bold flavours such as gin and horseradish used in this dish.

Venison with red cabbage slaw
This is very simple but I am putting my faith in a chef that has a fab reputation and is currently going places, Angela Hartnett you had better not let me down!! I have never cooked venison before and believe that it’s hugely important not to over cook it so there lies the challenge!! Venison is a very wintery dish so I hope that the accompanying slaw, albeit red cabbage, will make it more summery. I have purposely not added a carb here as its 3 courses and I have indulged somewhat with the puds!

Warm date cake with ginger gelato
I have never served a cake for desert so this is it, it has a fabulous bourbon caramel sauce and is accompanied by a ginger gelato (something we didn’t manage to indulge in during a recent trip to Palma!). The gelato was made using a traditional recipe for ice cream rather than the wonderful Cheets method so it will be interesting to see how that turns out!

The other pud is something I just had to have a go at, I have decided that it’s a sharing pudding as you might all be sick otherwise. It’s Butterscotch pots de creme with salted caramel- of course!! Having served something with salted caramel in it for most of my 8ate dinners I thought it would be fitting to do another. This recipe uses the Bain Marie which I haven’t used in an age and also homemade buttermilk Creme fraiche! I am looking forward to tasting both!

After that little lot I figured that petit fours were not called for so it’s mint tea all round!!

Fingers crossed, Lou xx

  1. Thank you so very very much for hosting the most wonderful evening Lou – it was just gorgeous! The wine was really delicious – and I particularly enjoyed Jasmines little pre dinner show which started the proceedings perfectly!


    The most beautifully presented canape on a little chinese spoon – each one arranged perfectly on a plate. The puree and the chorizo worked together with joy and fullness. I thought the delicate flavour of the scallop got a bit lost – but at least I knew it was there which was probably enough! A wonderful, heart warming and fulfilling canape!


    WOW!!! This was supreme. An absolute winner. The taste of cured fish and the heat of the horseradish made for the most brilliant combo! The colour of the purple beatroot round the rim of each slice was really beautiful and enticing. Loved the lace of gin – and hearing about the process. Memorable – a keeper.


    Completely melt in the mouth. Thank you the man from Devon with your organic meat and delivery time not a moment too soon….!! The notable absence of sauces worked really well – which surprised me. The idea of a red cabbage slaw was origional and delicious – with a perfect amount of red onion giving it just the right kick. My personal fave was the slice wrapped in pancetta – oh yes!!


    TWO??!!I ask y ou – how thrilling was that. To have two was a heavenly moment. The idea of only ever being allowed to order one – and there you are with two staring up at you! The caramel was really intence and creamy – all it should be. Home made crème fraiche really good and the caramalized peacan a real treat. I couldn’t get through much of it – but had a jolly good go! The ginger cake won my vote though between these two. The Gelato was exceptional alonside the firey ginger and caramel sauce. I could eat that every day of the week – then Monique would really have something to shout at!!!!

    You clever brilliant girl, Lou – delicious and brave and worth every sweat drop or tear – a triumph

  2. From Scotty,

    What an amazing evening, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this delightful culinary experience.

    My comments on the evening that was ….

    Amuse Bouche (is that how you spell that ?) of chorizo, scallop and pea and mint purée on exquisite spoons: A lovely flavour combo, and for me anything with chorizo in it is a winner. A slightly smaller amount of the pea purée would have made it perfect for me.

    Home cured salmon starter: This was a triumph, it looked amazing with the red of the beetroot creeping through the fish, the beautiful frilly edges from the final cure, and sliced and presented so skillfully. Then coming to the taste of it …. the texture of the fish was melt in the mouth, the flavours from the curing complimented the salmon artfully and tinge of horseradish to give it a great little kick at the end. Could not be improved … the highlight of the night for me.

    Venison and red cabbage slaw main: I rarely eat venison but I am now converted, the quality of the venison was premier league. The slaw added a great contrast in texture, with added bonus of making it another reddy pink dish ! It was fun to have the prosciutto covered venison experiment in the middle as the prosciutto did change the flavour of the venison completely and did take over a bit, but as a one small piece in the middle it was a fun contrast. Finally the Iranian pistachio garnish overlaid a fantastic creamy crunch to the tender venison. Fab and would not change a thing. Yum.

    Date pudding with ginger gelato: I liked the date pudding but loved the ginger gelato, especially now knowing it’s not too hard to make! A warm version of the date pudding would make a great winter pudding.

    The other fudgy chocolate mousse thing with the home made creme fraiche and caramelised nuts on top: Super rich but super lovely, but it defeated me about an inch in! (Possibly because I’d just woofed down the date pudding!) I could have eaten a whole bag of those nuts .. They were great and added nice texture to the creamy dessert.

    Thank you so much for inviting me along, what a treat. The table was beautiful, the company great fun, and the food a real joy. Thank you.


  3. Ah, to be in the mind of someone whose theme is simple and then produces what we just ate!


    The canapes were so ridiculously delicious that I could have happily eaten 10 (or more!). I WANT those spoons, but do I? Actually what I want is to *know* somebody who owns the spoons who can store them safely for me and I can just borrow them once in a blue moon. Hhhm. Can I think of anyone??? 😀
    I particularly loved the fiery-ness of the chorizo it was a proper spicy one and blended so beautifully with the flavour of the other two ingredients. And it looked so beautiful. It is one thing to have presentation, one thing to have flavour but Lucinda, you always combine the two magnificently.

    Sorry to wax lyrical but the salmon was also totally out of this world. Having eaten 10 of the canape, I would eat another 10 of this. It looked like art on the plate. I wouldn’t serve it with lemon (I didn’t use mine) as it would have been sacrilege to mask the myriad of flavours already presented and it certainly didn’t need that lemony ‘pep’. It was quite simply perfect. Every flavour was perfectly balanced (although I couldn’t taste any gin?). Adored the horseradish. It was just a winner – I can’t believe it was created in a home kitchen. Stunning.

    The venison – I have never eaten venison like this and actually I was surprised to find that my tastebuds were not entirely happy with the strong flavour. Surprised because I think of myself as far from fussy, but it was just a bit ‘irony’ for me. Is venison irony? I don’t know! Cooked beautifully though. And the slaw was a great accompaniment. I really enjoy having a cold dish like that with meat. This is such a winner for a dinner party – you can sear and prepare the side in advance can be scaled up or down and it looks gorgeous on the plate. I bet you do this again.

    The pudding – THE PUDDINGS! The date cake was immense, like a grown up sticky toffee pudding. I was going to say I could eat two but I think I did as I ate most of my neighbour’s as well – the super hot ginger ice-cream was so intense. A real kick up the taste-buds in a good way and went so well with the cake and rich sauce. I found the second pudding too much. the custard was so rich – if it had been served in a tiny pot then I would have coped but even for a glutton like me it was a step too far. The toppings were grand though. Sugared nuts and the light creme fraiche were superb!

    As an aside – the table looked stunning as well – what a gorgeous and relaxed evening. Well done Mrs L xxx

  4. I felt very honored to be invited as a Guest to such an established evening. I knew it would be a complete treat to be indulged in such gathering, and was so looking forward to it. Firstly, I want to mention that I think it is such a wonderful idea and I love the fact that such effect, pride and time goes in to the evenings. It’s a privilege to be included in such a esteemed group of accomplished and experienced cooks. It’s lovely to be able to have the platform to discuss food. So often at dinner parties, where the cook has slaved away for hours, little credit and attention is given to the quality of ingredients and the achieved resulted. So, I think it is so refreshing that you have created the perfect excuse to allow us to ponder and deliberate….

    Scallop & Chrizo
    The canapés were so pretty to look and your presentation had full impact on arrival. The contrast of the slate tile with the pattern spoons was very effective. However, I did find the potion a little large for one mouthful. For me, the Chrizo over powdered the scallops. Perhaps, the slice could have been a little finer? I would have also liked the puree to have been a little more soggy, as I found it a little dry in the mouth.

    The starter was so pretty and very effective. I love the fact that you used the natural ‘ribbon’ outside of the salmon, which had soaked up the marinade and showed off the deep crimson colour of the beetroot used. I did end up adding some lemon, which I thought was needed. So thank you for adding it to the plate, giving us the choice.

    I loved the venison, and I was thrilled to be the recipient of it. I preferred the one wrapped in prosciutto, by that’s because I love anything wrapped in that. I thought this added a nice contrast to the perfectly cooked (or not so cooked) meat. I loved that you served it with cold slaw. However, I would like to have tasted a few more pieces apple and raisins (I’m a total lover of fruit with meat), to really get a contrast with the meat. I love ‘wet’ food, so perhaps a little more dressing.

    I’m a total believer in serving two puddings. Life’s just too short not too! Always my favourite course, so was practically doing summersaults on their arrival! I adored the kick of the ginger gelato. Home made crème fraiche was novel. Loved the creamy pudding – soft and smooth. Just my type of pud, although a little too much (even for me!). I thought the caramelised peacans were divine…..more please! Perhaps you could serve those with the ginger gelato?

    Fabulous evening and heavenly food. THANK YOU!

  5. Simple! My darling Hop Hop you are completely awesome. I adore the fact that you felt this was your version of simple entertaining! My version of simple is to chuck it all into one pan, put it in the AGA for the entire day then ta da ….. a meal that was mostly produced by the oven.

    As I always am when you cook me anything, here I am again, completely blown away!


    Just gorgeous. I adore pea puree, I love anything green and scallops are just such a treat with it. I didn’t have the chorizo as I am not really a fan but the fish and pea worked fabulously well together. The presentation was tres elegant and I wanted to keep my spoon.


    Gravadlax is a favourite of mine and to have it curing in gin (another favourite) is just too good to be true. I couldn’t actually taste the gin though (next time serve it with a gin cocktail!) but the salmon just melted in the mouth and the beetroot created such an exciting intense colour on the plate. Presentation was excellent and the bread was delicious. You just can’t beat a homemade loaf and it was so perfectly round too.


    Having had a week of eating venison on a remote island of Scotland I thought that I had tried every possible version and this would be similar. No no, how wrong I was. This was so tender, cooked to perfection and the wrapping of the pancetta was a great idea and the one I enjoyed the most. The red cabbage slaw was just gorgeous, I love cabbage, fruit and nuts so I could happily have tucked into a whole bowl of that and had it for lunch the next day. Great combination and you got it just right with the winter / summer blend.


    Safe to say I thought I had landed in heaven. The date cake was sooooo yummy I polished it off and would happily have had another slice had it not been for pudding number 2! The ginger gelato was amazing, spicy and cold and so interesting with the blend of the bourbon caramel sauce. A winning pudding that I will also be doing. Thank you!

    The pecans were irresistible, I ditto the bag idea! The combination of the oh so smoooooooooth butterscotch with the tangy refreshing homemade crème fraiche and the crunch of the pecan was just fabulous. I did manage to eat it all bar one mouthful. I thought that the extra one could just tip me completely over the edge of extreme indulgence and you might think I was being greedy…. I want to eat that all over again on the sofa, with a snuggly blanket, girlie very romantic movie and an extra bag of the pecans.

    Petit Fours:

    MINT TEA!!! Loved the new pot and adored the immediate digestion assistance.

    I absently left my Iranian vibrant green pistachios on the beautiful table or maybe I didn’t maybe they are still in Scotty’s car – Scotty??!! . What a find they are!

    Thank you so much for creating such a super evening, great girlies, so much warmth and stunning atmosphere.

    Job well done Mrs L, you are the queen of the kitchen. A marvel!

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