Dinner no 31 hosted by Tanyah; April 2017

I subscribe to BBC Good Food magazine and have a folder full of recipes that I have never tried. This means that I often neglect cookery books and there are a couple of books given to me as gifts that have sat having never been used. I decided this time to open one of these books and look at it cover-to-cover marking every dish I wanted to make. In this case the book is ‘Plenty’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and looking inside I see it was given to me in 2011!!

I always love it when *other* people cook Ottolenghi but have never plucked up the courage to face those long ingredient lists myself!

But actually, apart from the MOUNTAINS of fresh herbs the shopping list was really not that daunting at all. I think the only thing I bought which I have reservations whether I will use again is fenugreek. But who knows, having never used it, it may become my new favourite ingredient!

So having bookmarked about 20 recipes I narrowed down as much as I could for the 8ate meal. It will be a series of oddments rather than a ‘tasting menu’ as there is really no link between the dishes and some of them are clearly side-dishes. I just wanted the opportunity to make them and thank you 8ateclub for giving me lots of mouths to try them out!

If I can get my act together we will be having;

Eastern style foccachia
pistachio and feta dip
marinated burrata

stuffed onions
spiced red lentils
mixed green beans with green cous cous
mushroom and five cheese lasagne
watercress, pistachio and orange blossom salad
celeriac with hazlenuts and lentils

rhubarb, lemon and raspberry swirl

  1. Well, this takes the prize for the worst photographic evidence in a long time! Too much wine flowing (for me!) so I missed the onions and red lentils all together!

    I really enjoyed making this meal – for me it was a really nice way to experiment with things I really wanted to try but there is still competition in my kitchen if you want to be made again! It’s not false modesty to say that I wasn’t very impressed with the overall outcome. Doesn’t take away from my enjoyment though.

    In summary – the onions had a delicious stuffing flavour although the texture was too much like baby food. The annoyance was that the onion layers had toughened up through roasting and so were too chewy. I won’t make them again as they were quite a faff with not enough reward!

    The lentils were tasty but nothing exciting, I hoped the recipe would give me something I can’t achieve on my own.

    The green cous cous was a let down. Cous cous is never going to be sexy whatever you do with it. I really enjoyed the green beans but the shelling of the broad beans is clearly something to do if you are bored with life. Never again!

    The mushroom lasagne – well it was *nice* but not WOW. If I am going to eat something with 5 cheeses it has to be better than this.

    Now the salad was actually very pleasant. Some would say a bit pointless, but I think I would do this again in between courses if the meal was quite rich.

    Celeriac – hooray! This is the dish I enjoyed the most and would quite happily have a big bowl of this as a main course. I think I would crumble a bit of feta cheese over it before serving as well. And it needed a bit more mint 🙂

    My made-up pudding was sooo delicious! I saw some rhubarb at the farm shop and thought, really after all those different courses a heavy pudding would not be welcome so this was pretty much perfect.

    Thank you to all my lovely guests who brought smiles, laughter and good times into our home x

  2. A total pleasure and honour to be a guest at the 8ate club.
    The focaccia was heavenly with the avocado and pistachio dip and the marinated burrata, shall be repeating that.
    Stuffed onions delicious, the crisp skin a contrast to the stuffing. The dishes of mixed beans and lentils all scrumptious.
    A highlight was the mushroom and four cheese lasagne, will definitely be chasing down that recipe Tan.
    The salad was a lovely palate cleanser particularly with the orange blossom flavours!!
    A gorgeous light pudding to finish.
    Thank you so much!

  3. Wow Tan – what a heroic effort. Thank you so much for a lovely evening and all the time and love put into the meal. So to get to it …

    The burrata was AMAZING – loved it, will be buying some of that and doing whatever you did to it, loved the pistaccio dip and the focaccia too – want to try it all. Recipes please.

    Then the stuffed onions – funny looking things those (!) – and I agree with you, the skins had gone chewy so that made them less nice than they could have been but the stuffing was yummy.

    The lentils – again nice, but probably not worth the effort needed to create the dish. I see you weren’t a fan of the green cous cous, but I liked that a lot and the broad beans were definitely worth the effort – that was a winner for me.

    Then the lasagne, which looked amazing – just the right amount. If I liked mushrooms this would have been one for my recipe book for sure .. but even without those, I really enjoyed the 5 cheeses and the pasta, the texture was perfect, if only I liked mushrooms !!

    The salad (I think I’m getting my order mixed up now) – there was so much going on !! – I really enjoyed. Loved the dressing, more than you I think, the orange water or whatever it was going on there really made it. Worth a repeat I think.

    And your pudding – was the best bit. Yummy. Just the right thing for after big meal – move over Ottolenghi, when are you bringing out your own cook book Tan? Thanks – a wonderful evening xx

  4. What a treat to be invited to join a lovely group of ladies for a fantastic dinner!
    I am a real meat eater so was pleasantly surprised by the delicious flavours and by how much fulfilment I got without meat.

    I loved the focaccia – a perfectly warm start to the evening. The pistachio dip was delicious – I’d love that recipe. Enjoyed the burrata as well although it was less new and exciting to me as we have it often at home.

    My stuffed onions had a nice texture and I enjoyed the combination, but it wasn’t my favourite dish.

    I loved the lentils for stand-out flavour and colour. Not something I would have previously ever ordered or cooked for myself, so a memorable dish for me to have really enjoyed.

    Broad beans are now also something I shall try again in the future (having previously only had them cooked granny-style i.e. quite overcooked). Perfectly cooked and a very nice sauce / flavour.

    I loved the mushrooms in the lasagne. I’m a bit lazy with buying bog standard mushrooms for one of my favourite chicken / spinach / mushroom lasagne dishes, and I’m keen to try these type of mushrooms next time.

    I really enjoyed the salad (had to leave the dill to the side I’m afraid). A lovely light flavour.

    Delicious pudding. Super flavours and felt very indulgent whilst being quite healthy?!?!

    Finally, I love fresh mint tea. Such a perfect end to the evening.
    Many thanks for welcoming me to such a special evening. I am HUGELY impressed by the effort and thoughtfulness that went into the evening.

  5. Lainey

    I forgot the celeriac! I’m not sure I had ever had celeriac but I absolutely loved that dish. I love the mix of textures, and the hazelnuts made that for me. I would also love to add feta!!

  6. Lou

    Tan got the mood so right as we were greeted with a Spring time cocktail. The eclectic mix of food, boho crockery and forgetting to take photos added to the atmosphere of care free Summer days to come! It was a very relaxed evening with lots of laughing and a surprise free book giveaway by Tan.
    Loved the starters especially the pistachio and feta; soft and crunchy is a great combo. Burrata is a delicate flavour and too creamy for me. However, I do love basil, fennel and olive oil so I enjoyed it.
    Awwww, those chewy stuffed onions, looked a bit lonely (but quite comical!), they were really tasty. I didn’t mind chewing.
    Loved the lentils and the texture was perfect, would like this recipe please!
    Enjoyed the broad beans and even more so when Tan said they were hand shelled!
    Lasagne without meat! Thought there were some shiitake mushrooms lurking as there was a deep flavour cutting through the cheeses, Tan said it was chestnuts. Favourite dish of the night for flavours. Also, need this recipe!
    The salad sorbet! Genius after the Lasagne. Ok, ready to start again….
    Ahhh, perfect lentils, hazlenuts plus more nutty overtones from the celeriac, another winner.
    Oh and, to finish, back to the feel good Summer feeling, a light, refreshing, pud. So, in hindsight, we flicked through light and heavier dishes, really interesting. Tan, thank you for all your effort and a fun evening and mostly for reminding me to try new recipes, although not ready to become a member yet!

  7. What an honour to be invited to an 8ate club dinner, and for it to be in Tanyah’s beautiful kitchen with her pink lighting and incredible aromas. I love the idea of diving into a cookbook and doing a tasting menu – a little bit of everything for your guests, but I fear hugely hard work for the chef.

    We were greeted with a delicious spring cocktail and the most wonderful dip of pistachios and feta with cumin bread. Wonderful, but the burrata was a revelation. I have never had this before and it was sensational – move over hummus, this is my new platter of choice – i loved it. I fear its really bad for us – but it looks beautiful and tastes amazing, whats not to love.

    Now the tasting menu…
    The stuffed onions were delicious on the inside – albeit a little chewy on the outside, but I don’t think it detracted from the contrast between the stuffing and the onion. Nice – but not my favourite.
    I loved the lentils – I think they were exciting, I loved the spices and the colour and I am such a fan of doing something interesting with pulses which are deadly dull on their own. I would eat these again and again, and I know the ingredients list was very long – and prob it was a faff, but a yummy one!
    The beans and couscous was nice – but the best was the lasagne. I thought it was sensational and my favourite dish. I would happily have eaten this in a michelin star restaurant and been delighted. Bravissimo!!

    The salad was very nice – almost akin to gin and tonic sorbet, and i thoroughly enjoyed it –
    and finally the celeriac – with its subtle nod to mint – delicious – well done.

    And the pudding – rhubarb currently in season – with super light lemon and raspberries – totally perfect – light, delicious – a massive crowd pleaser – especially as I thought I was full – but there is always room for a tiny perfect pudding.
    Thank you for a wonderful evening and not a cauliflower in sight. I raise my cap to you Mrs Littlefair.

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