Tag Archives: Dinner Party

Ugh… I did it again (No photos). Mexican Dinner

I am SO sorry… I keep reminding myself to take photos of my food. But once it’s ready and the wine uncorked and the friends in the house, I completely forget to take a photo before everyone starts digging in. ūüė¶

Anyways many many nights ago I had some friends over for dinner. These are the same friends I had over for dinner in my first recipe that I blogged, so it’s quite fitting that this will likely be my last Dubai based food post.

Dinner was:

  • 4 different types of Quesadillas (cheese, cheese and jalapenos, mushroom and beef, cheese and black olive tapenade)
  • Beef and mushroom tacos
  • Homemade guacamole
  • Homemade salsa

Guacamole

Into a blender chuck in and blend:

  • 1 avocado
  • green onions
  • red chilies
  • coriander
  • lime
  • salt
  • paprika
  • olive oil

Season to taste and sprinkle a little more chopped coriander on top.

Salsa

Similar to the guacamole. Chuck into a blender and blend!!

  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • green chilies
  • olive oil
  • coriander
  • salt
  • pepper

The Quesadillas:

Grill your quesadillas. Basically to assemble: corn tortillas, homemade salsa, cheese (I used Gouda), and then toppings. I made four quesadillas and used the different toppings as above. Grill on both sides until cheese is all melty and then cut into triangles.

Beef and Mushroom tacos

Saute your beef with onions, a little garlic, some seasonings (salt, pepper, tabasco, paprika, etc), and veggie stock.

Saute your mushrooms with a little rosemary, paprika, butter, salt and pepper.

To make your tacos, grill tacos with a little cheese (until melted) and then top with chopped lettuce, beef, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

Note: I made this dinner over a month ago but have just been busy with my holiday to China and moving to Canada. Currently I am staying in a hotel so there won’t be much cooking going on.


Merry Christmas Brunch

Yesterday we had a Christmas Eve dinner/brunch of sorts. The menu was as follows:

– Smoked salmon tartare on melba toast (great substitute for blinis!)

– Baked camembert (left) with a wholegrain mustard dressing

– Baked mediterranean feta on flat bread

– Cheese and meats platter

– Pesto bread, halloumi, and chorizo skewers (not mine. SO delicious!)

and an assortment of drinkies! Sitting in a jacuzzi, drinking champagne whilst watching the world go by is definitely NOT a bad way to spend Christmas Eve and I had a great time. The recipes for the starters are below and they are SUPER easy, no fuss, and tasty!

Baked Camembert

Remove the paper from the box and then place the camembert back inside. Cut slits into the cheese and stuff  some with slices of garlic. Then make a dressing with equal parts (about 2 tbls) white wine, wholegrain mustard, and honey. Drizzle over the camembert and then bake in the oven (in the box). The top will have beautiful grill marks on top and the cheese will be oooozy and warm underneath. Dip with bread.

Smoked Salmon Tartare

Chop up your smoked salmon and place in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add in some finely chopped shallot and then mix it all together with sour cream. Spoon onto the melba toast.

We were supposed to use blinis but the store didn’t have any. Turns out really well because honestly melba toast works perfectly with this recipe.

Baked Feta

ÔĽŅCut red and yellow peppers into thin strips and dump into a roasting pan together with a pack of cherry tomatoes. Chop up your feta into largeish squares and add to pan. Liberally pour in some good olive oil and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay, lemon peel, and lots of chopped fresh basil. Mix it all together and then bake in oven for about 20 mins. Serve with flat breads.

Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!! xx

 

 


Leek and Mushroom Strudel

I’m in Dubai this Christmas and thinking about a dinner party for the few (of my friends) that are also staying in town. This recipe is a bit of dry run to work out some of my thoughts for what to make. I’m thinking of this as a starter with a red wine glaze. However, the recipe works pretty much for any occasion! Great for a brunch or lunch. Maybe with a glass of something sparkly?! ;-p

Leek and Mushroom Strudel

the mushrooms…

First roughly chop your mushrooms (I used button and brown mushrooms) toss into the pan with butter and some finely chopped red¬†chilli and smashed garlic. Cook it off and toss in some herbs and seasoning (I used chives, rosemary, a little lemon peel, ¬†salt and pepper). Then once cooked (and this is important) drain. It’s important to drain because you don’t want the filling to be soggy.

the leeks…

Clean (thoroughly) the leek. I put one slit all the way through the leek so that I check for dirt as I chop. Once washed chop finely. Easiest way to do this is to cut semi-large pieces of the leeks and dump them into a food processor. Let the machine do all the work! Saute in a pan with salt, pepper, and butter. Again set aside and drain. Now to make the filling come together

the filling…

In a bowl combine ricotta cheese and some low-fat herbed cream cheese. Season well. I used chives, salt, pepper, and a little English mustard. Then add in some grated smoked mozzarella and the mushrooms and leek mixtures. Stir and taste. Season until you are happy with the taste. Set aside and melt some butter in a bowl.

to bring it all together and make the strudel…

Lay three sheets of filo pastry on top of each other and  cut into halves. Separate the sheets. Take one sheet and brush with the melted butter. Layer another sheet on top of that sheet and brush more butter over it. Layer a third and fourth sheet and repeat. Then spoon the mixture onto the filo sheet. Fill it in a sausage or rectangle shape near the edges of the filo but leave a little space (especially at the top and bottom). Then roll the sheet into a cylinder (of sorts) starting at the filled end. Tuck the edges in and bake in an oven until the filo is browned and crispy (but not burned).

In this case I just used a balsamic glaze as my sauce. Plate up and enjoy! x


Thai Chicken Curry

Dinner tonight! Well, actually its tomorrow’s lunch but I stole a little bit for my dinner. I meant to have a lazy cook and went to the store to buy some green curry paste but they didn’t have any! Well, I wasn’t go to go back around the store and buy ingredients to make my own green curry. I figured, I would make do with whatever is already in my basket and in the house. So here is what I did…

Thai Chicken Curry

Cut chicken into reasonably large cubes and then put all the pieces into a ziplock baggie. Into the ziplock I put: grated ginger, garlic, pepper, lime juice, lime zest, sesame oil, chilli oil, and a little Thai chilli sauce. Then set aside to chill out whilst I made my curry base.

Home-made Curry Base

Into a chopper/blender throw in green chillies, red chillies, garlic, coriander, spring onions, shallots, salt, and a few squeezes of lime juice. Pulse and blend. A really rough paste should form depending on your quantities. Take a few spoonfuls of the paste and chuck it into the bag with chicken.

Then add the curry base into a wok to cook off slightly on a low heat, only for a minute or so till smoking and bubbly. Then add in the chicken and tofu. Stir it all around and get everything coated. Add the coconut milk. Season. Cook off for a few minutes and then afterwards add whole mushrooms and baby corn. Then add in the mangetout. At the very end add more lime juice, some zest, spring onions sliced on a diagonal and more coriander. Then enjoy!!


Cheese toast… a single girl’s dinner!

Mmmmm… the “humble” cheese toast. Pretty much God’s gift to the hungry masses… its cheap, its easy, it’s SO DAMN GOOD!! I single-handedly blame bread and cheese for all my clothing related crises and yet, I will never give them up! I could eat cheese toast any time and I kind of do. It’s a great come home late meal, Hiatt-Baker Hall taught me it could be breakfast, and my Mom used to make it for me as an after school snack (but with more veggies and less cheese). Anyways, so onto my recipe.

Grilled Cheese on Toast

I like to use a strong flavoured cheese like Gouda or Gruy√®re for my cheese toast. I also like mine simple. Bread, (lots of) cheese, and a grill, but you can definitely add: onions, olives, chillies, mushrooms, etc. You can also spread mustard onto the bread before adding the cheese but for my single girl’s dinner (lol) I prefer the following:

Get a nice bread, in this case I have some sourdough, whilst it grills very lightly (just a slight crunch to touch and almost no colour) grate your cheese. I have some gouda and a little parmesan going on tonight. Take the bread out of grill and liberally top with cheese. Melt in microwave until all gooey and bubbling (but make sure the microwave hasn’t “crisped” the cheese). Then take plate out of microwave and stick back under grill (plate and all — be careful when removing from oven. It will be HOT) Let it bubble and brown under grill for a few minutes. Then remove, season with salt and pepper plus few dashes of tabasco and eat. Only one slice mind, as its kind of bad for you (but oh soooooo delicious). I would also normally eat with a small salad but can’t be bothered tonight.

So I now have my cheese toast sliced into two, its cool enough to eat and I’m sitting in front of the tv with a glass of red (leftover from socializing on the weekend). A perfect way to end the weekend and with minimal mess and washing up!! ¬†ūüôā

p.s. the microwave trick only works if the bread is sliced thickly and firm. Using a thin or soft bread in the microwave will result in soggy cheese toast. Which is no good.


The recipes that started this…

For a long time I have thought about blogging about food rather than just writing it down in my recipe book or more likely keeping the idea in my head. However, this weekend I decided I really want to preserve my food ideas and memories (and again, blog just seems easier). I’ve been keen for a few years now to move towards more conceptual and pretty food but have had no one to cook for and a limited kitchen to accomplish the cooking within. However,¬†I have a better kitchen now and the only diner I need is me, so have recently started experimenting more since the beginning of 2010. This is the first time I’ve made the decision to blog though. Lol. Wonder how it will all turn out….

Anyways, this week I had some friends over and made : Aubergine and smoked mozzarella stacks to start and grilled seafood on a bed of leeks as a main. Its a pretty easy recipe and a lot of it can be prepped in advance.

Smoked mozzarella and aubergine stacks:

Slice an aubergine into equal circumferences, some an inch thick, some thin. Salt to remove bitterness and then rinse and season. Grill the thick slices, quickly fry till crisp the thin slices. Set aside. Slice the smoked mozzarella. Layer. Thick slice, season; smoked mozzarella, thin slice, season; thin slice, season and smear with garlic cream; smoked mozzarella, thin slice, season and smear with chilli cream; thin slice; smoked mozarella; thick slice, season; buffalo mozzarella to top, season. Form the tower and wrap half way up with foil. Oven bake.

To plate: Place aubergine and smoked mozzarella stack into center of shallow bowl/plate then on one side drizzle basil cream till bowl is covered and other other side drizzle tomato cream until bowl is covered. The result should look colourful and pretty. Then eat!! yum. I would have taken a picture but am pretty sure my friends would have thought I was nuts! hee.

The garlic cream, basil cream, chilli cream and tomato cream were all home-made and prepped in advance.

Grilled seafood on a bed of leeks:

Slice leek very finely. Take your time to ensure even size. Season with lemon and salt + pepper and set aside. Can do a day in advance.

Marinate scallops and (shelled and cleaned) prawns in chilli, olive oil, salt, pepper, rum, garlic cream, thyme, lemon, lemon zest, dash of Tabasco. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for an hour or two.

Saute leeks slowly in butter. Cook until tender but still with slight bite. Should taste buttery and oniony and all good. Grill prawns then scallops, cook until juuuusst right. As i had friends over, I oven baked/grilled them. Then finished quickly in a pan on top of stove. Roughly 6 mins on prawns and 4 mins on scallops, but depends on size. Will have to judge by sight.

Plate with leeks in center of plate and scallops and prawns artfully arranged between each other on top of leeks. Serve with simple dressed salad. Eat! Healthy (well aside from TON of butter in leeks) and delicious.