Tag Archives: dinner party

That’s Entertainment

In a rare moment of feeling hospitable recently I decided to invite some friends over for dinner. We haven’t had a dinner party for aaaaaaaages. Then I decided to invite another couple over as well because I thought they’d get on well with the first couple as they had a lot in common. Well, all the girlies had something in common anyway. We are all, or have been, photographers and all have dogs. All the two chaps have in common is that they have been lucky enough  to bag themselves beautiful and clever wives many years their juniors.

Both lovely couples, I was looking forward to it not least because it gave me chance to flex my culinary muscles and do some proper cooking for a change. Tricky finding  meal that everyone will eat with a picky, picky, picky eater like Boofuls, a fat fighter like me and a vegetarian to cater for. I didn’t want her to feel like she was difficult by serving her something totally different.

So. I made a roasted tomato, red pepper and garlic soup. That fit the bill for everyone. It was rich and unctuous and contained not a single calorie or ounce of flesh. Then I decided to have beef wellington for the main course. I’d love to say I made them but I didn’t, they were on offer in the supermarket and I was still searching for inspiration so I bought them. I did however make the mushroom and chestnut wellingtons with a red wine jus for me and the vegetarian guest, they were deeeeelishus! Then the important bit. Pudding.

I had two massive pineapples at my disposal so I got googling. Memories of schooldays came flooding back to me when image after image of pineapple upside down cake floated across my screen. Nonononono!! I don’t want a schoolgirl pudding. Pineapple carpaccio? Nah. Not very exciting. Pineapple in a caramel rum sauce? Oh yes!

Good old Anthony Worrall Thompson came up trumps with the best pineapple recipe. I put the sugar in the pan to make the  caramel. Swirl it round the pan, he said. I swirled and watched in delight as the sugar melted and became liquid. Pour in the rum and stir he said, be careful, it might spit. I poured and prepared to stir. unfortunately, the sugar in the pan decided to set solid as soon as the liquid touched it. I ended up waving round a spoon with half a pound of solidified sugar attached to it. I bet that never happens to Wozza!

Eventually, after half an hour of stirring a sugar loaded spoon round the solid  sugar melted down and I got the sweet and sticky run sauce I was after. I lured it over the pineapple and put it all in a slow oven to warm through. It was gorgeous served with vanilla ice cream.  Any other flavour would have been a travesty.

The guests arrived, and as I suspected got on like a house on fire. I love it when a plan comes together. The evening passed in a haze of relaxed chatter and good humour. paying careful attention to which friends to put together paid off as everyone got on really well. I’d forgotten how much I like dinner parties. It’s by far my favourite way of spending an evening.

Now that summer and it’s long, warm,  balmy evenings have gone for a few months I think we might be whiling away the winter months by doing a lot more entertaining.


Gainfully employed

It’s amazing how fast the novelty wears off, isn’t it?

Just a few short months after finishing work there I was tearing my hair out and getting grumpier and more bored by the day.  The I was thrown a lifeline.

My florist friend sent me a message asking me if I’d like a part time job with her until we move house. OH YES YES! YES! YES PLEASE!

I popped over to see her last week and she told me she wants me to be an extension of herself but more organised. Could i keep her diary, website and Facebook presence more up to date and also to help with day to day jobs.

First task. Make some Christmas trees. That involved going into the garden to cut twigs of various colours and then cutting them to size and wiring them into the shape of a Christmas tree and then decorating them. Beautiful, rustic, absolutely up my street. I felt like I should have been paying her. Who knew that floristry involves so much cement?

Second task. Make three Christmas garlands. Again using natural materials, I was in my element. I think I’m going to enjoy this little jobette until we move.

Talking of moving. We have actually got someone to come and view the house next week. Keep your fingers, toes and anything else you have crossed and send us your vibes. It’s well past time we were living in Devon.

This morning I was going to do a round up of all the week’s news but to be honest I’m exhausted. We had a little dinner party last night and invited people who hadn’t met before as I knew they’d hit it off. Good grief. They hit it off alright, they were still here at 1.00a.m. Boofuls and I were almost asleep at the table. I’m normally in bed by eleven at the latest. You might have to wait till tomorrow for the week’s round up. I’m going for a little snooze now. G’night.

Posh Nosh

Len and Lashes treated themselves to a posh tea the other night. Popping down to ASDA for a few supplies they came home with some extra special salmon en croute. Mmmmmmm my mouth’s watering at the very thought of it. A few green beans, maybe a few sauteed potatoes?

Lashes decided to give her own unique twist and thought it would work better with chips and spaghetti hoops. Who said the younger generation don’t have class?

In honour of Big N’s birthday we invited all the kids and clingons up for tea last night. Bit of a last minute decision so I had to concoct a meal for ten from whatever I could find in the fridge. We ended up with the Italian version of Friday pie: pasta with tomato and garlic sauce with chopped up sausage and chilli burgers. Not bad, not fantastic.

The snow arrived with a vengeance so everyone left in a hurry quite early on as they’d all have ended up sleeping on the floor otherwise.

Due to the same snow storm I had to cancel our planned dinner party with friends from Manchester. The menu was to be home made tomato and basil soup, beef wellington (Boofuls’ fave)  and an as yet un-decided on pudding. Shame, I was looking forward to seeing them, we haven’t had a good catch up for ages. While I was chatting on the phone with them this morning they told me about their old maiden aunt they’d recently been to see. She’d cooked them a special meal of Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie. For those sophosticated people who don’t know what a Fray Bentos pie is, it comes in a tin. Auntie popped the pie, without opening the tin and removing the lid, into a piping hot oven.

Yup, you’ve guessed it. After about 20 minutes there was a huge explosion in the kitchen as the tin exploded and splattered the oven door and all the contents of the  pie all over the kitchen. Thank God no one was in the room at the time or it could have turned into a very nasty event. I think they ended up with cheese sandwiches for lunch that day.

As a small child I was once on the receiving end of an oven explosion when my Mum only lit the gas jets on one side of the oven. It goes with an almighty bang, scared the bejesus out of me, I’ve been scared of gas ovens ever since.

I know you’re all dying to ask. What am I going to do with the beef wellingtons I’ve made for tonight’s dinner party? Eat them of course. I asked Boofuls what he’d like with it, guess what he said.

Chips and baked beans!

Bloody heathen! Now I know where Lashes gets in from, it must be in her genes. Why could she not have inherited her Granddads chef foodie genes like I did instead of her Dads lack of interest in good food genes. Sigh. It’s an uphill battle with this lot. She’ll be drinking Lambrini next. What? She does?  God help us.

I saw this article on the news website earlier and I thought it was lovely, take a look:  nature made an ice sculpture

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

OK, it’s not the night before Christmas. I fact it’s 9 45 in the morning but the house is eerily quiet.

It’s been a busy weekend one way and another. Friday night was the dinner party for friends and family. After wandering the aisles of Sainsbury’s for hours looking for inspiration for the menu I eventually came up with this:

Tomato and basil soup with home made pesto and ciabatta

Chicken stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in parma ham, served on a bed of spinach.

Apple charlotte and cream – although I got ganged up on and all the guests had a vote in my absence and decided they wanted custard instead. I have nothing against custard. Me and custard have been mates for years but sometimes you need to make new friends and cream was it, my new best mate for the briefest period of time before being cruelly pushed out by the rest of the gang. Left to loiter lonely and cold in the fridge with the leftovers.

The wine and conversation flowed all evening. getting a word in edgeways was the hard bit as Machinegun learned. Incidentally, Machinegun is such a long winded name. From now on Machinegun will be referred to as Len. It could have been worse. He could have been given a symbol for a name, something like : § then we could refer to him as ‘the person formerly known as Machinegun’ Well, it works for, ‘the artist formerly known as Prince.’

I think we’ll stick with Len.

Practically the whole of the UK has been snowed on.

Where’s my snow? That’s what I want to know.

Looking at the weather map it snowed snow all round us, above, below and next to us with just one little green area left on the map – us. Pppssssht!

Just look – and this is downgraded from yesterday’s map when Wales was all covered as well.

weather map from metoffice.gov.uk


Well. The sister came with the new boyfriend this weekend.  No need for Twister or sherry as it turned out. The ‘feed ’em and get ’em drunk’ approach worked a treat. If I’m honest I think I peaked in the food department on Friday. Saturday’s mediocre offerings were an embarrassment. MORE WINE NEEDED HERE!!!!

We had a brilliant evening (apart from the food) and a good time was had by all – till two in the morning if you please! That’s waaaay past my bedtime.

Now of course we are all paying  for it. I’m sure someone will make a move soon and get the day started. Let’s hope they don’t have plans for anything too energetic. I could do with a pj day.

More later when I’m fully recovered.