I’m really getting into the swing of throwing dinner parties, I hosted one on Saturday for my dads birthday and I loved every minute of it from the planning and preparation, sitting and catching up with the guests through to the cleaning up at the end with a buzzing feeling in my tummy!!
I’m already planning my next one :) I think it’s a good idea to pick a theme for the food because it makes it easier to plan courses that go together and to make the whole night blend smoothly.
I chose to do a Spanish tapas night because me and Scott couldn’t go on the family holiday to Spain this year so we thought we would join in the fun this way instead, also I love cooking lots of little dishes for everyone to help themselves to. I never serve up plates of food, instead everyone gets an empty plate and the food is piled up in the middle. For my dads party I did cook some meat as I wanted everyone to be happy and enjoy the food. The menu I cooked was-
Roasted tomato butter beans
Braised fennel and baby leeks
Chorizo cooked in red wine
Bread sticks and olives
Bloody Mary Cocktail Shooter
Roasted Paprika and Lemon chicken
Crusty bread and aioli aioli
Gluten free lemon drizzle cake
Fruit salad with ginger and mint
I also decided to decorate the table in a holiday theme with bright colours, floral garlands and each cup had a straw with a fun paper piece of fruit at the top :) I think it’s nice to set the scene to instantly provide a hint of what is to come and to set the mood. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, use colours to brighten up the table and items like confetti, garlands/ badges can provide an element of fun.
The “Course breaker” Bloody Mary Cocktail went down very well! It was a bit of fun and perfect because it was a savoury cocktail which felt like an extra course. I bought a brand of spiced tomato juice called “Big Tom” and then simply added vodka and a celery stick to stir. We made some practise ones during the day to test to amount of vodka needed…. I then had a strong cup of tea before carrying on cooking! :)
Serves 6 as part of a tapas spread
2 Cans Butter Beans
8 Large Salad Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Dried Chilli Flakes
1-2 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
Drizzle Olive Oil
1 Red Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 Red Chilli1 Can Chopped Tomatoes~
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Small Bunch Fresh Coriander
10-12 Black Olives
Slice the 8 tomatoes in half then place cut side up on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, chilli, red wine vinegar and olive oil and roast in the oven for half hour at 170c.
In a saucepan fry the finely chopped red onion, crushed clove of garlic and finely sliced red chilli until softened.
Add the roasted tomatoes, a can of tomatoes, dried oregano, butter beans, coriander. salt and pepper and black olives and cook for a further 15 mins uncovered to reduce the sauce and heat the beans through. You don’t need it too thick but the tomatoes release a lot of water so its nicer to reduce off that!
Using a fork slightly squish the roasted tomato halves and give everything a good stir then pour it into a large bowl, cover and leave to cool down to room temperature ready for your party. You can of course serve this hot, it depends what other dishes you have! I like to serve a mix of hot and cold tapas for a balance.
We finished the night with some after eight chocolates and a brilliant game. Place an after eight on your forehead and then without using your hands try to get it into your mouth. You have to wait for it to melt abit then it will start sliding down and once near your mouth you can use your tongue to guide it. Literally The. Best. Photos. Ever!!