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Posts Tagged ‘dinner party’

Dinner Party Menu: India

The other day my new friend Trang nominated me for the Liebster award. Thank you Trang.

liebster-award-21

You must be getting a sense that we love themed dinner parties. I love everything about it, researching the food, experimenting, cooking and decorating. We had the “King and Queen” 😉 of themed dinner parties over for dinner recently (remember Titanic Anniversary Dinner and Truman Capotes Black and White?) and as one of only two couples from our group who love Indian food as much as we do, we decided to have Indian night. All the food is home-made, of course, but don’t worry, I didn’t spend all day in the kitchen; what’s great about Indian food is that it’s down-to-earth home-cooking at its best and stews are often better tasting the second day, so I was able to prepare much of the feast in advance. This post will show the menu and the photos but the recipes will come one by one, so that I can find them in the future.

This was staged, we actually had A LOT more food than that!

Hors D’œuvres:

  • Baked Onion Bhajis — I’m excited about this recipe because I did a little experiment and figured out a way to bake them instead of deep frying them and they worked out GREAT!
  • Appetizer: Mulligatawny Soup — I prepared this soup similarly to the link to my original recipe, except that I omitted the proteins as the rest of the meal is rather heavy and I didn’t want to be full after the first course! I also puréed about 1/4 of the soup so that the broth is thicker and creamier, but left the majority as chunks.

Mains:

  • Paneer Makhani — this is a rich and delicious tomato gravy with home made unripened, pressed cheese. I used this Makhani recipe but I had to add about 2 tbsp Agave Nectar as the tomatoes were extremely acidic. I suspect that this acidity would be reduced if I had used full cream and butter of the original recipe, but then that wouldn’t be me, would it now?
  • Beef Bhuna — a tasty beef stew with a deliciously flavourful gravy
  • Basmiti Rice
  • Aloo Papri Chaat — a very flavourful and texture filled cold side dish with a yogurt sauce and chick peas

Condiments:

  • Carrot Pickle — a lightly spicy, crunchy pickle to cleans the palate
  • Mango Chutney — I wanted a mango chutney that wasn’t full of sugar

Bread

  • Naan — a delicious chewy Indian bread, baked on the outside of their tandoori ovens, stay tune for my experiment!

Dessert:

  • Light Lemon Mousse — this is where I skipped Indian and went straight to light and satisfying. I checked with our guests and similar to our tastes they find Indian desserts a little too sweet so I improvised. Plus I wanted to use the gorgeous little cups we bought our yogurt in while in Paris.

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Continuing on with my short series of First Class Titanic dishes for my good friend Angela’s party, I am tackling a simple dessert of Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly. Now to my modern sensibility I read this dessert title and thought, “What the heck? Jello for dessert in First Class?” Let’s rewind to the early 1900’s to clarify: this was well before the advent of instant gelatin, making gelatin based desserts was labour intensive and time-consuming (let’s just say that there are tendons, ligaments and connective tissues involved, click here if you must know). Serving a gelatin based dessert to your guests meant that the meal was a truly special one.

What doesn't go well with whipped cream?

The description on this recipe says at it combines the sweetness of peaches poached in sugar syrup with the potent herbal essences of Chartreuse Liqueur. Chartreuse is a digestive, sweet with strong herbal flavours (I taste grass), not one of my favourites, I must say, but it did pair nicely with the peaches. Note that the peaches in Toronto are by no way in season at this time; I found it nearly impossible to peel the skin off as per the recipe, I have my fingers crossed that they will behave for the special evening! For the test, I made 1/4 of this recipe which worked out well for two of us. We were both impressed at how tasty it actually was, even though it’s green!

Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly

Makes 6 servings

Recipe developed by Mrs. Beeton (the mother of British cuisine)

Ingredients for the Chartreuse Jelly:

  • 5 tsp powdered flavourless gelatin
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Chartreuse

Directions for the Chartreuse Jelly:

  1. Dissolve the gelatin in 1 cup of water.
  2. In a small pot, bring the remaining cup to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until it is entirely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Add the Chartreuse and the gelatin and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish lined with waxed paper; refrigerate until completely set.

Ingredients for the Peaches:

  • 3 large clingstone peaches
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Fresh lemon balm leaves or edible flowers (I will do this for the real dessert, I just didn’t want to buy a box of flowers for just the two testers!)

Tender poached peaches and green jelly. Can you say YUM?

 

Directions for the Peaches:

  1. Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Immerse the peaches in a large pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds; then transfer them to ice water. Slip off the skins.
  2. In a large pot, combine the water and sugar; cook over medium heat stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or until syrup is clear.
  3. Add lemon juice, cinnamon stick and cloves.
  4. Add the prepared peaches making sure they are entirely immersed; cut a piece of parchment slightly smaller than the pot and place over the top of the peaches to make sure the remain submerged.
  5. Bring the syrup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low and poach the peaches gently for 6 minutes or until soft (they should be easy to cut into with a spoon). Allow the peaches to cool in the syrup. This may be stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The syrup that the peaches were poached in are not required for the recipe, but you may reserve it for something else!
  6. To serve, turn out the jelly onto a cutting board and cut half into even little squares; the remaining half should be cut into decorative shapes using a cookie cutter.
  7. The instructions indicate that you are to plate the cut squares onto the centre of a flat plate, arranging the jelly shapes around the edges, but I have special permission to plate in the way I photographed. I think it is a more sophisticated look.
  8. Slice peaches from one end to almost the other, and fan it out onto a bed of jelly. Garnish with edible flowers or lemon balm leaves.

Even though the recipe was not as labour intensive as it would have been in 1914, it will still impress your discerning guests; but then again, after 10 course dinner…there is always room for Jell-O!

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