For a few weeks now I was thinking about a way to present my cooking and my dishes to friends who don’t have as many chances to taste the different combinations of flavours I come up with. Then an idea popped up that I could make Secret dinner parties once or a few times a month where I would prepare new recipes, or improved versions of my favourite recipes and invite special guests among my friends who would taste them for the first time. The idea behind the name Secret Dinner Party is one where the invite comes just a day before the actually party and the menu is a secret, usually consisting of three or four courses.
The first party happened last Friday and let me share all about it!
The menu itself was prepared a week in advance, and most of it were dishes I had the chance to prepare for the first time. My guests were two of my dear friends who were notified of the party a week earlier, and got their invitation on Thursday, one day before the dinner. “Dress smart and come hungry” – that’s all I had to say!
I had all Friday to prepare everything so when they came I could do the finishing touches, cook the dishes that were supposed to be warm when served. The theme of the party was a Vegetarian Adventure, I’m not a vegetarian, but one of my guests is and it’s always fun to prepare vegetarian food since some of the people around me who are not, are very sceptical to vegetarian dishes. So when preparing such dishes I always try to prove to people that they can be delicious, and you can get full after not eating meat.
As the theme would suggest the dinner was consisting of four different yet very delicious vegetarian dishes showcasing delicious ingredients from the local market. The dinner started with Batata chips and spicy cream cheese, horseradish and Tabasco dip. I’ve prepared sweet potatoes before but never made them as chips, which turned out to be more delicious than I’d anticipated.
The second dish was Mushroom risotto. I have many versions of this recipe, so it’s practically my signature dish. This time I used champignons and oyster mushrooms to prepare Risotto with addition of celery and white wine my parents brought me from their friends on the island of Hvar, Croatia.
As I’m a big fan of salads, and love serving them with most of my dishes I couldn’t resist not to serve it. This time I decided on Chinese cabbage with Aceto balsamico Rosso and it did just what I wanted it to.. it brought a fresh note to the meal and complimented the mushroom risotto.
My personal favourite of the evening were these delicious Vegetable pastry puffs. Essentially these were puff pastry cups filled with a range of vegetables in a spicy sauce topped with cheese and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
For a perfect end of the dinner there had to be a delicious dessert, and there was!
This Almond tart left us all speechless at the table, it was a perfect combination of sweet and light after all of the dishes before. The crust was topped with forest fruit jam and cranberries, ground almonds and hazelnuts in rum and lime juice, these cranberries were topped with almond filling and the whole tart baked to a perfect crisp.
The Secret Dinner Party was a hit and there will be more! Actually at the moment of writing this post, I’m thinking of what to cook next, checking out new recipes and can’t wait to prepare some food for my guests, so be at high alert cause you might be next to get an invite!
Recipes for all of these dishes will soon be posted on my blog so stay tuned!
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