I was thinking about this post quite a bit these last few weeks. I was due to host a dinner this past Saturday that was a sit-down (as in I couldn't just serve drinks and throw out sandwich fixings) and included an important group of my husband's colleagues. I wanted the dinner to be special, yet easy, and I wanted to be stress-free so that I could chat and mingle and not appear (or BE) the least bit frazzled.
Once one has cried in the kitchen before a dinner party it changes the entire game: a crisis of confidence ensues, the fear of it happening again demands organization and simplicity.
I was quite happy with this dinner in the end so I thought I'd share the menu and the steps involved. As you can see from my scrawled note above I planned each course in advance. I served the dinner on platters and in bowls, more and more I enjoy entertaining this way, it is referred to as "family style" and I do believe it creates an atmosphere of comfort and conviviality not to be found in a "plated" dinner.
My good friend Pat was one of the guests as her dear husband is MrBP's business partner, bless her she brought the dessert, a delicious home baked apple tart. It went perfectly with the menu.
|The scrubbed squash and the fresh herbs: thyme and rosemary.|
I scrubbed up some organic red potatoes, also local.
After setting aside my large jar of lemon vinaigrette I set to chopping the fennel and tossing it with the arugula. Placed in a serving bowl it was ready to go.
|Set all of the bowls and platters on the counter well ahead of time.|
This evidence of your organization will be very comforting to you.
|I always bake more chicken than I will need.|
Leftovers never hurt!
The mango chutney is always popular and elevates the chicken to something a bit special, but really it's easy-peasy, it's from a jar!
|Set your jar of mango chutney next to the serving vessel.|
E.Dehillerin in Paris, it's one of my favourites.
|French brandy, linen from Provence, a Paris serving dish... it's a theme.|
|The fennel and arugula salad.|
|The mixed green salad with fresh dill.|
I should note that though the menu was gluten free I was in fact the only person present with that particular dietary restriction... I served warm bread and of course there was Pat's dessert with the shortbread crust. These days with so many people going gluten free it's nice to have a menu that can accommodate various special diets.
Do you think you might give this simple menu a try? Have a great day Dollfaces!