Let Me Entertain You

We all know it’s fun inviting people, designing and sending out invites.  You look forward to the event, think about what kind of food you can delight 22 people with.  But it doesn’t get real until the day (before…) when you start preparing the food.

Last night I had the party due to which I wasn’t able to blog much the last week.  Fun.  But stress, too.  Last year’s party preparations were a bit of a wonder to me, because instead of feeling stressed, I was extremely relaxed and had lots of couch and coffee time in between preparations.  So I assumed it would be the same this year.  Seems like I just had a good day last year.  If it hadn’t been for my little sister who was visiting and volunteered to clean the whole apartment – windows, bathroom tiles from floor to ceiling! – and running errands, I know I would have felt like cancelling the whole thing.  I guess I just didn’t have a good day.  However, with the first ring of the doorbell, we were all set, and it went really well.

I had all my tasks written up on my little chalk board spice cabinets, and all my recipes stuck to the kitchen tiles to keep myself organized and to have an overview.  You can see the before and after kitchen setup above.  On to the food…

I made the Zucchini Soup I wrote about the other week.  And I had what turned out to be a great idea – pat-myself-on-shoulder – that I also used for the dessert:  serve it in takeaway plastic containers with lids.  Because the soup contains cream and is thus quite rich, all you really need is about 3 ladles full of the stuff.  And as it’s great and refreshing eaten cold, I put on lids and stacked them on the buffet.

For dessert I made Tiramisu, a recipe I found online in the early days of the internet, so I’m sorry to say I can’t quote the source.  The recipe’s actually in Italian, and I’ve made it so often over the years, I could probably do it in my sleep.  I’ll post the recipe in a separate post in the coming weeks. I didn’t have a dish that was large enough to make Tiramisu for 22 people,  and if I had, it wouldn’t have fit in the fridge anyway.  So I prepared it in takeaway containers as well, rectangle ones because of the shape of the ladyfingers.  Also, as this is really rich, I thought it was a good idea to serve it portioned.  And with the lids on, these were so easy to store in the fridge.  And even better – people could take leftover containers of Tiramisu home without me having to find adequate containers for everyone.

The bakery I ordered the bread from to go with the salads and cheese board screwed up on the actual day, so no bread!  Luckily I’d made cheddar muffins, adapted from a recipe for Double Gloucester and Farmhouse Cheddar Muffins.  Not easy to get those two cheeses where I live, so I used a mix of Irish and English Cheddar, as well as some Gouda.  I didn’t even try one but was told they were very filling.

The salads I made were a simple Greek Salad, a Balsamic-roasted Beetroot, Lemon, Thyme & Chilli Couscous Salad from Delicious magazine, and a Watermelon & Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette.  Then I made Nigella Lawson’s Courgette Fritters, and Chicken Satay with Peanut Butter Sauce – again, a recipe I can’t quote a source for as I scribbled it down on a piece of paper ages ago –  and Bite-size Tomato & Mozzarella Tarts.  And to go with our coffee, I made two trays of these lovely Cinnamon Rolls.

The guests were great and – hopefully – all had a good time.  I was actually presented with lots and lots of gifts – you would have thought it was my birthday.  The guys from work – the ones who get to eat the results of my baking adventures – wrote me a poem about my baking and that they hoped it would continue, and to ensure that, I got a voucher for a workshop to make your own chocolates!  My sister asked me jokingly whether that really was a gift for me or for them :-).  I’ll be looking forward to that workshop and will gladly share the results with my colleagues.  And you, of course…