Welcome To My Dinner Table – Part 16

The Occasion

Last Saturday I finally  had my friends – whom I call the usual suspects – over for another Italian dinner. The first one was in June last year, and the occasion was that I’d received a food basket with Italian goodies for my birthday from said friends. This year they gave me a new pasta maker which I used as an opportunity to invite them for another Italian dinner.

I had Friday off, so was able to do some stress free food shopping at both my favourite supermarket and our Friday market. I had so many ideas of what to make, and in the end there were way too many things on my “to cook” list. Not only would it have been too much work for one person but also an unreasonable amount of food that no one would have been able to eat.

If you’ve visited some of my previous dinner table posts, you might notice I finally have a picture on my green wall, courtesy of a friend’s mother who was a friend of the artist, and also courtesy of my sister who stopped by on Friday to hang it – which took even the DIY queen a lot of effort due to a stubborn wall.

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The Menu

I’d never had the somewhat famous Bellini cocktail before, so I looked it up, found the recipe on the website of Harry’s Bar, the original creators of the drink in Venice, and proceeded from there. I have to say, though, that the freezing part was a bit iffy because of course the frozen peach bits did not melt quickly enough once the prosecco was poured over them. It still tasted good, though.

Mixed Beet & Ricotta Ravioli
Naturally, I had to make homemade pasta with the new machine. I decided on ravioli, and for the filling I used my new favourite veg – mixed beets. These I finely diced, pan-roasted with sugar and mixed with ricotta, cooked and then pan-fried them with a little (okay – a lot of!) butter and sliced chillies (that had no heat at all).

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Bistecca Fiorentina on Oven Roasted Tomatoes & Burrata with Homemade Gnocchi
A friend had recently told me about bistecca fiorentina, which is either a T-Bone or a Porterhouse steak cooked on the grill, without any seasoning. I decided to make that using my oven grill, and in the end I used German beef tenderloin instead. With the assistance of my friend’s husband – the Grill Sergeant – the meat turned out melt-in-your-mouth tender.

To go with the meat I made sugar & thyme roasted cocktail tomatoes like I did here, only on a much bigger scale using a large, deep oven tray. Once that was out of the oven I distributed several pulled-apart burratas on top and served it with homemade gnocchi.

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Passion Fruit Ice Cream & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta
I wanted to have a dessert that consisted of two parts, both quite small. One of my favourite desserts is panna cotta, so I made a passion fruit version and the mini ice lollies I posted last weekend.

Everything tasted divine, if I may say so myself 🙂 .

I totally forgot to take pictures of the cooked dishes – again! Apologies for that.

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The Table

Quite sparse again, mainly because I had put more thought into the food than the table… As guest favours, I’d bought jars of different bruschetta pastes from a friend’s Italian shop.

The flowers were from the Friday market, and I loved those fringed gerbera at first sight. The flower woman insisted that they didn’t need florist’s wire to keep them upright and that they would keep for well over a week. Sadly that wasn’t the case at all as the first ones began hanging their heads Saturday night. Still, they were an eye catcher.

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The Evening
Fabulous – what else!? With a playlist of Swing & Jazz (originally inspired by Dean Martin’s That’s Amore), great company and good food and drinks – what more can you want?

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