When my dad had his stroke one of the things I decided to do was to enjoy and embrace life a bit more. One way, I thought, of doing that is staying connected with friends and family and one way of doing that is by having them around for dinner.
So, in the last three weeks I’ve had three dinner parties. Normally dinner parties stress me out, but now I know I can do three in a four week period, my confidence has increased dramatically.
Two of these dinner parties were held during the last week. Therefore I’ve done heaps of cooking in the last week and when I have the time it is something I really enjoy.
It is somewhat stressful inviting people around for dinner. I’m the only host so I have to do everything from making the house presentable, to the cooking and then to be a vivacious hostess on the evening. I had too many people at the first one so I didn’t know who to talk to. I think I sat there for most of it just sighing, and dithering about what to do next. The food was damn good though.
The last two I had I was a bit more comfortable, probably because I’m more familiar with the guests that came.
Let me fill you in on what I fed my guests with for the last two dinner parties. I’m particularly pleased with myself because I even did dessert on both occasions. This usually falls through the cracks and the small dinner party circuit I move around in, it isn’t expected.
The first dinner party last Wednesday I made moussaka for mains accompanied by a green salad. For dessert I made a pavlova. Both these dishes can be prepared in advance so as much socialising as possible can be done at the actual dinner party.
On Saturday night I made a tuna-cottage cheese dip for a pre-dinner snack as my guests arrived late afternoon. For dinner I cooked an asparagus/bacon/mushroom risotto and for dessert we had lovely baked quinces.
I found a recipe online that said to bake the quinces slowly for 6-8 hours. As I put it in the oven at 3pm I realised we would not be waiting until 9pm until we ate it so after a while I cranked up the heat. I can’t believe I’ve never eaten these before. With icecream or cream they were just so delicious and I can’t wait to cook them again. Next time I’ll adapt the recipe to use less sugar, and to use a shorter cooking time with a higher oven temperature.
I’m going to take a short rest from hosting dinner parties but it is fun because I can indulge in what I like without having to drive home. And the other great thing is that JJ can be put to bed whenever, and I don’t have to move him.