Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Gabriela's Menu

And for our final feast, our resident American diner Gabriela presents...



Angelica’s Pan Frances (French Toast)

Eggs Al Forno with Crème Fraiche and Herbs

Polvorones (Mexican Pecan Cookies), Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Neal’s Yard Cheeses with Spanish Quince and Celery

...and she promises plenty of booze to wash it all down with! Report to follow imminently!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Nadia's Dinner

Here' s the full report of dinner number 4...

Welcome to Nadia's! Our penultimate Fun Dine With Me meal. On arrival, our guests were treated to a luxurious cocktail of Tattinger Champagne, Creme de Cassis and fresh blueberries. A sumptuous take on Kir Royale and a tray of cherry tomato, basil and mozzarella nibbles. After welcoming everyone, our hostess popped back into the kitchen to finish prepping...

...an ocean-full of mussels for the main course! Sourced from Stoke Newington's The Fishery, renowned for freshness and value. Bearding all those mussels gave our group time to snoop around Nadia's flat...

One room in the house had been on the BBC show Changing Rooms! Quite a talking point! Here our guests marvel at the wonkiness of outdated frosted glass designs and shoddy paint job. Then Leonie went to investigate Nadia's bookshelf...
...She has quite a collection of celeb biographies and I think the Alex James one was autographed! Amazing!

Anyway, on to the starter...

English asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto and topped with a poached egg. Parmesan shavings replaced the Prosciutto for our veggie types.

Guests tucked in and moved from cocktails onto the wine. Next, Nadia was back in the kitchen steaming all those mussels...

Three saucepans were filled with red onion, garlic, butter and white wine and the mussels were added to steam. Nadia put the chips in the oven to accompany but realised she'd forgotten the bread, oops!

With cream and coriander added at the last minute our main course was served. Informal eating with your fingers was the order of the day. Rhydian was especially skilled at deftly removing the meat using half of the shell, most civilised! Nadia removed piles and piles of empties and cleared the way for dessert...

Which had altered from the original menu slightly and become Individual Banana Mousse, topped with grated chocolate. But perhaps the most eagerly awaited course was the CHEESEBOARD!

Which was demolished pretty swiftly along with red wine, crackers and matzo biscuits; a nice touch as Gabriela was celebrating passover. After dinner and the all important voting in secret guests stayed and danced around Nadia's living room for hours. Most raging after-dinner so far in the competition!

Next up, our final diner to host, Gabriela. Her menu will be revealed any moment now and we shall all find out the scores and who our winner is!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Nadia's Menu

Next up to host is Nadia, she now reveals what our diners are in for...

Spring medley asparagus (English) with poached egg (and prosciutto ham)


Wild Mussels marinas with bread or fries


Caramelised banana split.

Cheese selection

And what are their first reactions? Here's what Gabriela had to say...

Menu looks interesting indeed. And, I'm impressed that she's going to attempt 5 poached eggs. I wonder if she's using a poacher? If not, very impressive. I'll have to get tips.

Is there any way to check where these 'Mussels' are from? (I hope she didnt fish them out of the canal.)

Worry not Gabriela, Nadia went to great lengths to find the freshest WILD mussels in London and didn't just nab some out of Clapton pond.

And Philippa... Looks ambitious but a very impressive sounding menu. And bonus points may be in order for the cheese board!

First reaction from Leonie...
So... despite being a lifelong vegetarian, once in a blue moon I will have a seafood craving and chow down on some mussels (they're the only fishy thing I can hack, because they don't have eyes.). Nadia has obviously discovered this, and so tonight will be a blue moon night. They better taste good though - I don't want those little critters to have sacrificed themselves in vain.

I'm not a massive asparagus fan, but I do love a good poached egg - will there be a ham substitute for me and Gab? We shall see....

Caramelised banana split sounds ammmazing. And hell, you know what I'm like around a cheese board. Can't wait!

The full report will follow shortly along with a selection of Nadia's recipes. Is she on to a winner?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Leonie's recipes...

Our third dinner was deemed a success by all, although the scores have still not been revealed!

Now you can have a go at home by trying Leonie's recipes; that unusual salad, novelty fondue and classic crumble. So get cooking...

Strawberry, Watercress and Goats Cheese Salad
Place a small nest of watercress in the middle of a plate, cut
strawberries in half and place around the edge of the greenery (but
hey, go crazy on this bit, make up yer own pattern!). Crumble goats
cheese in the middle and then splash with balsamic vinegar. Easy! But
oh so good.

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with a cut clove of garlic, then heat
up half a pint of white wine and a splash of kirsh. Dump in a block of
emmental and one of gruyere - you need much cheese more than you think
you do! Keep stiring as the cheese melts and add a squeeze of lemon
juice and a table spoon of cornflour to help thicken it. Dip in cubed
bread pieces and lightly steamed veg.

Place chopped rhubarb, apples (skinned and cored) and blackberries
into a large pudding dish. Cover with water and add a healthy wack of
sugar and place in a warmish oven for about an hour, until youve got a
mushy, syrupy fruit soup. Then cover with crumble, which is made by
rubbing 3 parts flour to 2 parts sugar and 2 parts butter between your
fingers until, well, until it looks like crumble. Then bake in the
oven until the tops brown and the bottom's bubbling. You can put fresh
ginger in the fruit mush too .

Thanks Leonie!