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Monday, December 1, 2014

A Taste Of Italy: Dinner Party Menu + Tablescape

As you may have seen with all my foodie snaps on Instagram and Facebook I hosted a My Kitchen Rules dinner party a few weeks ago for friends and family.

I am in my element party planning, working out the menu and coming up with a theme for the night, it makes it much easier to choose dishes and decorate the table when you have a theme.
This is our Taste Of Italy dinner party with a 5 course menu, some recipes, and the tablescape ....

Aperitivo - Champage Lemonchello cocktails
We always serve a welcome drink on arrival it's a sure fire way to get the party started!

This is a simple and refreshing cocktail made with some lemon rind in the base of the glass and a squeeze of lemon juice, add a nip of chilled lemonchello and top with Prosecco sparkling wine.
Primo - Slow cooked artichokes stuffed with a garlic anchovy crumb
For a rather intimidating vegetable this was easy to prepare and looked pretty impressive on the table. I just put them in the slow cooker with a lovely stock to cook themselves and then stuffed them ready to be heated in the oven once we were ready to eat. You can find my recipe here.

Artichokes are only in season for a few weeks so whilst there were plenty around when I did my practice cook a few weeks beforehand, the day of the party I was driving around like a crazy woman stopping at every veggie shop I could find and asking them to check their back rooms because I desperately needed artichokes! Lucky for me my local veggie shop which was closed on my first visit, the second time round had some tucked away in the back fridge! Crisis averted!!

Contorno - Green pea soup shooters with mint pistou
I've made this simple and tasty pea soup many times it's such an easy dish to make a few days ahead of time and then reheat and serve. It's an Australian Women's Weekly recipe and I use mint peas for extra flavour.

The mint pistou you add on the top adds a real zing to the soup and made for a nice and refreshing palette cleanser between dishes.
Secondo - Home smoked salmon in a cream sauce with fresh fettuccine
We home smoked fresh salmon fillets while our guests where there to get their mouths watering with the delicious smoky smells, then made the creamy sauce, cooked the pasta, tossed it together and served topped with some large Australian tiger prawns for a bit of wow factor. You can find my recipe here.

This is a rich dish so a small serve was all that was needed it was so delicious.
Formaggio E Frutta - Home smoked brie cheese with home made bread croutons
I stuffed mini brie cheese with rosemary and garlic and cold smoked with apple flavour on a very low heat for a few hours until they were lightly smoked and the cheese was melted and then cut them in half and served them on individual cheese plates. You can find my baked brie recipe here.

I baked some rosemary and oil bread for the croutons - I cut it into little squares, threaded them onto rosemary sticks, drizzled with oil and baked in the oven until golden.

 Dolce - Tiramisu
This was my first attempt at making Tiramisu and I used a friend's recipe after trying it at her MKR dinner party and they were a hit. I don't think you can go wrong with a dessert which has chocolate and alcohol in it, it's a great way to end the night!

The good thing about Tiramisu is you can make it the night before and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. A layer of biscuits soaked in lemonchello and coffee, melted chocolate and kahlua, and topped with boozy cream, just before serving I grated over chocolate and topped with some coffee bean chocolates.
Digestivo - Coffee liquor and Lemonchello
We finished the meal offering either a hot or cold digestive - Little espresso coffee and kahlua shooters for those that wanted a warm drink, or lemonchello which had been kept in the freezer served in cold shot glasses.

Dining was alfresco under the patio on the outdoor table which I set with my bargain set of $4 burlap place mats as inspiration and had a rustic Italian tablescape with lots of candles and vases with fresh lavender.
I also printed up the menus so everyone knew what we were having and placed them on top of each plate, menus add a bit of excitement as everyone is anticipating what is coming next!

It was a real taste of Italy dinner party and as far as the My Kitchen Rules part, I think we did pretty good!

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1 comment:

  1. I really, really wish I lived by you! You host such fabulous parties and all of the food not only looks beautiful, but I am sure is tasty, too! I am so glad you found those artichokes, lol!


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