Preparing a dinner party

At least once a year, sometimes even twice I throw a big dinner party. Our dining table fits 12, so we invite 10. People do not have to know each other in advance, they will get acquainted during the evening. Some know each other for years now, only because of these events we keep on repeating.

For weeks now  I am ‘composing’ my menu for the next dinner party, next Saturday. First I make a draft. I Always start with the main course, for me the most difficult part. Once decided I add the first, second course and desert. This year, well prepared, I tested the main course, a beef stew, on my family. They loved it, but found it too simple for a dinner party…Very honest, critical and for the good, because my guests know what to expect and I have to wow them again this year!

I decided to share my struggle with my butcher. Luckily he could be of help. He’d just tested a smokey rib, which he would like to have in store before Christmas. Sounded great, so I asked him to give me a ‘prototype’ to try at home. I made a cranberry-port sauce to serve with it.  And this time my trusted test-panel-family said -YES-. So on I went selecting the best side dishes. I decided on a puree of celeriac, potatoes and mushrooms, grilled rainbow carrots with Ras-el-Hanout and hazelnuts and a salad of radicchio, mango, basil, mozarella di buffalo, with a lemon vinaigrette.

Because of of the colors of the main course I decided to stay in these red/ pink/ purple palette for the entree: beetroot blini’s with cured salmon, pink cream and beetroot marshmellows. I already made a broth for the second course which will be decorated with purple broccoli, corn, spring onions and shitake. I really love to cook, but I also like to decorate. And I take the art of plating super serious. Everything has too look perfect. Also the desert, a matcha trio of ice cream, madeleines and chocolate.

In my freezer ready for mice-en-place are the broth, cranberry sauce, matcha ice cream, madeleines and beetroot marshmellows. Friday and Saturday I have to prepare the rest. I’m already excited, can’t wait to make it all work and plate some still live.


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