Dinner Five: Greede Night

(Guest written by Bec and Dan, thanks guys)

Grecian Princess

Super Swede!

The Greede night was fabulous fun.  We walked into everyone looking perfectly Greede, Nikki was looking amazing as ever in her Grecian gown, Freddy was wearing a fantastic bright blue Sweede t-shirt.  He was like a Swedish Super Man, with all his fitness muscles popping out everywhere. Dani and Alex went to town with full head to toe Swedish outfits, they looked absolutely amazing, especially Dani with her cute little Swedish plaits.  We felt a little underdressed in our boring everyday going out clothes. 

Nikki and Freddie Greede Hosts

The night kicked off with some bubbly,  (although not very Greek or Swedish I was more than happy to receive them). 

The entree of prawns was very yummy, it was beautifully cooked and just the right amount of food to start things off for the evening. 

Prawn Entree

After each course we had to drink Swedish shots and sing Swedish drinking song “Helan Gor” along with shots of Aquavit, which goes a little like this:

‘Helan gor sjung hop for a la la la la ley
Helan gor sjung hop for a la la la la ley

Och den som inte helan tar han inte helle halven for

Helan gor sjung hop for a la la la la ley’

(Basically the song is about drinking the whole shot (“helan går”) and that those who don’t drink up, don’t deserve half a shot either (“inte heller halvan får”)).

– fortunately Freddie had translated in phonetically into English (as our Swedish is just a little rusty!)

 Helan Gar

I was pretty crap at this, but the more I drank the better I got (well so I thought). My main of Halloumi and roast vegetable stack was absolutely delicious!!! Of course I am a sucker for cheese, so it is easy to butter me up for points that way (cheeky Nikki). 

Halloumi Cheese

The lamb kleftiko was delicious – more delicious than looks! 

Lamb Kleftiko

The sorbet was a lovely end to the evening and perfectly set, the only problem was we were quite drunk by that point to enjoy it properly.

Sorbet

Mrs J and her sorbet

Nikki did an amazing job as hostess and cook, especially as she hadn’t cooked half the dishes before. Freddy was an excellent host, making sure everyone had done their share of shots. 

Team Swede

Team Greek

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Dinner Four: La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita Menu

Dani and Alex put on a spectacular evening with an authentic Italian feel. 

Dani and Alex La Dolce Vita Hosts

A lot of thought and preparation had gone into creating a realistic Italian menu, even down to a laminated version of the menu being provided for the guests to view what they would be eating.   The old wine glasses and mismatched cutlery added to the authenticity.  Alex gave an excellent demonstration of being a slick and sleazy Italian waiter, leering over the ladies and giving the men the brush off.  There was plenty of light hearted abuse to make you feel like a native.

The antipasto was comprised of an excellent selection of home marinated olives, aubergines, mini salads and meats.  The citrus flavoured olives (apparently an authentic Italian recipe) generated a great culinary discussion and much appreciation.

Antipasto Starter

 The first course of saffron infused risotto was full of colour and taste. 

Saffron Risotto

The second course of home made fish stew was very fishy indeed, but tasted just fine.

Pesce al Forno Verdure Alessandro

The main all plated up

The final course of biscotti’s and cream was absolutely divine.  Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway) the Lavazza coffee was amazing and very Italian!

Panna cotta dessert

Dani pulled out some classic Euro Techno and the night ended with lots of crazy dance moves around the living room and a few obscure yoga moves.  The bottle of limoncello and dancing was a magical combination, although not so much the next day.

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Dinner Three: Evening of Sophistication

Beat and Sheree pulled out all the stops for their dinner party and their effort was most appreciated by their dinner guests.  Keeping in theme with the evening we all dressed black tie styley, the men looked dashing in their tuxedos and of course the women looked breathtaking in fabulous party dresses. 

Ladies in party dressesSophisticated Hosts

We were presented with fancy wine glass token so we always knew which wine glass was ours.  It’s the little things that matter.  With wine glasses sorted, we put them to good use with our wine tasting.  We had to guess the grape variety, the country of origin and match the tasting notes to the wine.  Much harder than it sounds believe me. 

The wine tasting was a smashing success and I (yes, me) was the overall winner (by a long way I recollect) with a sterling score of 16/21.  Just call me Little Miss Sommelier! 

Before dinner we had some time to do a little snooping around their flat, which is always a highlight of CDWM.

Then it was time for the first course, Gnocchi Primavera.  This was a delightful collection of gnocchi, asparagus and prawns with a creamy sauce.  Delicious!

Gnocchi Primavera

Our between course entertainment was a wine quiz, which posed some very interesting questions and which sparked much debate amongst the dinner guests.  Freddie Belly and I got 12 out of 20 and Nikki and Kylie got 14.  Who would have thought that Ancient Roman’s would put marble ash in their wine?

Beat was now plating up and the anticipation was mounting.  The main was filet de boeuf, with savoy cabbage and horseradish mash.  Much care had been taken in the selection of ingredients, with a trip to Ginger Pig in Marylebone for the beef.  The effort was worth it, the beef was superb and just melted in your mouth. 

Main Course

Now Sheree had to show us her efforts for the evening and she didn’t disappoint, with a lovely pear and fennel sorbet.  Sounds weird, tastes fabulous.

Fennel and Pear Sorbet

Sheree’s next effort was the cheese board, which was a very impressive display of an assortment of exotic, weird and wonderful cheeses.  The glamorous Miss Grant and Mr Jourdan joined us for the cheese board too.

Cheeseboard

Miss Grant

Remote Camera Group Shot

After the cheeseboard we polished off the red wine, cracked open the champagne and ended up behaving very unsophisticated.  A very successful evening, chin chin to Beat and Sheree.

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Dinner Two: Mystical Middle Eastern

Well if I’d known how time consuming ‘cooked from scratch’ food was going to be, I would have bought tubs of dips and shop made turkish delight and passed them off as my own. I had a plan, carefully plotted over the course of the week where I’d do one bit of the meal each night. Of course my plan went out the window and it was 8pm on Friday night and I was at the supermarket. Not just your average Tescos though, I was at a fabulous Lebanese supermarket off Edgeware Road. There were quite a few ladies shopping in their burkha’s and I was looking at the Burkha curiously, trying to figure out how they tie them on.  I decided a scarf might suit me better.  I made the Moutabal (Baba Ghanoush), Hummus and Baklawa on Friday night. If you knew how much butter and sugar was in Baklawa it would make you think twice before reaching for another piece (but you’d still reach for it, it’s far too delicious not to).

Saturday morning I was up at the crack of dawn and down to the Notting Hill Farmers Market where I bought organic chicken and veges for my main course of Moroccan Spiced Chicken.  The first cooking chore for the day was my Turkish Delight — what a MISSION!  The stuff was a big gloopy mess and kept sticking to the bottom of the pan.  I realised I’d forgotten the food colouring so went knocking on all my neighbour’s doors, but no one had any so the Turkish Delight wasn’t pink  it was a light caramel colour.

Kylie was my dinner date for the evening and she was an absolute godsend.  She came over and decorated the whole living room, laid the table, lit incense, hung pictures around the house and provided fabulous props and makeup.  We kohled our eyes and arranged our shawls just in time for the first dinner guests, Nikki and Freddie.  Freddie had his shirt unbuttoned and I thought it might be a middle eastern look he was going for, but I didn’t want to say anything in case it wasn’t.  It was, so I was safe.  Nikki had a burkha on and looked hysterical!  Not long after Dani and Alex turned up and we took some photos of the harem. 

Theharem

Theharem2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone took their place at their own table setting and their own middle eastern inspired name.  Here is Freddie’s place setting, it makes me laugh!

Freddie Belly Place Setting

The other names were Dani Fez, Nikki Burkha, Alex Sheesha, Kylie Hubbly and Bronwyn Bubbly.  So fluffy Maroush pita bread, hummus, baba ghanoush (moutabal) and feta, pinenut & parsley dip for the first course.  YUM!

Fetapinenutdip

Hummus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d also arranged one of those weird bowls of vegetables that you get in Lebanese restaurants, when I first saw one I wondered whether you ate them or whether they were just table decoration.

VegeBowl

The dips went down well and there were compliments all round.  The favourite dip seemed to be the feta, pinenut and parsley – it was delicious!

Koi-lee and I abandoned the cooking (really just pouring boiling water over the couscous) and took loads of photos of ourselves; with a head scarf, without a headscarf, with a demure look, with a come hither look, cracking up laughing etc.  Um, time to get back to the cooking! 

 1kyliebron11bronkylie1 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were notes on the Moroccan Spiced Chicken recipe about the spice quantities and there were many conflicting reviews and opinions.  For good reason.  Even with me mixing the spices up, the main just didn’t seem to work.  I served it with cinnamon and sultana couscous. 

People ate it, but I wouldn’t say it was a star attraction and I probably wouldn’t make that recipe again.  

Moroccan Chicken & Couscous

I entertained my dinner guests with a brief belly dance and dance of the one veil.  I only seem to have one move though – we dubbed it the towel move as it looks like I’m drying off after a shower.  What a shame 😉 we don’t appear to have caught that on video, but here’s Freddie busting a few of his own veil dancing moves.

The Turkish Delight and Baklawa was popular and deemed so good there were those who doubted I’d even made it.  Miss Nikki said it was lovely and she grew up on Baklawa, so that is a great compliment which I’ll accept graciously (and tell everyone I know).  Everyone had seconds and thirds so I think this was the favourite course.  I served it with kumquats (very sour), physallis (old fave of mine, also known as cape gooseberry) and a blackberry to garnish.

1dessert

Then time for Port or Franjelico. 

Franjelico or Port

 Freddie was mighty sick of the middle eastern tunes by now so we kicked into cheesy music mode, with some favourites.  No points for guessing who made an appearance – Miss Dolly, come on down!  Here is a rendition from Nikki and I.  We’re considering turning professional.

We fired up the sheesha and it certainly helps to have the right coal!  I lit it from a lighter and it didn’t take long for the coal to ‘take’ and for the smoke to start coming out.  Apple tobacco is lovely!

Here’s a pic of Alex doing his ‘I’m a little teapot’ impression as he smokes the sheesha.

I'm a little teapot

Kylie turned from ‘dinner date’ into ‘dishes princess’ and washed up all the dishes between courses, which was SO appreciated and made my hangover a little more bearable, knowing I had minimal mess to clean up.  Thanks Koi-lee, you’re a star! x

KylieDishesPrincess

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Dinner One: Funky Fusion

So the night had finally arrived, the first in the series of the 2009 Come Dine with Me Competition – Dan the Man and Missy G’s Funky Fusion!

Ange (my fabulous +1) and I were met at the door by Dan and went upstairs to see the glamorous Missy G, resplendent in a funky ass jumpsuit and disco style cheek decorations.  Not to be outdone, Ange and I quickly applied our own facial decorations and sipped our ‘welcome surprise’ drink of Verve Champagne with raspberry floaters.  Bec and Dan were both cool, calm and collected.  Everything was organised and there were no last minute stresses. 

 

dan-the-man-and-missy-g

 The food looked amazing, the dinner setting looked amazing, the candles lent a warm ambience, and as expected the music was spot on.  We had another glass of champagne while waiting for Beat and Sheree.  They arrived, gratefully accepting their welcome surprise drink and we sat down to dinner. 

welcome-surprise

YUM!  So the starter was sushi, and you had a choice of salmon and cream cheese, feta and red pepper or tomato and basil chicken.  All three were delicious.

 sushi

We had a natural break while Bec prepared the main and went on a tour through the house.  Check it out here.

Our dinner was light and delicious – parmesan encrusted sea bass, pepper and courgette stack and roasted vine tomatoes.  We had the opportunity to make our plate look purty, with an artful drizzle of balsamic glaze.  The whole plate was a gorgeous array of colour, taste and texture.

Dinner is Served!

Dinner is Served!

The next course was Lime and Blueberry Brulee (try saying that after a few drinks!) which proved to be entertainment in itself, as we watched Dan masterfully turn the top of the brulee into crisp toffee.  Give  a man a flamethrower and he’s happy to help in the kitchen!

The creme brulee was better than any I’ve had in a restaurant, just the right side of creamy with plump blueberries at the base and a shaving of lime garnishing the thin crispy toffee.  Heaven in a ramekin.

The final course was cheese, crackers and the very lovely homemade relish.  We got to choose which was our favourite relish and I think we were split down the middle as  a group.  The choice was tomato and apple or courgette and black pepper. 

Bec and Dan were the ultimate hosts.  They go to any lengths to make guests feel welcome, Ange was a bit embarrassed after knocking over a glass of water, so Bec went one better and tipped red wine all over herself!  That is hostessing skills people!  I think it was an excuse for another glamorous outfit change too. 

 Dan cranked it up after dinner, starting off a bit of post dinner dancing with a song guaranteed to get everyone shaking their tailfeathers,  a little bit of 9 – 5 and then some random Fleetwood Mac. 

Sheree pulled out the Aeroplane move as illustrated below

We were given a present (just before scoring took place, these guys are good) so we could take home a little momento from the evening.  Some delicious homemade relish, which was a very nice touch. 

The standard has been set for the rest of the competition and it’s VERY high, so sharpen your hostessing and catering skills the remaining Come Dine with Me contestants if you want to be in the running for the ‘Grand Master’ prize!

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La Dolce Vita with Dani and Alex

Italy is synonymous with excellent coffee, creamy tiramisu, delicious pizza, retro vespas, long lunches, olive oil, a zest for life and all things exciting and foreign… all delivered with a sexy ass accent.  Caio bello, caio bella!  Now all things Italian will be brought together in one night of la dolce vita at Dani and Alex’s. 

Italy

 

Menu: Da Alessandro

Aperetivo:

Prosecco  & Antipasti misti della casa

Primo:

Risotto a la Milanese

Secondo:

Pesce al Forno con Verdure “Alessandro” 

Selectione di vini

 

Dolce:

Digestivo con biscotti

Macedonia di frutto con panna

 

Caffe

 

Buon appetito

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Sheree and Beat’s Night of Sophistication

Sheree and Beat’s dinner will be all about the finer things in life, so you are required to dress to impress, that means black tie or your best crushed velvet suit.

Sophistication Epitomised

Wine tasting competition

You’ll be told what wine to bring from the ‘best value selection’, credit crunch and all 🙂

Entree
Gnocchi Primavera

Main
Fillet de Boeuf with horseradish and winter greens

Interlude
Fennel Sorbet

Dessert
Selection of cheese with nutbread & condiments

All homemade…. some exceptions should time run short, but honesty will prevail on the day

Until then sweetie dahlings!

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