Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gastronomy Gal: Girl's Dinner

At a birthday dinner in May, some of my friends and I, after a couple of glasses of wine, decided we were going to have a monthly Girl's dinner, hosted at one of our houses. It's similar in some ways, to Gastronaut's Supper Club, but that's all about meeting new people, whereas Girl's Dinner is old friends who bring new friends because we don't see each other nearly often enough.

So the deal is- each month, one of the four of us hosts a dinner, and we can bring a +1 - 'someone new' to the group. A theme is set and everyone is allocated a course to bring. The idea with bringing someone new is because it lets us have the chance to meet significant other friends in our friend's lives. We all went to boarding school/college together, so have gone from the full on living together and knowing every single thing about each  other, to being so busy in our daily lives, we see each  other rarely.

This month's theme was Italian. Jemima was on entree, Kristina on Main, I was on Dessert and Lauren was on Wine. I cooked my dessert earlier in the day as I knew kitchen space would be at a minimum once I got there, and went over a little bit early to set up.

The table was set beautifully, and I'm sorry I didn't get a better shot.

Jemima sourced inspiration for her entree from Jamie. Jemimes doesn't cook very often but did a super job! Bruschetta done three ways; tomato and basil, eggplant, theme and parsley, and mushroom and chilli and all were really lovely.

We were expecting big things from Kristina as she is Italian and has been making gnocci since she was a little tot. She didn't disappoint and although we did have a little malfunction with the gnocci becoming a bit sticky due to the temperature in the kitchen, after a bit of re-rolling all was set. In true Italian style, Kristina prepared enough gnocci to feed about 15 people so she is going to be eating left overs for about a week. I should tell have taken some with me. You'll be pleased to know that Kristina is going to do a 'global gastronomy gal' segment for me very soon in which I'm hoping she will give us the secret recipe for her gnocci as the pillows were light and fluffy and just generally awesome.

Of course, to go with the gnocci, classic bolognese was a perfect match. When I arrived at the house, I was excited to see that the pot had been bubbling away for hours and the smell had permeated into the hallway.
Check out the splatters on the wall. So much love!!!

Having eaten a massive serve of the gnocci and drinking some wine, and a few sneaky G and T's I was almost too full to eat dessert.

Dessert. Bloody dessert. You all know that baking isn't my strong point but basically I stuffed it. Went for a ricotta cheesecake, like Papa Pasticceria's famous Ricotta cheesecake. It's possibly the most delicious cheesecake in the whole world and mine sucked. If it was even half as good as Papa's I would have been happy but seriously, I'm so mad about it I didn't even put a photo in. The pastry was fine, quite good even, but the filling was too grainy despite the ridiculous amount of time I spent beating it. The flavour just wasn't enough. It was boring borderlining bad. Everyone else was polite about the situation, but really, it just wasn't good enough. This is the first time that not testing a dish has really come back to bite me, and I have learnt my lesson.

Worst thing was, I wasn't at my own house, so I couldn't quickly whip up a substitute or add mountains of cream and berries or something to make it more palatable.

So, to my friends, I apologise. I'm sorry I failed you. My dish sucked. I am going to test the next one!!

Aside from that- we had a lovely evening, so nice to catch up with old friends and be introduced to some of their friends. It's a pretty small world, and so it turns out- the three other friends had ridiculous amount of connections with one of Jemima's friends, even though we didn't know her- and she was just visiting from Sydney.

So... tell me readers... anyone else had a dinner party fail? Please say yes.

9 fabulous comments:

obesebaby said...

Loving the idea of brining someone new for dinner each month. Bruschetta done three ways looks absoutely amazing! great work

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Everything looks amazing. Thats a shame about your cheesecake. Im sure it wasnt as bad as you make out - gives you a good reason to make it again though :)

The InTolerant Chef said...

Once I cooked a baked dinner with that little plastic 'pad' stuck under the meat the whole time. We don't get our meat like that in a restaurant! I just hoped it didn't leach out poisonous fumes into the food, and served it up anyway as I didn't have anything else to feed them! PS We all survived :)

Ally said...

That's such a good idea! I love it!

Didn't you make a cheesecake for Thanksgiving? If you did, THAT one was awesome at least.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Oh I've had plenty of dinner party fails! From where I've stuffed tried recipes from not halving them correctly, to trying new things which invariably don't work out =p

Ladybird said...

That is such a nice dinner party idea - a great way to expand your usual circle of friends and to get to know new people.

I've definitely had some dinner party disasters... one dinner party I was so worried about everyone getting enough food I ended up overfeeding the group terribly and we all (myself included) felt very ill the next day... And the dishes didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped either! :( oh well...

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh well! It happens to the best of us :) I think the dinner party idea is a fun one! Reminds me of that movie except of course not sinister at all! :D

Amber said...

What a great idea for a dinner party! As if there is anyone out there who HASN'T experienced some kind of dinner party failure. My crime is that I try to do something far too complex, and spend way too much time in the kitchen. Like you've discovered, it's much better to do something tried and tested! Oh, the beauty of hindsight.

If it's any consolation, I'm sure by the time dessert rolled around, (especially after some g&ts), everybody was 'happy' enough not to mind about dessert ;)

Alibongo said...

great idea!! I once made dessert for a dinner party and then left it in the old fridge which was taken away by the man who delivered our new fridge. a hasty trip to IGA was in order!

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