When Lurpak challenged me to use their Cook’s Range products to create my dream dinner party I was gripped not with excitement but with… fear. While I absolutely love cooking and sharing food with others (often against their will – I think the neighbours will start hiding behind sofas if they see me knocking on their door with yet another cake) I am not a easygoing hostess. Far from it.
I had to recalibrate my brain in order to embrace this challenge. Dinners shouldn’t be about matching porcelain and complicated chichi food. For one thing I have no matching plates. Or glasses. Entertaining should be about sharing good food in good company and about everyone (including the designated cook) having a good time. But even so a little planning goes a long way – these are the tips that kept me sane through this ordeal.
- Keep it simple, keep it casual. Repeat this mantra over and over again (hey, it worked for me).
- Prepare ahead. Choose some dishes or canapés that can be made at least a day in advance.
- Work backwards – prepare dessert first! All will be well if you have a beautiful dessert waiting.
- Have an easy cocktail mixer ready and plenty of chilled wine/beer/ soft drinks on standby.
- Create a playlist to set the mood.
- Fresh flowers, candles or fairy lights can transform your table. If you are crafty there’s a million things you can do with place settings and party favours (I will admit that in my heart I want to be a DIY craft genius but reality has other ideas).
- Relax and enjoy.
I loved playing around with the Lurpak Cook’s Range products trying to decide what to serve. Although I will admit the products look a tad too slick and high-end in my messy tiny kitchen they are actually a joy to use and remarkably versatile. The Cooking Mist has already become my go-to everyday product for greasing cake tins, proving dough, cooking scrambled eggs and omelettes and making a mean roast chicken (spray on before roasting).
And speaking of roasts, the Cooking Liquid makes the most amazing roast potatoes. I made a small batch as my kids don’t normally eat them and then was left red-faced when they devoured entire tray leaving none for the grown ups. I have also used it for frying tempura vegetables and chicken escalopes – yum!
But my favourite has to be the Clarified Butter. That stuff is honestly highly addictive. I love the the texture, the smell and the fact that you can use it to fry fish and meat fearlessly without the danger of it burning. The pan juices can then be used as a delicious sauce – especially if you add some chopped herbs. I also loved using it in baking bread and enriched doughs – have a feeling you will be seeing it a lot in future recipes!
And what did I end up serving? We feasted on herby potato tear and share bread with dips and crudités followed by scallops on the half shell with chilli clarified butter. Main was a classic: Steak Frites with Béarnaise sauce and steamed vegetables. And finally a glorious Nutella Salted Caramel Cheesecake for dessert.
I will share the recipes for all these dishes on the blog in the coming weeks starting with the incredible tear and share bread. It is truly awesome – and I know I am biased so please make it and report back!
This post was sponsored by Lurpak as part of Lurpak #FoodAdventures.