I am not going to lie… cooking for 10 people (that you might not ever have met before) can be a harrowing experience… even more so if you are travelling the day before or on the actual day of a dinner party (or even just holding down a normal 9-5 job!). Meaning that your prep time is limited… or in my case – needs to be more of a “make-ahead” kind of recipe.
All of this could be a nerve-racking experience – but nothing in life is to be taken too seriously…. so I put on my thinking cap (aka “used google search”) and found the below recipe (which I would use as a starter) from the BBC Good Food Website. It ticked the boxes of make ahead (with the polenta/cheese stacks being able to be chilled up to 2days before use) as well as fulfilling the requirement of having a vegetarian option!
This was the starter for my recent Murder Mystery: Champagne Murders that was held through bookalokal.
Polenta & Goats Cheese Stacks
400g creamed spinach (cooked)
1.5l vegetable stock
350g quick-cook polenta
50g butter (plus extra)
85g finely grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
200g goats cheese (round log type)
Bresaola (an air-dried salted beef thinly sliced)
- Prepare/cook your creamed spinach (I used the frozen version that needed to be placed into a pot with a tablespoon of water to melt the cubes)
- Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan
- Stir in the polenta in a fine, steady stream – to avoid lumps forming
- Cook for 5min, stirring all the time, until thick
- Stir in butter, parmesan, spinach, nutmeg & seasoning
- Leave to cool
- Slice each 100g goats cheese log into rounds
- While polenta is soft, spoon into a large baking dish (this can be done the day before)
- Bake at 180C for 20min, then place sliced goats cheese on top & return to the oven for a further 20min
- Place rocket & balsamic reduction onto plates
- Cut & serve
- Top with pomegranate seeds, Bresaola & drizzle with truffle oil (obviously – without the Bresaola for the vegetarian)