I love hosting dinner parties… I have no idea why, but the planning, cooking, table setting, glass cleaning gets me all excited and happy (little rays of sunshine leap off my chubby cheeks as I go about all these tasks).
I have 4 different dinner services – 8 pink and white; 6 green; 6 blue/yellow/green flowers and 12white. This includes side plates and dessert bowls (and in some cases – mugs). I also now own 13 rectangular white plates thanks to S*d the S*d (add your own vowels and the number should have been a dead give away on how it would last) and on a recent mission into town came across a fabulous home store and picked up 8 small and 8 medium white square plates (approx amuse bouche and starter sized).
So I have the tools to ensure that the food that I can create for the masses can be enjoyed off porcelain rather than paper plates… along with the 4 sets of cutlery that I own 🙂
But sometimes you need finger food… something to amuse the taste buds while I finish up the rest of the meal (known as Amuse Bouche by the French… they are single, bite-sized morsels which are different from appetizers as they can not be ordered off a menu, but are the chef’s selection! So I am loving this word – plus it translates to mouth amuser… ah, ok :)).
Another Gordon Ramsay recipe off the BBC Good Food Website – and this is his take on Italian antipasti… a way to *tantalize your palate without cooking*…love it! And this makes me think of sushi rolls – but without the rice 🙂
Cream cheese stuffed courgette rolls
4 small courgettes (ends trimmed)
3-4Tablespoons olive oil (plus extra to drizzle)
3-4Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
200g Cream Cheese (he uses ricotta – but I am a big fan of the Philly cheese)
Squeeze of lemon juice
handful fresh basil leaves
50g pine nuts, toasted
- Slice courgettes lengthways using vegetable peeler
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic over 2 large plates and lay strips flat, trying not to overlap
- sprinkle with more oil and balsamic, cover and leave to marinate in fridge for 20min
- Mix Cream cheese and lemon juice, and season
- Mix in Basil and pine nuts
- Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese mix into one end of courgette and roll up
- Arrange rolls upright on a plate and grind over some black pepper (drizzle with more oil and balsamic vinegar)
(To toast the pinenuts – tip into a hot frying pan – no oil needed, for 2-3minutes, shaking pan often until kernels are golden all over. tip onto a plate and leave to cool)
This recipe was featured in the Good Food magazine – August 2006 issue