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The Mother Of All Dinner Parties


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This weekend has been a milestone; my first official dinner party as hostess. And luckily for me it went extremely well!!
The original plan was for everyone to bring a dish and we would all share, but in the end I said I'd just bang a pasta bake in the oven and everyone else would bring along other complimentary foods to with the pasta.
I wanted a dish that could suit everyone: 5 meat eaters, 1 vegetarian, 1 vegetarian who must have gluten free goods and no dairy. It was a bit of a challenge but 3 separate pasta bakes were made: 1 with wholemeal pasta no cheese, 1 with pasta and cheese, 1 with cheese and bacon.

The table was set, complete with place cards and menu:

Iron Chef David brought along a lovely selection of dips, unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of them for here as I was too busy tinkering away in the kitchen. Made favorite dip would have to be the spicy pumpkin as I had never seen a pumpkin dip before I was intrigued to try it.

Iron Chef Kiran made some Indian vegetarian dumplings served with sweet chilli sauce. I also forgot to take a photo of this as I was busy organising the pasta! Must learn my lesson for next time!!

Iron Chef Alana brought along an adapted version of a Donna Hay Greek Salad and 2 amazing garlic breads:

Iron Chef Rob made some delicious meat balls that he slow cooked overnight. I'm so glad there were leftovers so I could have them again for dinner!

My pasta bake was taken from my favourite source at the moment; the taste website.
As I mentioned earlier I made a few alterations here and there to suit everyone. I left out the celery and added mushrooms instead which helped to enhance the flavour. Had to season the sauce a bit more and added some tomato paste for extra richness.
Rave reviews from everyone, this recipe is a keeper!
Here is the original recipe:

Tomato & Basil Pasta Bake

300g dried wholemeal fusilli pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 leek, pale section only, halved, washed, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 celery stick, ends trimmed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
2 tbs shredded fresh basil
120g (1/2 cup) fresh low-fat ricotta, crumbled
Shredded fresh basil, extra, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain. Return to pan.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

3. Add the tomato and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil. Season with pepper.

4. Add the tomato mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a 1.5L (6-cup) capacity ovenproof dish. Top with ricotta. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Top with extra basil to serve.

Serves 4.


Then of course, what dinner party is complete without dessert?
Iron Chef Tristan brought along some chocolates, lollies and marshmallows.

I made the famous chocolate cheesecake slice from Donna Hay (recipe has already been blogged here). I also attempted an "Apple Crumble Slice" from the taste website. Although rather crumbly it was delicious! I would definitely make that again too!

Had a bit of a photo session with the brownies.

Apple Crumble Slice

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
180g butter, chilled, chopped
2 tablespoons chilled water
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1/3 cup sultanas
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 3cm deep, 16cm x 26cm (base) slab pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends. Process flour, brown sugar, mixed spice and butter in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons chilled water. Process until mixture just comes together, adding more water if required.

2. Wrap 3/4 cup dough in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate until firm. Press remaining dough into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden. Allow to cool completely in pan.

3. Meanwhile, place apples, caster sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until soft and pulpy. Allow to cool completely. Stir in sultanas.

4. Spoon apple mixture over pastry base. Coarsely grate chilled dough into a bowl. Add oats and coconut. Stir to combine. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake slice for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely in pan. Serve.

Makes 18 slices.
Eh Voila! Bon App├ętit!


Looks like you had lots of fun! I love the table setting and the menu :)

thanks =) Donna Hay inspired!

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