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The Mother of All Dinner Parties 2009


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Last night I hosted my 2nd dinner party, around this time last year I hosted my first dinner party. This year was also a success, bringing my closest high school friends together for a night of good food and company.

This year I went for a less stressful approach and got everyone to bring along a dish. We settled on the theme of "Wog" and allocated dishes for everyone to bring.

Alana and Adrian provided this lovely anti-pasto spread for everyone to nibble on whilst things were cooking in the oven. Complete with lovely fresh bread, bread sticks, prosciutto, bocconcini cheese, stuffed olives, marinated mushrooms and semi sun-dried tomatoes. It was a great way to get things going with everyone gathered around with a drink catching up on life.

For mains we had a lovely spread (apologies for terrible photos, all you can see is melted cheese and the lighting wasn't the best).

David and Chris brought along this lovely vegetarian lasagna. Although they were going to go with David's mum's recipe they had decided they didn't have enough time and adapted this "Cheat's Lasagna" which was vegetarian ravioli, sauce and cheese. It didn't matter that it was a cheat's version, it was so delicious. Nice and saucy and cheesy and everyone loved it.

Kiran also made a vegetarian dish, eggplant parma. Delicious eggplant in sauce, smothered in cheese. This was also very nice and fit in perfectly with the theme. An excellent effort since Kiran only really cooks Indian dishes. She is the opposite of Andre from Masterchef who only cooks Italian!
Nerdy Rob cooked this delicious chicken cacciatore. I believe this was his first cacciatore, however it was a massive success! The chicken was simply falling off the bone, and the sauce was so rich and full of goodies like olives and mushrooms. It worked perfectly with everything else.

David & Chris supplied this gorgeous salad. And thanks to Tristan for bringing along garlic bread even though he doesn't eat it!

Dessert was my course to take care of. David had jokingly said I should do petits fours, but of course I thought that was an awesome idea and simply had to do it.

The first petits fours I knew I was going to do my chocolate mousse. I knew all my friends loved it since I had served it to them before. So I bought these cute little espresso cups from the $2 shop (3 for $2!!) and divided the mousse among them.

I wanted to make them extra special for the dinner party so I topped them with Persian fairy floss. I had quite the adventure trying to find the stuff with David Jones not being able to get in stock for 6 months. I rang around a few gourmet food shops and finally tracked some down at Jones The Grocer. The next hard part was decided what flavour, I picked up pistachio and chocolate, but there was also vanilla, saffron and rose on offer.
The mousse however was a hit, everyone intrigued by said fairy floss.

The second petits fours was an simple and refreshing fruit skewer. I was going to add a few more fruits, but I thought I'd just keep it simple since there was so much on offer. I did some googling and got the idea to put them in shot glasses for presentation.

The third petits fours was a mini doughnut which I had made before. I decided to make these because I knew they were simple to make, they were bite sized as well so people could have room for them. And well, how cute do they look?

The final petits fours was going to be my biggest risk. Something I hadn't really tried before. Whilst I had attempted a lemon meringue pie before, I remember transporting it in my car and it just spilling everywhere. So I decided I'd give it a go again in smaller form. I was going to make the pastry but then realised how much of a task I had taken on doing 4 desserts and having to clean the house AND work so I cheated and bought the frozen tart shells. This also reminded me of MasterChef at the wedding when they used store bought shells, but I thought, "Hey, if they can do it, then so can I!"

I filled the tarts with Donna Hay's lemon curd recipe which was nice and sour, but not too sour. Then the meringue was from Gourmet Traveller magazine, and I thought this part was going to let me down. It was an Italian meringue which uses a sugar syrup instead of caster sugar when beating the egg whites. For this I bought a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. LUCKILY for me they turned out well and I could pipe them just how I wanted. I tried to brown them with a small blow torch but that failed, so I popped them under the grill. I had a few MasterChef fail moments here, the blow torch one tasted of butane, and when I was trying to extra brown a few of the meringues my baking paper set on fire! Oh it was hilarious, however the fire was easily blown out and no one got hurt.
The Italian meringue was all marshmallowy inside, and the tarts were a huge hit. I thought everyone would go halves on the tart, but everyone had one tart each! They must have been good!
I would personally like to thank Alana, Adrian, David, Chris, Tristan, Kiran and Nerdy Rob for coming and each bringing something along. An extra shout out to Alana for giving me these goreous flowers and to Tristan for his lovely culinary gift!


What a great looking dinner party and well done on all the desserts! The fruit skewers look so elegant and nice work on the lemon meringue pies (lol @ vision of MasterChef-style baking paper on fire).

Re: Persian fairy floss, I wonder whether you have Turkish groceries in Melbourne. I always baulk at the price of Pashmak Persian fairy floss when I can find huge boxes of the stuff if you're prepared to travel to the suburbs. I think I got this huge box for about $12 from memory?

Hi Helen,
Thanks =)
I'm not sure if we have Turkish groceries but I'm sure we would on the other side of town. I still have heaps of the stuff, and at $16 a bag, I can't just throw it away! Might have to get creative before it expires :P

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