Dining with Really Nice Food

The problem (if you can say there is one) of people thinking that you are a bit of a foodie is that everyone always has high expectations when they are invited round for dinner.

I have been promising my friend Matt and his girlfriend a dinner to beat all dinners seeing,  the first time they came round  I chickened out of cooking.

I had not met Lisa before and I did not know what to cook,  that coupled with the fact I had one of those days at work you know the ones, when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

In the end we went to the Olive Branch (which is down the road) and looking back I think it was a  great idea as I got to spend more time talking to Lisa and less running in and out of the kitchen.

So, armed with Matt and Lisa’s likes and dislikes I went about planning a menu. As I have not really worked on my to cook list in a while (understatement) I decided to incorporate some dishes I have not tried before.

The menu was planed as follows:

 Moules marinière with cream, garlic and Parsley

Beef Wellington with Dauphinoise potatoes and seaonal vegetables

Exploding Chocolate Gâteaux

Where to start, hmm maybe by not packing this menu in a manic day where I went wedding dress shopping, visited Kirkstall deli market, and went to the gym.

After the gym, market shopping and getting some last ingredients (I cant believe I actually forgot to get the mussels !!) I began by preparing the Beef Wellington.

I followed the Good Food version of the recipe which called for the beef to be browned in the oven and used a mushroom pate (duxelles) as apposed to a meat one which, I have found in the past to be a bit overpowering.

The exploding Chocolate Gâteaux was a Heston recipe, it calls for neutral popping candy which I would not found so ended up using cherry flavoured which, worked a treat.

Gâteaux made and in the freezer, beef rested and in the fridge along with the Mushroom pate I went off to find a wedding dress leaving the making of the potatoes to me trusty Sous Chef (That’s you Steve).

Back, very elated (having found a dress) and extremely late I came back to start on the mussels getting rid of beards and tapping open ones just in time for Matt and Lisa to arrive.

Drinks sorted I finished off the last bits of the beef Wellington by rolling the filet in pancetta and popping it in the fridge. Just before serving the starter I rolled out the pastry, covered the beef and popped it in the oven. As the desert was in the freezer it just needed to be out 30 minutes before serving, so there was not that much prep for it.  The recipe called for six Passion fruits which, I felt was a little overpowering, but complemented the chocolate, if I was to do it again, I think that I would use all dark chocolate as it would cut through the Passion fruit.

All in all the dinner got a massive thumbs up, just don’t know how to top this one.








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