I successfully cooked dinner for myself and seven friends without giving anyone food poisoning. My Mum would be proud.
In early May I completed #10 off my list. I started preparing in the weeks leading up to the dinner party, first was learning how to cook potential dishes I would serve on the night (read my blog about it here). Then I sent my Italian themed invitations to the guests, complete with a photo I took while in Italy a few too many years ago.
- Aperitivo was Campari and Soda cocktails
- Italian red wine (not the one pictured) with secondi
- Limoncello as a finishing touch digestivi
- Aranciata for the non-drinkers
The day of the dinner was not half as stressful as I had anticipated. Fortunately I had a lovely assistant on hand who helped keep me on track with the prepared grocery list. A small challenge I came up against came just a week out from the dinner, two of my guests chose to start eating vegan. They gracefully offered to renege their RSVP, however I would not have it. Anyone who has cooked an Italian meal before knows that there is usually always an animal product in every single meal. This meant that my main meal; veal osso buco was out of the question for them. My MacGyver skills came out and I was able to make a falso osso buco for them with potatoes instead of veal. Just like life, sometime its better not to follow all the rules. This is what ended up on the menu:
- Fresh burrata
- Mixed Olives
- Prosciutto wrapped melon
- Grissini and toasted chibatta bread
- Veal osso buco and falso oso buco (with potatoes)
- Polenta with goat cheese
- Risotto Milanese
Half way through dinner I realised that the evening was a great success; I caught one of my friends undoing the buttons on his jeans to make room for more food. Much to my surprise, everyone was enjoying my food, and even going back for seconds. It was a lot more simple than I had first thought it would be, all the dishes were relatively easy to cook.
For dessert I made my favourite Italian treat – tiramisu. Fortunately my vegan friends love wine, so I was able to serve them another glass for dessert (I found no vegan Italian desserts).
Author Tim Ferris puts it so well in his book The Four Hour Workweek: “Mealtime with friends and loved ones is a direct predictor of well-being. Have at least one 2-to-3 hour dinner and/or drinks per week… with those who make you smile and feel good.” Evenings like this combine 3 of my favourite things – loved ones, delicious food and tasty drinks, and leave me feeling so happy and complete.
Best part about hosting a dinner party – leftovers! (however small they might be)
A tavola non si invecchia.
Translation: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.