Thursday, 7 July 2016

A DINNER PARTY OF SORTS

Moving into this house for second year has been wonderful. I can't describe how happy I am to be out of halls, in a lovely bright house with big windows, wooden floors and white walls. Even when it comes with a few too many ants, a floating wardrobe I don't know where to put and a toilet that is prone to blockage...and will cost £130 to repair, kewl. I moved in on the 1st of this month, a Friday, and had everything unpacked and ready with the motivation of cooking a big, celebratory Sunday roast for me and Jack, which happened, yay! The kitchen is small but sweet, and with the place to myself until September I'm determined to do ALL OF THE COOKING and fill up this blog with lots of foodie posts.

My friend Megan, who you may be aware of from our two collaborations for Sighh (the Kitties and Doggies phone cases), is going home for a month at the end of the week, so I thought it would be lovely to have her round for a meal, which became a double date scenario with Jack and her boyfriend, Isaac, invited also. We had been talking about going out together for weeks without it coming to anything solid, so I was very much excited (and a little nervous, as you always are with the boyfriends-meeting-friends situation).

With a day's notice and some food requirements to consider (no spice, nothing too strange, no pepper) I decided on a starter of stuffed potato skins and a main of prosciutto wrapped cheesy stuffed chicken breasts, veg and an optional creamy mushroom sauce, then apple and blackberry crumble (adapted from this post) for pudding, plus nibbles. With the potato skins and stuffed chicken breasts I mixed up the flavours so there was something to interest everyone - as being the ~host~ it's your job to cater to the guests and make sure everyone is happy.

I thought I'd give you a little run through of what preparations I made during the day and a bit on how the evening went!



12:30/2PM

Having not yet done a proper shop, I spent the morning deciding what to put on the menu then popped to the co-op - luckily just a 4 minute walk down the road (omg). I was really conscious that I didn't want to spend the whole evening in the kitchen when I should be socialising, and that actual time planning would have to happen here. So, I prepped pudding by cooking down the fruit filling and mixing the crumble, popping everything into fridge bags for later. I also bagged chopped up mushrooms and onion for the main course's sauce.

4PM

I then got the potatoes going by washing them, adding olive oil and salt and putting them in the oven.

3/4PM
Next came the chicken which I stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar, sun dried tomatoes, basil leaves and spinach, then wrapped in prosciutto. I wrapped the baking tray in cling film and put it in the fridge for later so it was just a matter of popping it in the oven when things got busy.

5PM

At about 5PM the baked potatoes were finished, and Megan had arrived. We left them out to cool while we popped to the shops for wine (my passport/only ID still hasn't arrived...) and proceeded to catch up, change clothes, drink, prepare food and laugh about how housewifey we felt. 


7PM

We forked out potato from the skins and popped it into two boxing bowls, adding a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella, basil leaves and sun dried tomato to one, and adding lightly cooked garlicy pancetta and onion, cheddar and spinach to the other. I would have tried a few more varieties but we only had two mixing bowls and it was a bit of a rush anyway! We filled the skins back up, popped more cheddar on top of them all, added clingfilm and left them ready for dinner. At this point the guys had arrived and it was time to crack out all of the crisps, dip and wine.


As I provided the food, everyone else was kind enough to provide the other bits. As we're three students plus a very minimalist graduate (Jack) it's not surprising none of us had 4+ sets of everything, so they each added their own plates, cutlery and wine glasses for a makeshift dinner setup, plus my backup paper plates which came in very handy. This was a casual affair, okay.

At this point I'd had a lot to drink and completely lost track of time, but it was really lovely getting to chat to everyone properly and I was so glad I'd prepped all the food already. 


As I became more and more pissed, the plating up took a hit and so did the photography. Bare with.

The potato skins were intended as a starter, but as there were so many and we didn't have enough green veg, they became part of the main too. I was very conscious of over cooking the stuffed chicken which I always do, having poisoned an ex once... so I was pretty chuffed with how these turned out - also considering the are no numbers on the oven so you don't know how hot it is (!!!?!?!?).




I mean what is this photo? So pissed. Thank you to Megan for the action shot, everyone ended up with a very sufficient amount of custard after we were done here.


The rest of the night is a mixture of more wine, cards against humanity, card games and that one where you guess the word on your head. It was a very late night and I didn't even have to keep them there by force, so I think it was a lovely success all round and the food was complimented lots which makes me SOOOO HAPPEEEEEE.

-

I had never hosted something like this before, or been on a double date of any kind, so what essentially was a couple of friends over for dinner meant a great deal. I'm twenty, living in a house, with a boyfriend of 5 months and one day (not living together, but we're almost always together). Sometimes I feel like a real genuine adult who is adulting and it makes me well up. Although I've stopped growing vertically, I can tell that I'm growing a lot as a person. I'm finding myself doing things, like having three people who didn't know each other (ish) over for dinner, and actually doing it even when it seems scary. I let go of my anxiety inducing, irrational feeling that I am personally responsible for conversation/people having a good time, and watched humans with their own social skills, and 7 bottles of wine, get on and create a lovely evening.

Calling all friends, pls, let's cook together.

This was a very unstructured post, so if it's held your attention this far, I'm glad. Let me know if you have any tips on organising/hosting things like this - I'd love to get better! I hope you enjoyed a little life insight.





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8 comments

  1. Your dinner party looks so cute Poll! I've been out of halls for over a year now and still haven't done anything like this... My guests are still offered liquid diets and the occasional bowl of nibbles! Great adult-ing :)

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  2. I love cute little posts like this Polly- it looks like so much fun! I love hosting dinner parties like this too x

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