I love any excuse for a dinner party so when my friend Alesha, who works for Camp Quality, suggested we participate in their annual fundraising event Dine at Mine it seemed like the perfect excuse to throw something together. Dine at Mine runs throughout August and September to raise funds for children living with cancer. The idea is that you host a dinner party in your home and your guests donate what they would usually spend on an evening out.
The problem with dinner parties is that you have to cook. I can’t cook. That is where we recruited Alesha’s partner Mat who is an excellent cook to be in charge of the food. I provided the space and they did all the cooking (yup I got the easy job. What I loved about the menu that Mat created was that it could nearly all be prepared before the dinner meaning that Mat could join us for most of the time. It is also the perfect menu if cooking for people stresses you out – this way you have all day to prepare and can be relaxed when your guests arrive.
Not only was the menu designed so that most of the preparation could be done before the party but to also compliment the dinnerware we used. Mat and SamTomkins, industrial designer, have designed Woolfeware, the wooden trays in this post which can used as serving plates, bowls and chopping boards. Sam has also worked with Nellie Peoples, gold and silversmither, to design the silver bowls that can be used for canapés to assist you in drinking and eating at the same time.
To start we had a serving of celeriac soup with a peanut broth. The soup made use of hearty winter vegetables and had a slightly pungent, tangy flavour, easily devoured in a couple of sips.
The soup was followed by mini burgers. Mat used profiteroles as the buns which was pure genius. The light texture meant that the burgers weren’t heavy and ensured that the fillings were the hero ingredients. A simple profiterole recipe can be found here.
We were treated to three different fillings, each one just as delicious as the next;
– Pickled beetroot, whipped goats cheese and mint
– Fried fish with cauliflower Mornay and zesty parmesan
– Pork belly with slow roasted kumara and pickled fennel
The brioche burgers were followed by the main course which was an assortment of tasty dishes that could easily be ate in a couple of mouthfuls negating the need to wash up mountains of plates and bowls. The meat dish, lamb kofta was complimented with a range of vegetable dishes including mamacita inspired corn (parmesan and chilli, yes please), honey sesame carrots with herb labnah, baked cauliflour and a potato and radish salad.
You might be thinking that we would be full by now but there is always a second stomach for sweets. For dessert Alesha treated us to a beautiful vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberries. The light and fluffy panna cotta and the refreshing strawberries was the perfect light dessert to cleanse the palette and end the evening.
Overall the night was a success. We left feeling full and content on good food, wine and company and also managed to raise a decent amount of money for Camp Quality. If you like to cook or love hosting dinner parties why not check out the Camp Quality website and get involved!
To see more of Mat’s recipes check out ‘A creative christmas dinner with help from the Canberra Farmers Markets’.
Note: The bowls are available from Fivefold Studio in Lonsdale Street traders and the Wolfeware trays are available on application.