I love tinkering about in the kitchen with a new recipe and enjoy getting friends together for some food and banter. Pre-babies, I was quite hospitable. But by the end of a busy day looking after the twins I’m just too tired to do the entertaining thing. But this week I bit the bullet and invited friends over on Friday night. Almost nine months into this parenting lark and we need to start socialising again!
I decided that I needed a casual menu that could be prepared over the course of a few days with minimal effort required on Friday night. Here’s what I came up with:
Ginger Chicken Curry
This is best made the day before, giving the flavours loads of time to develop. I managed to get it all made when the babies where having their morning nap – about 45 minutes. You can pop it in the fridge overnight and then just heat it through when you want it. It’s yummy, super healthy and really easy peasy!
Ingredients for 6 hungry diners
5cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red chillis, de-seeded and finely diced
1tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp tikka masala paste
5 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 large bramley apples, peeled, cored + diced
4 medium onions, diced
1 carton tomato passata
500ml chicken stock
Fresh coriander, to serve
- Fry the ginger, garlic and chilis in a little oil for 1 minute
- Combine the dry herbs with a tablespoon of water and add to the pan for another 30 seconds
- Add the tikka masala paste to the pan and fry for a further minute
- Add the onion to the spices and fry until they soften
- Add the apple and fry for 2 minutes
- Add the chicken and fry for a few minutes until it is sealed
- Add the passata and chicken stock and bring the curry to the boil
- Simmer the curry for 30 minutes, with the lid off to allow he sauce to thicken
- Serve with basmati rice and/or naan bread
Apple, Coriander and Chilli Salad
It may sound odd serving a curry with a salad but believe me, they work really well together and it always goes down a treat with my friends. I think the origins of this salad came from a Jamie Oliver cookbook – he may not approve of serving it with a curry but I think the combination is inspired!
4 red eating apples, cored and halved and then sliced with the skin on
1 red chilli, de-seeded and diced
I-2 lemons, juiced
½ tsp sesame oil
Bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Handful cashew nuts, dry toasted and chopped
Combine all ingredients and pop in a pretty serving dish. You can adjust the amount of lemon juice to taste but just make sure all of your apple slices are well coated in lemon juice to avoid browning.
Lime and Ginger Cheesecake
This is the perfect make ahead dessert – you can freeze it easily and just lift it out about 12 hrs before you want to serve it, defrosting it in the fridge. It’s also really yummy and very very easy to make.
6oz ginger biscuits, crushed finely
3oz butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
250ml jar whipping cream
3-4 limes, zested and juiced
- Crush the biscuits until they are fine crumbs
- Add the melted butter, combine and spread over the base of a loose bottomed 20cm flan dish
- Cook at 180 degrees for 10 mins and allow to cool
- Whip the cream lightly and gently combine with the sweetened condensed milk
- Add the zest and juice of the limes slowly – taste as you go but make sure you add enough lime juice for a zesty kick
- Once the base is cooled, add the creamy filling to the flan dish and put in the fridge to set
- Decorate with fresh berries and a few sprigs of mint
Serve with an espresso on the side or a glass of dessert wine if you want to keep the party going!
This worked well for our first night back in the entertaining game – the only problem was the twins really didn’t play ball. They picked that night for teething to kick in with gusto and I think we spent more time in the nursery than at the table! Here’s to better luck next time!
What’s your experience of cooking for friends since babies have taken over your life?!
I’m linking this post up with #MarvMondays and #TastyTuesdays