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Let Me Entertain You

One of the things I’m really enjoying about suburbia is entertaining. In New York, people hardly ever have friends over, partly because their apartments are so cramped, partly because they work so hard, and partly because they’ve never learnt to cook. Instead you spend your social time in restaurants and bars and coffee shops where as soon as you’ve finished your food and drink you are expected to move on. You get used to catching up with people in one-and-a-half hour blocks. And to never having to do the dishes after dinner. But that’s not how I roll.

I like to cook and I love to have people for dinner. I think it’s the perfect way to show people that you care about them. So in New York I tried to bring back the dinner party. It wasn’t easy thanks to a table that only sat four, a living room not much bigger than a walk-in wardrobe, and bench space only as big as a bread board (dishes-in-progress had to sit on the floor; dirty dishes had to be done immediately). But the biggest problem was that I was never asked back to other people’s homes (I choose to think that was because of their limited cooking skills rather than my lack of appeal as a dinner guest), which made shelling out lots of cash for catering less appealing over time.

But here entertaining is de rigueur; almost everyone does it. And I’m loving having people to dinner every week.

Hors d'oeuvre (or as we call them in NZ, nibbles!).

I’m cooking things I’ve always wanted to try. I’m buying wines I wouldn’t buy just for myself. I’m using all the vintage china I’ve collected over the past 20 years (and smashing a few bits in the process). I’m serving up the pickles and sauces and relishes I made while living at Disco Farm. And I’m making everyone drink my homemade limoncello with dessert (which is leading to some good after-dinner discos and some hefty hangovers).

Pavlova with poached peaches.

So what recipes should I try as autumn turns into winter? What are your dinner party staples? What goes well with limoncello? Let me know and I’ll give them a try in the upcoming weeks.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kate #

    Hi
    Last week I made a very successful pudding which was pecan maple pie from Jamie Oliver but Annabel has a limoncello mousse which is very easy and refreshing! My standby is warm spicy pear cake with whipped cream at this time of year ….main courses are based round seasonal vegetables and just made my first venison casserole for the year yesterday with plum jam !

    April 23, 2013
  2. Grizz #

    Grappa goes well with Lemoncello, although this should be used as an aperitif so as not to create a enviornment of alcohol rather than the yummy food you are cooking :-)

    April 23, 2013
  3. Sarah T #

    My fav is lamb shanks with mashed spud or morrocan couscous with a side of mushroom and spinach. Heartwarming and delish! If you want my recipe for lamb shanks just let me know :)

    April 23, 2013
  4. Janet #

    I will let you know how the limoncello goes, looking forward to trying

    April 23, 2013
  5. Emma #

    What about limoncello Sorbet?

    April 23, 2013
  6. Anthony HF #

    Kirsten – Love this post and your insight into NY and entertaining – it is so TRUE, we entertained all the time in our wee chelsea apt and few ever had us back (we completely understood, but it still didn’t make it bizarre)… hilarious – great post. I’m only sad that we never got to entertain you and have you over and vice versa while you were here!

    April 24, 2013
    • Thank you! Saw you on Sunday – what a big celeb you are. So glad things are continuing to go well in the US.

      April 24, 2013

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