Wednesday 10 September 2008

Please help!

Gentle Reader, please offer me some advice. I'm hosting another dinner party on Saturday and I'm trying to work out what the hell I'm going to have on the menu!

Year of the Rat with posh scroggin

The reason for my indecision is due to the dietary restrictions of some of my guests. Last Saturday one of my guests was allergic to nuts and eggs. So the menu was the culinary equivalent of a 3m forward dive with tuck, degree of difficulty 1.4. But this Saturday looks more like a reverse 2 and a half somersault 1 and a half twist with pike, degree of difficulty 3.5! I'd like to do a three course meal.

One of Saturday's guests is a vegetarian who is allergic to sesame (no seeds, no oil). He won't mind though if meat is on the menu, as long as he can eat something else.

But another of Saturday's guests can't eat fructans (she suffers from Fructose Malabsorption), which are found not only in many vegetables but also in wheat. So the following ingredients are off the menu:

Wheat (although she can have small amounts). But no wheat rules out flour-based cakes, wheat-based bread, regular pasta, hokkien and udon noodles, pastries, couscous, pizza etc.
Onions (including spring onions)
Coconut milk

My friend has also very kindly sent me a list of foods she CAN eat:
Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges,
Golden Syrup or maple syrup
Ginger, Garlic, fresh and dry herbs, etc
Vegetables such as avocado, beans, beetroot, bok choy, broccoli, capsicum, carrot, chilli, eggplant, legumes, lettuce, olives, potato, pumpkin, mushrooms, spinach, sweet potato, tomato (but not tomato paste), zucchini

Can anyone PLEASE offer some inspirational recipe ideas that will accomodate both of my friends' dietary requirements? I haven't had a chance to go through recipe books yet, and the muse of spontaneous inspiration is yet to strike. I've got the day free on Saturday so I don't mind running around to source gluten-free stuff...

Home Sweet Home Mousse


Anonymous said...

pumpkin and spinach risotto... with blue vein cheese (if that is acceptable). doesn't really have a wow factor, but seems to be suitable enough for the dietary requirements.

Anonymous said...

and maybe serve them in halved, chargrilled red capsicums, just for something different...?

Anonymous said...

how about warm salad of roasted pumpkin and sweet potato, with feta cheese, fresh spinach and pine nuts.
Then have have fish baked in a bag (aluminium foil) with whatever you want, you can have seasoned tofu for your vegan friend.
then for desert you'd probably have to go flourless something... had a really nice orange and poppy seed from french lettuce the other day.

SD said...

For an entree I'd go with some marinated olives and roasted capsicum, possibly with carrot sticks and an avocado dip..

Main could be a vegetable bake, or roasted vege salad, an awesome stirfry with rice, garlic, ginger.

Dessert... one of those milk jellies (creme brulee style) with maple syrup? Citrus sorbet..

Sarah said...

Lentil salad?

Cook Puy lentils, let cool. Toss through diced roasted capsicum, feta/goats' cheese, parsley and coriander? Olive oil and lemon juice.

xox Sarah

Anonymous said...

Hi there....try a website called

it has a great recipe section which a helpful search tool, so you can narrow it down by food type (gluten-free, vegan etc)

thanh7580 said...

Wow Claire, that sounds more like a back two and half somersault with two and a half twist, degree of difficulty 3.8.

I can only think of a citrus spinach salad for entree. They had that on The Cook and The Chef recently so you can get the recipe off their website.

Banana split with chocolate sauce for dessert? Or Sweet Potato Pie without the pie crust, so really it's just boiled sweet potato :-).

Let us know what you finally decide to go with. It should be interesting, really test out your skills. It's a bit like the TV show Ready, Steady, Cook, where you have to come up with dishes given set ingredients.

Jackie Middleton said...

Oh I love this stuff...
Ok, what about charcutiere/antipasto for entree, try Parisenne pates on Lyon street for great meat/terrine/pate etc and then the deli section of King and Godfrey up the road for vege friendly bits to add. Use rice crackers instead of croutons for the GF person.
For main, i guess you want a little wow factor but it needs to be practical, so what about a beetroot risotto that everyone can eat (finish it with extra fresh beet juice and some puree to brighten it back up after cooking) and perhaps some poached salmon on top for the meat eaters and some asparagus for the vege. I'd garnish with gremolata or something like that.
Then dessert what about a flourless choc cake or perhaps some berry friands.
Good luck!

jamesbluntknife said...

how strict is the vegetarian?

if you want asian, maybe you could do nasu dengaku (sp?) (eggplant with miso paste), or a tom yum with thai eggplants, baby corn and beans.

whole fish steamed or roast in the oven with whatever asian flavourings take yer fancy (i like ginger lemongrass and other bits)

otherwise what about a mezze for entree (moussaka and other bits).

main could be layered lasagne, using eggplant in lieau of the pasta sheets, mozzarella, and tomato slices?

or just stick to heritage and make a nice salad of tomato bocconcini and basil.

hrm, i got too many eggplant ideas in my head today lol

claire said...

Aw, you guys all rock! Thank you so much for the suggestions. :-)

I started to get inspired this morning at around 7am - mainly because I realised that they're predicting 24 degrees on Saturday, so we can dine al fresco!!!! Which is a good thing because there will now be 7 of us instead of 5, and my little white kitchen table may have struggled.

The theme of the dinner party is "Spring Fling", so I'm really trying to stay away from stodgy flourless chocolate or orange cakes, or anything else that makes me think winter. Love the idea of a warm salad, might try your puy lentil one Sarah!

I'm steering clear of a stir fry because the fan in the rangehood has been playing up recently and I don't want the whole house to smell. Also would prefer to do Italian-style cuisine because it's what I'm most familiar with and want to impress my friends! Next time when there are fewer food restrictions I'll try something Asianesque...

Here's what I'm thinking:

First course do a nice big antipasto spread. An insalata caprese (tomato and bocconcini, great idea James!) always looks pretty and is very easy, slices of prosciutto, bresaola and a Parisienne pate on a separate plate for us meat eaters, labna, puy lentil salad, olives, an interesting pesto. Slices of olive toscano, a gluten-free bread and rice crackers. Will hit King and Godfree nice and early on Saturday.

Second course - I LOVE your beetroot risotto idea Jack! Esp with the salmon/asparagus and gremolata. Think I'll give it a try - you don't have a tried and tested recipe you could email me, do you?! :-)

Dessert - this morning I woke up, heard the weekend forecast and immediately thought SEMIFREDDO!! What do you think? It meets the dietary requirements, I could make it in the afternoon (being able to prepare in advance is HUGELY important to me), I could even make two different flavours (choc hazelnut and... um... cranberry? I still have some leftover dried cranberries from last week)... or do you think semifreddo is a little TOO summery for early September? Maybe I should rethink the dessert?

In any event, I'm officially excited now. Dinner at Maha tonight, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tomorrow and dinner party on Saturday, yay!!

xx claire

Anonymous said...

You could do a few things from my last dinner party by the sounds of things. Except for the vegetarian bit. The garlic soup and white chocolate panna cotta could start and finish (Unless I missed something in the proscribed list)

What about a salad for main. Does the vegetarian eat seafood? Were having a divine salad tonight - prawns, wombok, red onion, Vietnamese style dressing. REcipe will be blogged some time tonight!

cp said...

You could always do a gluten-free sponge.. or use it to make a cassata? (instead of the genoese sponge) Isn't cassata the Italian thing for spring?
Can't wait to see what you do!

Anonymous said...

my personal favourite is a Women's Weekly special I stole from my mother - take one whole snapper, stuff with sliced limes, chilli and slices of ginger. Wrap in a banana leaf and bake. serve it with rice laced with shards of kaffir lime leaf. mm.. delicious.

best dinner party entree is a pot of mussels with a really basic tomato or white wine sauce.

Jackie Middleton said...

I don't really cook from recipes, but the method is just like another risotto; leeks/onion saute until transulent, add aborio rice and toast off, deglaze with white wine and then add some warm stock (I guess this will be vegetarian), I'd add some pre roasted and pureed beetroot (roast whole beets, skin on in foil until soft and then peel and puree), perhaps about the same quantity as the rice, stir and stir and add more stock as you need to. Just at the stage where you would finish the risotto, perhaps with butter, I'd add some more puree and some fresh beetroot juice (cooking the beetroot makes the colour go 'muddy') this makes it beautiful and vivid again and also loosens it up before resting for a few minutes.
For the salmon, I pretty much always cook it in sealed foil in the oven as i hate a stinky house. Use heaps of lemon zest on the fish to cut the richness and marry with the gremolata.
Hope it goes well!!