101 things in 1001 days: Host a dinner party and make it beautiful

      101 things in 1001 days

So, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and with many of my 101 things being to improve my ability to cook this one seemed like a good one to test out my newly improved skills at the stove. It’s not that I’m bad at it, I just never make the time and when I do it’s something easy or quick. Although it often tastes rather wonderful it’s never exactly a culinary masterpiece. Now, as you all know I recently moved into a new house and despite telling myself I would have a housewarming it’s been a couple of weeks since I moved in. Perfect excuse for a get together and to invite a couple of wonderful friends round; on the menu, dips and chips to start, vegetarian chilli for main and chocolate fudge brownie dessert for dinner. Pretty simple but pretty tasty.

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I started by buying a number of little tea light candles and crimson napkins. The house is so beautiful and the colours are so warm that once I had set the table with the round smooth chocolate coloured plates and had put out the jewel coloured coasters; a criss-cross design of ruby, emerald and sapphire squares it all looked a little wonderful. I then set about on the chilli. I started by cutting up two onions into little squares and two peppers; one red and one green. These were gently softened in the pan with some oil which took a little longer than thought but all in good time; let em get all soft and yummy. I then added the Quorn and browned that off which is a little difficult to do when it starts and ends the same colour but I cooked it off a little. Then I made up 400ml of vegetable stock. It did say 200 and a glass of red wine but I had none in so I just popped in a little more stock. After adding this to the pan with a tsp of chilli powder, ground coriander and cinnamon I pushed up the heat and let it bubble away. I then added two tins of chopped tomato and a tin of kidney beans and turned down the heat. I then let it cook for a little longer and then added a few more shakes of chilli powder.

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When my guests arrived I stuck the rice on and popped a stick of garlic bread in the oven and turned the chilli onto a low heat to warm up. I served the food with guacamole, sour cream and a bowl of chopped up chilli just in case it wasn’t hot enough. Chilli probably wasn’t the best choice because I had no idea for the life of me how hot people like their chilli. If it’s my mother cooking it you better be ready for some serious heat but I just wanted a kick at the end and then everyone could add heat accordingly. I must admit I think it tasted pretty good and was just the right amount. The only small error is I didn’t quite cook enough rice which is a little silly because when it’s me I always end up with a huge amount left over but for five I wasn’t sure how to judge it. Saying that people did have seconds and there was a little left over for dinner the next night. I then served the pudding with passion fruit frozen yoghurt which I think went down a treat.

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Overall I think it was a roaring success but then it is me. I’ve always marvelled at my mother’s ability to organise a three course meal and even with almost everything ready I was a little stressed and flustered despite being overly prepared. (Printing out four different chilli recipes and having dinner cooked an hour in advance, I was looking pretty good.) I’m really intrigued to do this again and serve something a little more complex. I make a mean Thai green curry and think that would go down a treat. It was the perfect way to celebrate my new house and the move, and something I will definitely be doing again.

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101 Things To Do In 1001 Day: Make Roasted Red Pepper Soup

101 things in 1001 days

Good afternoon my lovely readers, today’s post as you can see is a 1001 days post so if you’re looking for a book review you’re not going to find it here, but you will find a post about me being a culinary whizz. Well kind of. I was looking at my list of things to do and I worked out that I have to complete around three tasks a month and at the moment I am not keeping up with that and some of the bigger tasks can’t really be done over a weekend or even a month, as they need a lot of planning. So I sat down and looked at all the ones that I could do quite simply and this coming week I am going to be taking on three. I am off to Glasgow at the weekend with Mumma B which ticks off the task go somewhere in Great Britain you’ve never been before, and I am going to the midnight premiere of the new Hunger Games film (fingers crossed) next week with two of my wonderful friends.

Now this one today I actually completed about a month ago but my iPhone was broken and the photos from my old Blackberry were awful so I made it again last night with a different recipe and it tastes amazing; (well I think so anyway) So, I made roasted red pepper soup; it’s actually one of my favourites, right after Heinz tomato. For me you cannot beat that stuff, it reminds me of sick days snuggled up on the sofa, under the sick blanket (as we called it, I am sure it was riddled with disease) watching children’s films such as Barbie Rapunzel. This comes a close, close second and I now have a vat on it sitting on the side as long as neither of my house dwellers has devoured it whilst I’ve been at work.

I love cooking but I never really get round to it my life is either completely in a rush or I’m out of the house, so I’m either eating a toasted sandwich whilst furiously blogging and writing articles for the various sites I write for, or I’m out for dinner with friends, I just never MAKE the time and always think oh I’ll do it later. So after paying the water bill (I hate being an adult) I wandered around Sainsbury’s chatting away to my best friend whilst trying to remember the recipe for red pepper soup. I traipsed home with four red peppers, two carrots, an onion, stock jel thingies (yes that’s what they are) garlic, basil, chopped tomatoes, a new hand blender (last time I attempted to mash the soup as I did not own a blender, I can confirm it doesn’t work,) and a bottle of rose which is vital for cooking my mother tells me. Hair up, apron on and cooking could commence.

First I chopped up all the peppers; I must admit I don’t think I needed them all because they filled the roasting tray, splattered them with a little oil and sprinkled salt (and you should add pepper but I didn’t have any; shock) Pop them in the oven at 180. Then pour a glass of wine, following my mother’s wisdom as always. Peel the carrots, and chop them up with the onion and garlic. Then put a saucepan of water onto boil (two pints) and add the stock. I used a jelly type one rather than a cube but I don’t think it matters too much. Whack in the vegetables and boil for five minutes and then turn down to simmer for around twenty minutes. Pour another glass of wine (yes another.)The peppers should be done (don’t forget about them!) so bring them out the over and leave them to cool. The recipe said scrape off the blackened bits but mine were only a little so I left them on. Chop them up and throw them in the saucepan along with the chopped tomatoes and let it cook for another ten minutes. Blend and you’re done and dusted. The basil is for decorative purposes but I had some dried stuff that I popped in whilst it was cooking.
This soup honestly tasted delicious and it wasn’t because of the third glass of wine I promise. Definitely worth a go, I’ve popped in a link, and I don’t like celery that’s why it didn’t make it into the soup; if you were wondering. 🙂 Here’s the link: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7685/-roasted-red-pepper-soup

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