Being an adult comes along with many expectations, one of which is the desire to invite people into your home in order to declare to them that you have this adulthood thing down pat. In order to do that, you need to be able to serve them something a little more sophisticated than 2-minute noodles and instant coffee. If you have ever wanted to host an “adult” and sophisticated dinner party, but you were not sure what exactly to cook for your guests, then look no further because these five dinner recipes will totally trick your family and friends into thinking you are an absolute dinner party boss!
1. Spaghetti Carbonara
(This is not your traditional Spaghetti Carbonara, as it has been elevated to the highest position of deliciousness)
- Spaghetti (100gms of dry spaghetti per person)
- 500 gms of bacon, chopped
- Handful of mushrooms of your choice, washed and sliced
- A cup of Cilantro and onion leeks diced
- 6 garlic cloves diced
For the sauce:
- 1 egg per person
- 100 gms grated cheese
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 8 tbsps lemon juice
- 2 tbsps cream
- In a pan, add some oil and fry the chopped bacon till it is crispy, but not burnt. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add some more oil to the pan and cook mushrooms and garlic in a little butter till the mushrooms are soft. Add in the chopped bacon and herbs and mix well. Set aside
- In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cream, cheese and the egg till it is combined well.
- Boil the spaghetti in salted water till tender, but not overcooked. Drain the spaghetti leaving behind a little water in the container.
- Add in the bacon and mushroom mixture into the spaghetti along with the lemon cheese sauce and mix till all the spaghetti is coated in bacon cheese goodness.
- Serve immediately!
2. One-Pan Roast Chicken
- 2 cups potatoes unpeeled and quartered
- 8 baby onions peeled and halved
- 4 carrots peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 100 gms butter
- 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4 tsp minced thyme
- 2 tsp minced rosemary
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, drumsticks and thighs)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180’c.
- Mix together potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan along with the olive oil.
- Place chicken on top of the vegetables and massage the chicken with oil and sprinkle with herbs. Place knobs of butter in the crevices of the chicken and around it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Roast the chicken for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Mushroom Risotto
- 2 cups assorted mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 5 litres of vegetable stock
- 500g risotto rice (Arborio)
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 2 sticks celery chopped finely
- A handful of herbs (parsley, coriander, mint)
- 3 tbsps Olive oil
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- 50g parmesan cheese
- 50g Butter
- Salt to taste
- Gently heat the stock in a pot till it is warm but not boiling.
- In another deep pan, add the olive oil and half the butter and gently sauté the onion and celery.
- Add in the sliced mushrooms and sauté.
- Turn the heat up and add in the rice and stir till all the grains are coated.
- Add in a ladle of the stock into the rice and keep stirring till all the liquid is absorbed.
- Keep adding ladleful of stock at a time, making sure the stock is being absorbed by the rice.
- Cook till the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Stir in the butter, lemon juice and the herbs along with the cheese.
- Season according to taste and serve!
4. Chocolate Cream Pie with Toffee Meringue
- 400g plain chocolate biscuits, roughly broken
- 120g butter, melted
- 180ml milk
- 250ml single cream
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 60g brown sugar
- 80g caster sugar
- 35g corn flour
- 5 eggs, separated,
For the toffee meringue:
- 180ml water
- 385g caster sugar
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 125ml water, extra
- Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the butter and process until combined. Spoon into a lightly greased 1.5 litre-capacity pie dish and smooth the mixture over the base and sides of the dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place the milk, cream and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture just comes to the boil. Place the brown sugar, caster sugar, corn flour, and egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in the chocolate mixture.
- Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook, whisking over medium heat, until the mixture comes to the boil. Continue whisking for 1–2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the mixture again, pour into the pie shell and refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.
- To make the toffee meringue, place the water, 1½ cups of the caster sugar and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir with a metal spoon until combined. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, for 7–8 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 4 minutes (the caramel will continue to get darker).
- Place the reserved egg whites in an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, whisking until the mixture is well combined and glossy. Add the toffee in a thin, steady stream and whisk until combined. Whisk for a further 2–3 minutes and gradually whisk in the extra water.
- Top the pie with the meringue and use a small kitchen blowtorch to caramelise the meringue. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
- Serves 8–10.
(This is a variation of Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate and Whiskey Pie recipe)
5. Lavender Crème Brûlée
- 150 ml double cream
- 150 ml single cream
- 200 ml milk
- 8 egg yolks
- 75 g sugar
- 4 tbsps caster sugar
- 2 vanilla pods
- 1 bunch of fresh lavender or a pinch of dry lavender
- Preheat oven to 140’c.
- Cut the vanilla pods in half and scrape pot the seeds with the back of your knife (Vanilla extract can work if fresh vanilla is not available).
- In a saucepan, add the milk, both creams and the vanilla and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
- Place a large bowl over the saucepan of hot milk and whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.
- The slowly pour in the milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks and sugar while whisking continuously.
- Place the saucepan back on the heat with some water and bring to a simmer.
- Place the milk, cream and egg mixture into the saucepan and keep stirring till the mixture thickens.
- Stir in the lavender and mix well.
- Pour mixture into ramekins and place the ramekins in a high-sided roasting tray filled a quarter of the way up with water. Be careful not to get water into the mixture.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the mixture is wobbly in the centre.
- Remove and sprinkle sugar on top of the crème brûlée. Use a blowtorch to caramelize the top.
(Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe of Lavender Crème Brûlée)
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