Thursday, December 6, 2007
Arabian nights - dinner party idea
One of the most fun dinner parties I have ever been invited to had a Middle Eastern theme and it was sensational.
The reason it was so fabulous is that the hostess went to a lot of trouble to make the experience authentic.
When my partner and I arrived, the living room had been transformed - the room was lit only with candle light and a variety of cushions had been spread around the room. There was a lovely scent in the air - not too powerful. It must have been some sort of incense. The room looked totally different to the way it normally looked. I almost forgot I was actually at my friend's house.
The background music was gentle but had that Middle Eastern beat to it - it was like Arabic chill-out music - very smooth indeed.
She'd also hung some rugs or material over the walls. It almost felt like being inside an Arabian tent - I have a warm feeling just reminiscing about it... because it had this really mystical feel to it.
I can barely remember what we ate because the atmosphere and what we had in store way over took and made the lasting impression
I do recall that on arrival we were given a glass of bubbly and could select appetizers from trays laid out with tempting dips like baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) and hummos (chick pea dip) and pitta and Lebanese breads that had been cut into smaller pieces, sprayed with olive oil and then lightly baked until crisp. There were also stuffed vine leaves along with a selection of pickled vegetables. I know my friend bought these rather than made them herself - recipes are available on the Internet for free if you want to do something similar and cook the food yourself.
These stuffed grape leaves are always popular and inexpensive:
We of course were all given small plates and serviettes and sat comfortably on the cushions mingling, eating and chatting. The experience had an incredibly soft and laid back feel. We'd all brought a bottle of wine so enjoyed a glass with the food.
Once we'd got through the starters my friend brought out some more dishes - felafels, lentils with spinach and some stuffed eggplant and tomatoes. Again, these were bought from a Lebanese take away restaurant and heated just prior to being served.
By this stage we were all feeling very full and content.
Then something magical happened - gradually we heard the music getting louder and louder - the beat was getting faster and then out of another room a belly dancer appeared and came dancing into the room.
She looked stunning - she had the full belly dancing costume on and her make-up was amazing - and her moves made me feel very envious (in the nicest possible way). She put on quite a performance, even producing a sword and doing the "sword' dance.
Toward the end of her show, guests were invited to join her but we were not put under any pressure. A couple got up and it was fun to see people having such a good time. Can you believe we got to see this sort of entertainment at a friend's house during a dinner party?
After the show, my friend served Turkish coffee and Turkish Delights which proved a lovely light way to finish off the meal.
It was such a great night that I'd highly recommend this idea to anyone who wants to make their dinner party memorable - just as this dinner party was for me. Afterwards, my friend told me she'd been taking belly dancing lessons and had found out who could do a show - it didn't cost her much but she said it was well worth every cent to see the delight on the faces of her guests.
Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.
The Hostess with the Mostess