Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dominican Dinner Party

This dinner party idea is inspired by a site where I got to read about Dominica

At another site I read that Dominica "is not your ordinary fun-in-the-sun kinda island. It's a mysterious, romantic, natural island where you will encounter a French-Creole culture with the overtones of a British heritage".

Dominica is a small island located between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean and this is definitely on my list of countries to visit.

Whilst many of my friends know the country's name and have a rough idea of its whereabouts -few know about its history. A dinner party is the ideal way to share my new found interest with friends by introducing them to its tasty food and maybe sharing a little about what I now know. Chances are it will get on friend's lists of placed to visit too.

A little about Dominica's food:

Dominica's food is very fresh and healthy and is often cooked in a Creole style featuring a spicy sauce or dish made especially with tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, and seasoning. Whilst most of the cooking on Dominica is island Creole, you can also enjoy Continental and North American cuisines too. Fresh fish and seafood are found on every menu.

Dominica's cuisine is simple and that's a good start. It consists of basic fried chicken, seafood dishes and Creole cuisine like goat columbo and callaloo soup (a creamed spinach type soup). Roti, the curry-filled flat bread is a Caribbean staple.

The cuisine is based on root vegetables like yams or turnip, spinach, watercress, chicken, goat and seafood (fish, crabs, crayfish and octopus). Meat is one of the main elements of most Dominican dishes and cured and smoked hams are often used in their cooking.

The food is often flavored with the earthy aroma of curry and coconut milk. Fresh herbs like parsley, celery, chive, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg and cloves are also commonly used in the cooking.

Bello Hot Pepper Sauce is made locally and served everywhere with almost everything. It contains Scotch Bonnet Pepper, papaya, onion, vinegar, salt, and spices.

Inviting guests

Ask your guests to come dressed for the occasion - what would they be wearing down to a Caribbean dinner by the beach? - shorts, flowing shirts, straw hats?

To set your scene

Dominica is a beautiful Caribbean island - so this is a great Summertime dinner party idea and perfect for the outdoors. This will be a low key affair to be enjoyed by all.

Light your dining area with candles or hanging lanterns - you want a laid back, relaxed feel to the night.

Place some exotic flowers as your centrepiece or have some lovely hand-painted candles on show. Alternatively, place a straw basket brimming with exotic fruit somewhere in your room and nicely lit.

Maybe greet your guests with a cocktail - a Pina Colada maybe with the popular coconut and pineapple flavors.

Have some music playing in the background - Calypso, Reggae or Smooth Jazz.

The meal

People from Dominica prefer light and spicy fish or seafood dishes served with plenty of vegetables and greens. The visual attractiveness, like the balance between colors and proportion is important.

A typical meal eaten by a Dominican family could consist of Black Bean Soup, Coconut Grouper and Corn Pudding. I found the recipes on this website: or you could cook one of the many Creole recipes as found at this site

After your meal, you could also serve a fresh platter of exotic tropical fruits like mango slices, banana, guavas, tangerines, oranges, pineapple and papaya.

During the evening, you could even educate your friends on Dominica which celebrates its 30 year of independence.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, check out this great book about Dominica:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Meet the neighbours over a dinner party

This dinner party idea is for those who would like to get to know their neighbours better.

Imagine if you started a street dinner party theme where a few households got involved and took turns at hosting a dinner party get-together? The beauty of this idea is that you really are within walking distance so no-one needs to drive. You can all let your hair down and know that when the dinner ends you'll be home real soon.

You can incorporate some other ideas into this sort of dinner - you could ask each household to bring a course or even make it a roving dinner where you have a starter at the first house, main at the next and dessert at the last.

My neighbours are wonderful and we have built good friendships and we definaitely keep an eye out over each other's properties.

Bring the good old days back with some neighbourly good will for your next dinner party?

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, check this out:

Give the ultimate Chocolate Gift with a personalized message made from high quality, luscious Belgian Chocolate. Perfect for corporate events, holidays, baby showers, parties, anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions. Your message will be spelled out on individual pieces of chocolate and decorated with an array of delectable symbols including smiley faces, hearts, stars, Christmas trees and four leaf clovers. Your Chocotelegram can be delivered in an elegant cardboard package or a luxurious wooden box.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, February 22, 2008

Academy Awards dinner party

Roll out the red carpet for this dinner party with a difference - share a meal with your friends and watch the Academy Awards..

As your guests arrive, you might want them to place their guesses on who will win the Oscars on the night.

Go to the official site to see all the nominees..

Glam, glitz,dinner and friends..what could be better?

This really is a fun night..

Don't forget the popcorn..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Poaching a whole fish for your dinner party main course is easy and painless

This post is inspired by an article I’d read in the Gourmet Traveler magazine – it said “poaching a whole fish makes for a very impressive and relatively painless main course for dinner parties”. Well, of course that caught my attention – it was “the catch of the day” for me! Excuse the bad joke!

It goes on to say that the delicate cooking method if done correctly highlights the pure flavor of the fish (unadulterated by oil).

The advice is to invest in a “fish kettle” which is available from kitchenware stores. It is a long and narrow saucepan with a lid and comes in very hand for cooking a whole fish.

Fish can be poached in salted water but the most popular “court bouillon” is more commonly used which is a simple stock of celery, parsley, onion, bay leaves and sometimes combinations of other herbs and spices. You can also add a little acid like lemon juice or vinegar which adds to the great taste sensation (especially with oilier fish like salmon or ocean trout).

The process of poaching should be gentle with the liquid kept around 80 degrees. If you don’t have the luxury of a thermometer, you need to look for small bubbles rising and breaking on the surface. This gentle heat keeps the flesh light and flaky.

To test if the fish is ready, the most reliable method is to slit the fish at the backbone and lift the flesh that is closest to the bone and check that it’s not too pink in color.

The best way to serve the fish is to gently peel back the skin using your fingers or a knife. Discard the skin and flake off the bone in large chunks.

Thanks Gourmet Traveler for this great dinner party tip!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, February 17, 2008

MS Global Dinner Party

It’s that time of year again – it's nearly time for the next MS Global Dinner Party.

Join thousands of people around the world gathering together on February 23, 2008 in support of MS research.

Gather your friends together, have a great dinner together and help a wonderful cause!

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cheat's dinner party - meal for six in less than an hour

I'm always on the look out for new dinner party ideas and themes but I couldn't resist sharing this article I found printed online in the Telegraph, UK by Annie Nichols.

This meal for six in an hour for around £5 per head includes:

Starter: Bay baked ricotta
Main course: Mussels with orange and leeks
Pudding/Dessert: Chocolate and honeycomb fondueTotal cost of ingredients £22.60

The fantastic part of it is that the recipes are included and Annie takes you step by step of what you should do within each 10 minutes period to make everything within an hour!
Cheat's dinner party - Telegraph

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, I found this book that Annie has co-authored:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A £15,000 dinner party

Recently I posted an item about hiring a top chef for your dinner party if money is no object. This seems a worldwide trend. Today whilst searching the news, I find an article about the very thing in London. You might like to read the whole article which I've included in a link below.

"For City bankers, eating in expensive restaurants has been replaced by sumptuous feasts in their own homes. Bryony Gordon reports on the rise of five-figure fine dining where Michelin chefs, magicians and custom-made weather are all available."

Bryony Gordon: £15,000 for dinner? That's just for starters - Telegraph

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who is the Best Iron Chef At Your Dinner Party?

Tried this dinner party idea? The article I've attached says:

"Like their television counterparts, the Lander family treats the secret ingredient with reverence.

It is concealed under a domed basket as it is carried into the family's gorgeously appointed kitchen. With great dramatic flourish, it is revealed to their eager guests.

Thus begins the cook-off, a reality television-inspired dinner party that pits guests against one another to create the most beautiful, original and best-tasting dish using the secret ingredient."

What a fabulous dinner party idea - an idea which fits in nicely with all of the other theme ideas I regularly bring you and one that sounds like a lot of fun.

The way I see it is that with a little more thought you can make your dinner party one your guests will remember forever. You think about the dinner parties you've been to. Which stand out? I bet it's the ones where something was different in some way - otherwise they all seem to blend in with each other. With just a little effort and fore thought you can make your next dinner pasty a smash!

'Iron Chef' comes to dinner parties

Blogged with Flock

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, why not take a look at these sauces.. this should help your guests create more flavor combined with their secret recipe ingredient!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chinese Year of the Rat Dinner Party Idea

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Spring Festival heralds the New Year of the Rat. The celebrations begin on February 7 and continue for the first 15 days of the New Year and culminate with the Lantern Festival at the full moon. Why not consider a unique dinner party during this period with a Chinese theme?

The Year of the Rat also marks the world's great expectations towards Beijing, the host city of the 2008 summer Olympic Games.

"A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find."

Invite your friends to a Chinese banquet and see in the new Chinese year together.

I'll be posting more detail on how to host a Chinese dinner party soon.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas also.

In the meantime, why not let your guests taking away a parting gift:

The Hostess with the Mostess