Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dinner Party - Starter

The Dressed Table
After having served the amouse bouche or canapes and the guests have relaxed a bit, I am asking to the table. I love the reaction I normally get when people are coming for the first time and see the dressed table (all others take it as given that the table looks good). It is not that difficult or expensive to have a great dressed table (the 'tablecloth' is a bed sheet and the glasses were on special offer in Dunnes a while back for €20 for a set of 2 x 6 glasses).

Marinate Goats Cheese
You want to spend as much time as possible with your guest, so make sure that you can prepare as much as possible. I opted for a marinated goats cheese with a pear & walnut salad. The cheese is marinated for 48 hrs which ensures that the flavour of the garlic and herbs can infuse properly. For this starter I served a Sauvignon Blanc from  Bordeaux 'Chateau Haute Maurin' - an excellent choice recommended by The Wine Buff in Oliver Plunket Street.

Marinated Goats' Cheese (leave to marinate for 48hrs)
  • 4 small goats' cheese (I used crottin from Iago)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • Seasoning
Chop the herbs and mix with the oil, garlic and seasoning. Pour over the goats cheese and leave to marinate for 48 hrs (turn the cheeses a few times)

Pear & Walnut Salad
  • 1 pear (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp walnut pieces
  • mixed salad leaves
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • The Wine
  • Seasoning
Put the salad leaves in a bowl  with the sliced pear and walnuts. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a jar and shake well. Toss the salad in the dressing (less is sometimes more, keep tasting it, you might don't need all of the dressing). Arrange the salad on plates and lay the marinated goats cheese on top.

Bon Appetit

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