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Christmas party ideas #2 - the intimate dinner

Christmas party ideas #2 - the intimate dinner

Sarah Green
3 December 2010

Christmas is the time to catch up on close friends and family – the perfect occasion for an intimate dinner party. Make a date to do this before festive work functions and family commitments take over.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate! Just simple fresh food. It’s all about being around those you love and spending quality time with them. We never know what life is going to dish out so make the most of now and enjoy those special people.

The key here is again being organised and delegating a few tasks to those coming. Ask someone to bring the champagne, someone red wine, another chocolates, and another a bunch flowers for the table.

I find outsourcing those jobs better than asking them to bring food – too much room for error here.

Now the menu – simple, simple, simple …

As a before-dinner snack, try a big bowl of salted pistachios in their shells to serve with champagne.

Then for the main, eye fillet steaks on the BBQ with Dijon mustard (or béarnaise sauce if you have time).

Béarnaise sauce

You’ll need:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 250g melted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Then you:

  1. Place the egg yolks, wine, vinegar, tarragon, salt, pepper and chopped onion in a food processor and blend for about two minutes.
  2. Add the melted butter slowly in a fine stream with the machine running and process for another two minutes.
  3. Finally add the chopped parsley and pulse twice to incorporate (you don't want the sauce to turn green).
  4. Serve drizzled over the steak or place in a jug on the table.
Salad (serves eight)

I love a big green salad packed with goodies. Nothing tricky, just tried and true.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oak lettuce, washed and wrapped in tea towel to remove moisture
  • Punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Small cucumber, sliced finely
  • Button mushrooms, wiped and sliced finely
  • 2 bunches asparagus, blanched
  • Small tub sundried tomatoes
  • 1 avocadoes, decadent but divine
  • 1 red capsicum, roasted and sliced (optional if you don’t have time)
  • Toasted pinenuts
  • Vinaigrette

Then you:

  1. On a large platter, starting with the lettuce, layer up the ingredients finishing with a scattering of roasted pinenuts and drizzle over the vinaigrette.
  2. Use gorgeous servers for the salad (the small detail that adds wow). Also, presenting the salad like this and not tossing has greater wow factor as well.
Dessert

For me nothing beats a gorgeous sorbet at this time of the year. Try raspberry Sorbet with a few fresh raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

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