I love love love love watching Come Dine with Me on tv, the main reason being that I'm quite nosy and like to get a look at other people's houses! So when I was asked if I wanted to take part in a blogger's online version I jumped at the chance!
Research from Ocean has revealed that dining rooms are one of the least used in the house. Now this isn't true for me; I'm in mine all the time... I write in there, I read in there, it's where I got to talk on the phone because it's quiet and it's also where we eat every night. I wonder if perhaps the reason people are using their dining room less is because they prefer to sit in front of the tv to eat? But I do agree that we should love our dining rooms a little more, I'll be the first to admit that ours is a little bit of a dumping ground.. it's a constant battle to keep the table clear of everyday mess!
So step into my home and join me for dinner...
The first step for me was to start planning and as you can see above ^ I love a brain storm! I'd already decided who was getting an invite, and I as I eat with all of them pretty often I knew the sort of food they'd be happy to eat (luckily none of them have special dietary requirements).
My planning consisted of working out the 3 courses, decoration and entertainment. For the challenge we were limited to £50 so it was also important for me to work out the costings so I that I didn't overspend (eek) !
Now shall we get on with the important part, the food?!
The Starter - Vegetable Spring Rolls, served with Soy Sauce
Now for future reference I hate making filo pastry, I studied food and I have always hated pastry making.. but particularly filo. So it should be no surprise that I cheated a little bit here and bought the pastry ready-made. These spring rolls are really easy to make (if you buy the pastry) and taste even better than ready made ones.
You will need (to make 4 spring rolls):
Once you've got your ingredients ready, preheat your oven to 220C (I have no idea which gas mark that is sorry) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Then it's time to assemble:
The cost of making spring rolls is really low, you could make about 12 spring rolls for only a few pounds depending on what you already have and where you shop.
Main Course - Lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans in rosemary gravy
Now I know some people can find lamb quite tricky to cook, but it really doesn't need to be. This is actually a great recipe to just put in the oven and leave. You can carry on with your day and just let it cook slowly.
So first things first, get the lamb ready to cook.
For the gravy:
For the dauphinoise potatoes:
The green beans can be cooked however you prefer, personally I just boil them up until they are slightly tender.
Serve it all up on a plate and then tuck in.. YUMMY!
This one is really difficult to cost, but it should cost you much more than £15 depending on the lamb you buy.
The Dessert - Chocolate brownies, with walnuts, served with vanilla ice cream
You will need:
These are really easy to make, and are absolutely delicious. Trust me: these are popular!
These are another fairly inexpensive dish to make, and while it may not be the most sophisticated dessert I didn't hear any complaints!
I kept the table decor pretty simple, but seasonal. Our table doesn't really have enough room for large centerpieces, but I really love the simple elegance of the vase filled with pinecones. As we were eating in the evening, I later added some tealights around it on the table.
I absolutely loved my "Come Dine with Me" night, and I got full marks from my guests too, WOOHOO! We entertained ourselves by playing a couple of old board games that we all love, and just generally enjoying each others company.
I would definitely host another evening like this with my friends, and we've already decided that we're going to do it again at each other's homes. It was so much fun!
If you think your dining room needs a little bit of tlc, why don't you host your own "Come Dine with Me" night and get it full of the people you love!
I'd be thrilled to find out your thoughts on my night, what would you have cooked? Drop me a comment below!
Stay safe and get cooking, x