Plating up our latest stories
With the challenge to cook for my friends in a themed dinner party last weekend, I knew I had to impress while keeping the recipes simple enough to be able to do all preparation before they arrived.
My partner and I were the last round of 3 in a fun ‘Come Dine with Me’ competition, which not only was the perfect excuse to see our friends, which can be tricky when we all have young families, but a chance to put my culinary and decorating skills to the test. After enjoying both Olympic and Deep South themed dinners in the weeks prior, which I am proud to say featured Beef Bourguignon and ‘Shearers’ Lamb Shanks’, we knew we had to bring our A game.
Naturally, I called on our mEAT magazine archive of recipes once our Mexican ‘day of the dead’ theme was confirmed and found the Mexican Beef Sliders with Jalapeno Salsa and Avocado Cream a perfect fit of flavours guaranteed to impress. As I was using this dish as an entrée, I decided I wanted to keep it lighter and rather than serving as patties with a burger bun, I opted to leave out the egg and serve as a mince mixture ‘sauce’ with bread and instead served in a tortilla basket with a few corn chips. It was a hit and one friend had 3 helpings – he loved it so much, he said it was the best he had ever had. I think it was the Parmesan cheese and fresh oregano components that gave it a real zing leaving you wanting more, not to mention the ‘not so hot’ accompanying jalapeno salsa which uses pickled jalapenos (which means the normal chilli heat is really toned down). Luckily for some family visiting the next day, we enjoyed the leftovers for a leisurely Sunday long lunch.
The great thing is when working with versatile base ingredients such as beef and lamb, and more specifically beef mince, you can adapt the recipe to suit your culinary needs – whether it be making it lighter like I did, or bulking it up with extra vegetables, beans, lentils or rice to feed a extra mouth or two. The mEAT Magazine recipes all use ingredients that are all easily to access in your regular supermarket, and whilst they provide the option to use either fresh or dried herbs, I really found fresh oregano in this dish was definitely worth having on hand.
I am normally an avid photographer when it comes to impressive meals I’ve cooked, but I think with the excitement of the night I overlooked it, so instead a shot of my guest eagerly awaiting their first course (following margaritas of course).
I highly recommend themed dinner parties – they are so much fun and get you thinking outside the square to your normal recipe repertoire, which our range of meal solutions can be a solution for.
Cocina feliz (Happy cooking).