One of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate any occasion and catch up with your friends is by throwing a dinner party. Whether it’s a simple supper for a handful of friends round your kitchen table or a lavish black tie extravaganza for 100 guests, enjoying good food and company is an invaluable pleasure.
March 8th, 2011 is the official 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. It’s a chance to celebrate the social, political, and economic achievements made by and for women around the world – but also speak out against the injustices and inequalities that many women still face.
To mark International Women’s Day, the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) is uniting women and men in solidarity to raise awareness and funds for this important cause by encouraging people to host a dinner party in aid of the white ribbon alliance, ensuring that you have a fun evening with friends – while also helping many other women in need of your support all over the world.
TV presenter June Sarpong, designer Ben de Lisi and interior designer Kelly Hoppen have contributed by sharing their favourite dinner party recipes to help you. So lets get cooking!
JUNE SARPONG’S GHANAIAN JOLLOF RICE AND CHICKEN STEW
1 medium onion,cut and diced
1 scotch bonnet (a hot Caribbean fresh pepper) chopped into little pieces
4 cloves of garlic chopped into tiny pieces
1 stock cube
1 small tin of tomato puree
1 400g tin of diced tomatoes 1 cup of coconut milk
3/4 of a bag of basmati rice
8 pieces of a chopped chicken
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
3 teaspoons of chicken seasoning
2 teaspoons of garlic granules
2 teaspoons of mixed Italian herbs
Throw the black pepper, chicken seasoning, garlic granules and Italian herbs onto the chicken, pour a little olive oil over it, stick it in a pan, cover with foil and roast on gas mark 4 for around 40 minutes. Make sure you turn them over halfway through.
For the rice and stew, pour about 5 tablespoons of olive oil into a pot, add onions, garlic, pepper and stock cube, and cook until brown. Add the tomato puree, slow cook on a medium flame for about 10 minutes, then add the tin of diced tomatoes. Leave to cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes, then add all of the stock from the roast chicken to the sauce. Separate the sauce into half; allow one half to simmer on a very low heat, add the rice and coconut milk to the remaining sauce and add salt to taste. Cover pot and leave to cook on the lowest heat possible for around 45 minutes, but double check that all of the rice is completely cooked through before you serve. Viola!
AUBERGINE CUTLETS A LA BEN DE LISI
4 large aubergines
3 or 4 eggs
50g plain flour
a bowl of breadcrumbs
a few tablespoons of olive oil dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of mixed Italian herbs
Cut the stalks off the end of the aubergines, but leave on the skins. Slice them lengthways into slices about 1cm thick. Lie them on a big platter, sprinkle with salt to draw out any bitter liquid. Meanwhile season the bread crumbs with salt, pepper and oregano. (You can substitute the breadcrumbs with crushed cornflakes).
After half an hour blot the aubergine slices. Dust each slice with flour, dip in the egg and then cover each side with breadcrumbs. Pour about 2cms deep of sunflower oil into a large frying pan and add a dollop of olive oil for flavour.
Put pan on a medium high heat until the oil is hot. Then brown the slices on each side for a minute or two. You can add chopped tomatoes, pesto or pecorino cheese to make this dish even more scrumptious and substantial.
KELLY HOPPEN’S EXPLODING BAKED APPLES
8 large cooking apples
1 cupful of roughly crushed almonds
1 cupful of roughly crushed walnuts
1 cupful of raisins
400g of honey
Half pint or 280 ml of water
600 ml of crème fraiche
Core the apples. Make some small cuts into the middle of the apples so that they explode better. Fill the centre of each apple with a mixture of the crushed almonds, crushed walnuts, raisins and honey.
Place the apples in a ceramic tray and pour in the water so that they are sitting in liquid.
Bake in the oven on a medium to high heat. Check on them regularly. When you see the apples beginning to explode, add more honey to the water and cook for a few more minutes or until the apples are soft inside. Take out of the oven, place on individual small plates and add a large dollop of crème fraiche before serving.
For further information and recipes visit the White Ribbon Alliance website.
[picture credits: skampy; chiodachic; paige_eliz; anjuli_ayer]