I had people over for dinner a couple of days ago. It’s been a long time since I had a dinner party at home and I realized how much I miss it. From planning the menu to preparing the dishes to buying flowers and changing the drapes, there’s nothing to dislike about good company and delicious food.
I thought I’ll keep the food simple and straightforward and what’s simpler than Italian food? I sliced up a big loaf of baguette, lightly toasted it with some olive oil and smeared it with some mashed chickpeas and sundried tomato topping; I suddenly felt like Jamie Oliver, preparing a 15 minute meal. That’s all it took, 15 minutes to actually make a fancy bruschetta.
I decided to make the salad during the day – a roasted pumpkin salad with basil, walnuts and gorgonzola. Other than chopping up the pumpkin and preparing the salad dressing, this too was barely any work. FYI, pumpkins roasted in olive oil is something everyone should indulge in often, either in the form of soup or salad – delicious is an understatement.
For the mains, I thought I’ll make two kinds of pastas – a fettuccine with lemon cream and torn up basil and farfalle in charred red bell pepper sauce. I don’t know about you but for me, when everything goes well in the kitchen as per the plan there has to be a glitch and this time it was my farfalle pasta. It became too salty to the point of being inedible. My polite guests didn’t speak a word of it until I asked them how they managed to eat it.
And then my favourite part of any meal, the pièce de résistance of this post – the dessert. I sometimes like to be adventurous and treat my guests as guinea pigs. It was probably not a hit but I really like my no-churn olive oil ice cream. Perhaps a bit too sweet for some people but the fruity hint of the olive oil and the sweetness from the condensed milk worked very well for me.
I made the ice cream a day head so it has an entire night to set but the actual preparation took me less than 10 minutes. I don’t mean to sound like Nigella here, but having people over for dinner doesn’t have to be quite so daunting and scary, if you are smart and understand how to choose your dishes. Remember though, to keep your salt in check!
- 400 ml condensed milk
- 250 ml whipping cream
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- In a bowl, combine the condensed milk, olive oil, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks.
- Fold ½ the cream into the olive oil mixture. After combining, fold in the remaining cream.
- Pour the prepared ice cream mixture into a loaf tin. Leave it in the freezer to set for overnight.