Things I Didn’t Like – Mother’s Day 2016

I know this post title sounds cryptic but bear with me, for Mother’s day this year Heather (my sister), Graham (my brother-in-law) and I decided to cook for our two mother’s – and as they’re like a double act that wasn’t hard to do. As always Heather came up with the idea Christmas time and, after, some discussions and some delayed emails we decided on a menu of taster dishes which we’d prepare in advance and on the day – there was one snag…. Jeremy Corbyn.

Mother's Day 2016 - Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and I at the Annual Kier Hardie Lecture

Mother’s Day 2016 – Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and I at the Annual Kier Hardie Lecture

Don’t get me wrong the Labour Leader doesn’t normally affect my plans but Saturday 5th March he was guest speaker in the Kier Hardie Lecture in Rhondda Cynon Taff and I had tickets! Was I going to pass that up for my beloved family…. no! 😆 , no I’m not that harsh Heather and I worked a compromise where her and Graham did some things in advance in their house and I prepared some in advance at home and we brought it all together on the day (well they did mainly, I just sat around 😀 )!

Mother's Day 2016 - The joys of soaking bread for the Gazpacho

Mother’s Day 2016 – The joys of soaking bread for the Gazpacho

Now, you’re probably wondering why the post is titled the way it is, well let me start with Thursday – I was making Gazpacho, I will publish the recipe in a the week, but let me tell you, it was not my favourite thing to cook. I hate getting my hands dirty and this recipe called for soaking bread (see above) in water for twenty minutes, squeezing the bread dry then ripping it up into chunks, before blending…. yuck :mrgreen: !

Mother's Day 2016 - The Gazpacho garnished with croutons and finely diced peppers, cucumber and spring onions

Mother’s Day 2016 – The Gazpacho garnished with croutons and finely diced peppers, cucumber and spring onions

Was it worth it, it really was! I had my doubts I’d only tried Gazpacho once or twice and couldn’t really get passed the cold soup thought. This was really refreshing, and great with the added garnishes of croutons, finely diced pepper, cucumber and spring onion. This was a real surprise with me, even though I made it I thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did everyone else.

Mother's Day 2016 - The starters in all their glory

Mother’s Day 2016 – The starters in all their glory

The starters are above, working our way around the table starting at the top left hand corner (by Heather’s hand) we have:

  • Garlic Sautéed Mushrooms,
  • Toast for Pâté (shop bought Pâté under Heather’s Hand)
  • Prawn Cocktail Spoons
  • Beetroot, Horseradish Crème Fraîche and Warm Smoked Salmon Shells,
  • Gazpacho Espresso Cups
  • Garnish for the Gazpacho (finely diced pepper, cucumber, spring onion and croutons)

There wasn’t anything on here that I didn’t like but there were some surprises, I had always been put off Horseradish by mother who doesn’t like it but we are both converts now, I know you can get different strengths but Graham mixed it with the Crème Fraîche and it was excellent with the picked Beetroot and Smoked Salmon. For the Beetroot pickle I was a bit scared, I had to deviate off my normal recipe which usually goes down very well with the family, especially Heather. I didn’t have any Balsamic Vinegar (which isn’t like me) so I used White Balsamic Vinegar instead (150ml of White Balsamic Vinegar, 250ml of Red Wine Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Salt and Pepper to taste). On the theme of things I didn’t like I’ve been proved wrong here, twice once with the Gazpacho and secondly with the Horseradish.

Mother's Day 2016 - The main courses ready to be eaten

Mother’s Day 2016 – The main courses ready to be eaten

Again, starting top left hand corner and working our way around we have:

  • Pork Three Ways starting with Pork Belly Squares,
  • Potato and Apple Rostis,
  • Pork Cheeks in a Paprika Sauce
  • Chicken and Chorizo Risotto,
  • Wraps
  • Sweet Potato Fries,
  • Salad Garnish
  • Pulled Pork in the middle by the Hoisin Sauce

There wasn’t anything here I didn’t expect to like, but I hadn’t tried Pork Cheeks before, and they were a revelation, so much that I finished them off the next night. The sauce was awesome, there was a hint of smokiness from the paprika but it wasn’t too heavy. I also loved the Sweet Potato Wedges, Graham roasted them with some Herbs De Provence Alice (my Niece) had bought for me. The Risotto was also excellent, and was another dish that acted as my tea the next night and the night after for that matter. Graham and Heather made all of the main course, and it was all superb, and, as you can imagine I’ll be pinching their recipe for Risotto and the Pork Cheeks soon for you all! We went for Pork as the main component for this course because it’s my mother’s favourite meat.

Mother's Day 2016 - Our mini deserts

Mother’s Day 2016 – Our mini deserts

Here are two of our three deserts, Strawberry tartlets and mini Raspberry Pavlovas. Graham and I can take no credit for this course, well not as far as I know anyway because Heather did it all… in fact I’m now calling her Heather Berry.

Mother's Day 2016 - Mini trifles as part of the desert course

Mother’s Day 2016 – Mini trifles as part of the desert course

Oh yes, wait there’s more mini shop bought mince pies and mini Strawberry and Kirsh Triffles. These were awesome, and a great way to end our meal, the recipes, and processes for these will follow soon.

Heather, Graham and I after the meal

Heather, Graham and I after the meal

We all had a fantastic time, Graham’s mother enjoyed herself, my mother enjoyed herself and even enjoyed the Horseradish Crème Fraîche. The biggest revelations of the night for me were Gazpacho which was extremely refreshing, so much so I finished the last one off and Graham’s Pork Cheeks (that’s not an insult) and his risotto….. recipes to follow, I hope!

It’s important to remember when planning a dinner party, manage your expectations.  Make some things in advance, buy some things and get as much preparation done as early as you can – and most importantly enjoy yourself.  And if you can’t think of what to cook, make a taster menu, lots of little things gives people more choice and it can often be easier than three larger courses.

I couldn’t go without telling you about the other thing I ended up eating that I didn’t like…. I was going to leave this paragraph out because there’s not mushroom for it…. but then I realised I was such a fun guy I had to put it in… 😳 Yep you guessed it I think I’m starting to like mushrooms, garlic mushrooms in the starter, well let’s just say I polished quite a few off.

Mothers Day Meals by Dave Hole

Mothers Day Meals by Dave Hole

I’ll be back on the weekend with a 6 Nations post but until then have a good week, I know this hasn’t been Time-Saving Tuesdays but there’s plenty of them to come. Thanks to Dave for this excellent logo, and Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you mams and mams to be out there. Don’t forget to get in touch with your ideas, pictures, comments etc, I’d love to hear from you.Wheelie Good Meals Social NetworkingIncidentally the Kier Hardie Lecture was an excellent event with 1000 people turning up to see and listen to him Jeremy Corbyn speak. Thanks to Greg as always for his company, photography and driving, a really good day all round.

Getting Back In The Dinner Party Saddle

It’s been a long time since I threw my last dinner party, it’s like riding a horse if you fall off you’ve got to get straight back on.  I haven’t actually fallen off the proverbial horse but I was in hospital for a while and the desire to entertain was left in hospital…. Anyway sob story over in the words of some famous actor “I’M BACK”!  I decided to throw a small dinner party for my two mates Ben (The Hair) and Ronnie (Lil’ Flip) to try out my old trusted Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (see here for details and a new recipe Cajun Chicken, Chunky Chips, Home Made Pesto and a Raita (recipe and instructions to follow).  I followed those two courses with my mother’s home made brownies and Häagen-Dazs Pralines and Cream Ice Cream (sadly no photos of this one).  It was on the whole a success although I think I’d serve something green on the plate next time as the colours were a bit monotone.  Keep your eyes peeled for more dinner party pics and more new recipes.

Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Cajun Chicken, Chunky Chips, Home Made Pesto and a Raita

Cajun Chicken, Chunky Chips, Home Made Pesto and a Raita

Don’t forget to get involved at Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ and Pintrest Are you having a Dinner Party, share your recipes, ideas and photographs with us on our social networking pages.  We’d love to hear from you we want you to get involve and help Wheelie Good Meals develop.  If you have any questions you’d like to ask about either myself or the Wheelie Good Meals concept please feel free to drop us a line on enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk.  Come back again soon and, together, we’ll make more Wheelie Good Meals!

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