Each year on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day) I host a dinner party in my home for some friends.  This year I am not going to be in Boston so I brought the dinner party forward to this past Saturday.  I was joined by seven for dinner, eight for dessert and nine for after dinner drinks and a leftover plate.

Dinner for Eight – this is how elegant they always start out…

As with all my dinner parties, the aim is to have an elegant evening of dinner, wine and intellectual conversation with friends J.  Hmmm, they never turn out like that.  We do a Yankee swap and that drops the tone to an all time low every year.  I can’t even bring myself to share with you one of the gifts from last year.  This year was actually quite tame and the most wanted gift of the night was the blue snuggie.  

I spend a lot of time putting together my menu and always try to come up with a fun theme.  Last year I took my friends back to my home country of England with Shepherd’s Pie and Trifle amongst other English delights.

This year I decided to do a wine tasting dinner and I have to say it was so much fun coming up with the menu and seeing my friends thoroughly enjoy everything.  For the first time ever I made duck and it turned out amazing.  I was so proud of myself.

For the menu…

Appetizers

Shrimp & Avocado Salsa in Pita

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Paired with Prosecco

Shrimp & Avocado Salsa in Pita

 

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

 

Entrée

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breast
Paired with Sauvignon Blanc

Seared Duck with Red Wine and Fig Sauce
Paired with Pinot Noir

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breast

 

Seared Duck with Red Wine and Fig Sauce

 

Side Dishes

Mushroom & Pea Risotto

Parmesan Asparagus

Dessert

Fresh Berry Panna Cotta
Paired with Port

Fresh Berry Panna Cotta

 

As always I stress a little about my dishes.  It is more the timing of making everything not the actual making of the dish.  As I have a small kitchen and one oven like a lot of people, timing is everything!  I did have a little panic attack when trying to make the chicken, duck and risotto all at the same time.  I was stuffing, stirring, chopping, sautéing, baking, roasting and almost crying while my guests enjoyed their wine and conversation.

In the end the evening turned out to be a fantastic night, even for me.  It was not so fantastic still cleaning up at 4am and waking up to the tinsiest of hangovers on Sunday! 

I will be sharing some of the recipes over the next few weeks.

And finally the snuggie!!!  No more an elegant dinner party…