Yeah, I'm a hostess. I am one who hosts.

Last night I threw my first England dinner party, even if was a bit impromptu and scatter-brained. It still felt nice to have people over and to feed them. It began as a dinner for 2, and then 3, and then 5, and then 4, and then 5 again, all in a 24-hour period.

I went with what I had on hand, except for the fresh cilantro, because who even has something like that lying around? As the guest list grew I kept tossing in new things to make sure that people wouldn't turn on me and perhaps burn my house down if they weren't full enough at the end. Which, you know, Goldilocks is totally capable of . . .

But here was the menu, which I felt really good about until I saw what my showoffy wench of a sister was up to. Hmmph.


Boneless skinless chicken breasts--I marinated these in a lime/garlic/olive oil/cilantro concoction which turned out very well if I do say so myself.

Cilantro-lime rice--I got the idea from Chipotle which is not in UT yet but needs to get there, dangit. It kicks Cafe Rio's trash. And they play Pink Martini there. I love their chicken burrito bol with a pure and deep love. I made the rice like normal (I chose to burn the bottom third of the rice to the saucepan, but not everyone may feel comfortable doing this). The top two-thirds I removed and tossed with lime juice and fresh cilantro.

Cucumber-tomato salad--English cucumber and English tomato, diced, tossed in a Paul Newman vinaigrette.

Ciabatta rolls--On sale from Sainsbury's (4 for 50p), baked for 10 minutes.

Grapes and English strawberries--Obtained from market just before latest England match. Suckahs . . .

Individually packaged strawberry trifles and chocolate pudding--because I wanted dessert but couldn't be bothered to make one. Also it's just fun to eat things with those twee little dessert spoons.

Water--because I don't do that squash mess. I can find absolutely no redeeming quality to squash. There's enough there for a separate blog post, so I'll save it for later. I would have offered orange or pineapple juice or milk if I'd had any, but I didn't.

So even though I didn't have fresh-cut flowers on the table or nice jazzy music playing, and even though we had to rush to make it to a church thing afterward, and even though one friend missed her bus and thought she wasn't going to be able to make it, and even though I was still cooking when people arrive (this always happens) it was a nice time. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food, and my sweet Chinese friend even brought me a box of chocolates, which I was not expecting. It's this amazing Lindt collection and nearly every one has hazelnut of some kind in it. So yeah, heaven, pretty much. I've got to start doing that. I've written thank-you notes after dinner invites, but getting an actual present seems way better.


Cicada said... [reply]

And then you didn't share the chocolates with your guests. I loved that part.

Also, you can find cilantro in England? Maybe I wasn't looking, but I swear to you that it did not exist at ALL in Italy. In fact, near the end of my mission, when I was at a South American investigator's house, I ate something she prepared and almost started crying for joy because it had cilantro in it and I'd almost forgotten that blessed taste. She said that she couldn't find cilantro in Italy, either, and that this cilantro had been brought to her by a South American friend straight from SA earlier that week.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Oh . . . right. Forgot about that part. I was running around cooking. And serving people. If we'd sat around chatting after dessert I might have thought about it, but as it was people were rushing to finish and head out the door.

Cilantro is called coriander here in England, and that's how I found it. And it was lovely and only cost 75p for a huge bunch.

The McCulloch Family said... [reply]

Did you know that cilantro and coriander are the same plant? And the name is based on when it's harvested. I think. Also, I am going to make that cilantro lime rice tomorrow, since I have all the ingredients on hand! :)
I'm glad you had a good time. I miss going to your house and eating.

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

Chipotle is really that much better than Cafe Rio, huh? Wow. 'Cause I love Cafe Rio. We'll have to remember to go to Chipotle next time we're in Denver.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Your spread sounds amazing and quite sophisticated. I am quite impressed. (Especially in that you put it all together in so short a time. You truly are Food Network worthy.

TannerJ5 said... [reply]

So have you heard of that food network show where they compete to have a show on food network?(and a million bucks, a nice bonus prize)You should be on it.I think.Also, have you forgotten that some of us out here do not know how much a pound is worth in american money?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Dangit Cici, I'm still feeling bad about not sharing. Only this was how it happened. I took the box of chocolates and set them on the counter, and then everything got crazy and I didn't even think of them again until I got back home at midnight. At which point I ate Every. Last. One.

Hello my sister. According to the Wikipedia, we Americans call it cilantro (especially the leaves) because that's the Spanish name for it, and coriander is from the Latin name.

Okay, now, SB, don't stone me or anything if you don't like it as much as Cafe Rio. Their menu items are different so it kind of depends one what it is at Cafe Rio that you love.

Divine Miss, you are sweet to me.

Tanner, your compliments make me blush, but I'm sure being on a show like that would give me a heart attack! And thanks for the hint about US/UK currency. For most things you can just think of it as being the same (a 15-dollar CD in the US will cost 15 pounds in the UK). Because the pound is so much stronger than the dollar, though, as an American you would spend nearly $30 to buy a 15-pound CD, so you might as well save your money and buy it when you get home. One exception to this rule seems to be books, though. The books cost less here, so that comes out about even.

CoolMom said... [reply]

Cilantro and limes have become regulars in our 'fridge. So, now will you please share the recipe for the rice? We would've had that today with the grilled shrimp we made, doused with none other than,,,,,,,lime juice and olive oil.

Saxon said... [reply]

Makes mental note
Hazelnit and choclate gets u out of her bad books. :-)

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