Winter Dinner Dates - The End

And as the sun starts to tickle our cold frail skin, the evenings draw out longer & the birds start their morning songs earlier, Winter Dinner Dates comes to an end. This weekend we celebrated the end of winter by having our own fabulous collection of little birdies over for an evening of chirping.

I realised as I was preparing the table, that this dinner involved guests with 3 of the best-est & loudest laughs that I know of, so it was bound to be an evening full of silliness & fun. And I wasn't disappointed. We laughed.
Until it hurt - and that is truly the best food for the soul & heart EVER.

Evenings like these, remind me of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family of friends here in South Africa. I can't imagine not having these special ladies in my world and I really appreciate the happiness that I feel when we're together. There is nothing better than deep uncontrollable, belly-full bouts of laughter.

So the food was kind of irrelevant and as there were a lot of us I kept it simple, with a couple of favourite tried & tested recipes, rotisserie chickens & a selection of salads to balance out the potato wedges.

Nigellas Roasted Nuts!
Roast a couple of cups of mixed nuts in the oven @ 180 degrees for about 10 mins & then  toss in this delicious spicy mix : 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper, 2 Tsp sugar, 2 Tsp salt, chopped rosemary & 10g melted butter.

For starters we had one of my favourite dinner party dishes : Butternut Risotto
The easiest,  1-pot wonder meal to whip up.


* 2 Rotisserie chickens (helps save on time & oven space which can become a problem when catering for a larger group)

* Baked potato wedges - super easy. Cut the potatoes in to quarters, drizzle with a good coating of oil, salt & pepper & back for 40 mins @ 200 degrees, turning a couple of times to ensure even crunch. Finish off with an extra sprinkle of chopped rosemary & Maldon salt.

* A selection of salads

Avo, orange & mixed lettuce salad, dressed with a squeeze of fresh orange, dash of white wine vinegar & glug of good olive oil.
Cucumber, tomato & red onion salad dressed with 1 Tsp white wine vinegar, healthy slosh of olive oil, squeeze of lemon & generous handful of fresh basil.
Celery, apple & grape salad with white wine & olive oil dressing.


Brownie smartie cake
I used a ready-to- make Brownie Kit, melted a bar one on top & decorated with Chuckles & Smarties

And some fresh strawberries dotted with delicate little LadurĂ©e meringues all the way from Paris ♥

And the beautiful & rather funny guests (if not a little fuzzy in places)
Amazing Karin & her (soon to be) twin boys

The Book Club couch vs The Silly Champagne-drinkers couch 

* Angus & Julia Stone
* Ellie Golding iTunes concert

And that, was that.
Winter's over (hopefully) but we really enjoyed hosting these dinner parties to maintain a bit of a social life during the colder months. They don't need to be a big mission & cost loads of money, and the value we got out of having our close friends over was invaluable. So I'm going to endeavour to maintain regular diners, catch-ups, nibbles, drinks or a packet of crisps with those special people we know, to stay connected & work those ab muscles from lots of heavy laughter.

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