As I mentioned here and here, I held a little Christmas party recently. As I wasn't inviting that many people (there is definitely a limit in an apartment as tiny as ours) I felt I should be able to do a proper dinner for everyone, even if they did have to eat it from their laps while seated on the floor. Of course I made my usual mistake and tried to do too much. The Husband escaped to his work (he can't cope with the stress of the preparations) but luckily my lovely friend Dee rode to the rescue and slaved away all day with me. This was my menu:
Smoked salmon on crackers
Spiced, sweet mixed nuts
Moroccan spiced cauliflower & almond soup
8 hour roast pork shoulder with spicy pomegranate, chipotle sauce
chocolate pots served with spiced clementine segments and shortbread biscuits
Christmas themed mini-cupcakes
mini Christmas puddings
clementine curd meringue pie (supplied by my friend Richard)
So what was good? Well the pork shoulder (from the always fabulous Andrew Northrop Butchers) was amazing! Juicy, melting and an enormous amount of meat it is definitely the best value joint I have ever cooked. All the accompaniments were also very tasty.
I love my chocolate pots (mainly because I get to use these amazing espresso cups and beautiful glasses) made with a very easy recipe Jamie Oliver recipe and Christmas shaped shortbread is always a winner. We probably didn't need four deserts but who complains about too much desert?
On the negative side I managed to set fire to my spicy, sweet nuts. The Husband had to make an emergency dash to the balcony with them. The spiced clementine segments were disgusting and didn't make it out of the kitchen. I also overdid the harissa in the soup, even with half a pot of yoghurt it was too hot for most of my guests, though I have to give honorable mentions to the always brave Toria and Dee who claimed it cured her cold.
The lesson I am still trying to learn is not to make so much food. Next time either nibbles or starter (and easy on the harissa) not both. On the upside, I sent all my guests home with goodie bags and the leftovers made an excellent dinner the next day. If any of you are brave enough to hold a Christmas party, learn from my mistakes and keep it simple!