Saturday, 20 August 2011

Easy entertaining

I love hosting and entertaining at home, although I find the cooking part a bit stressful. Partly because I'm not a great cook, and partly because I want to serve food I know my friends will enjoy and I appreciate not all of like as simple food!!

So the challenge is always to find food that is tasty, healthy, contains no dairy, sugar or gluten and, above all, is appealing to my friends. Last Friday I served up this three course dinner that was super easy to make, very healthy, and went down a treat.

Starter: Avocado and mint salad
Cut a ripe avocado in half, scoop out each section whole with a spoon and slice into thin slices. Arrange half an avocados worth of slices fanned out on a small plate.
Pour over one tbsp of vinegraitte dressing onto each avocado half - either home made or be lazy like me and use Newman's own Italian dressing. Squeeze over 1tsp of fresh lime juice.
Sprinkle over some chopped mint leaves and garnish with a slice of lime.
NB prepare this just before serving so the avocado doesn't go brown

Main: Pesto salmon with garlic sweet potatoes
The salmon recipe is adapted from this great Delia Smith recipe. Very easy and tasty, but I leave out the cheese, use 3 tbsps Meridian dairy free pesto mixed with 2 tbsp breadcrumbs, made from Warburtons gluten free bread. Even if you're not dairy free, making this version makes the recipe alot healthier.

I love sweet potatoes and I love garlic so the Kind diet recipe for cuban sweet potatoes is one of my fave ways to serve them - however I don't like the garlic raw so I add it before I cook the potatoes. If you don't like garlic at all just roast them with salt and pepper.

I served this with a side of steamed fine green beans, but some wilted spinach or baby leaf salad would work equally well.

Dessert Individual raspberry crumbles
Share out 170g pack of rinsed fresh raspberries (I used M&S as they're reliably sweet) between two ramekins.
Pour 1 tsp agave syrup over each, and then sprinkle with a little cinnamon.
In a bowl mix 1/2 a cup of ground almonds with a small pinch of salt.
Separately combine 20ml grapeseed oil with 15ml agave syrup and then pour over the ground almonds. Mix together til it forms a crumble mix. If you prefer more topping just make up double.
Share the crumble mix out between the two ramekins, push down slightly and cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 minutes until the top is garden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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