Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dinner Party


One week of holidays had passed and I had the urge to cook and bake. And with that thought, I invited a group of friends over to enjoy some nice home cooked food, especially for a rainy day, when we were supposed to play oz tag. I had the help of a few friends to make this dinner a success, with both the making and eating.

After a few hours of thinking, I finally decided on a dinner menu composed of:
> Feta and eggplant meatballs with tzatziki (recipe by Donna Hay)
Jools Pregnant Pasta
> Salad
> Apple and strawberry crumble cake

Feta and eggplant meatballs with tzatziki (Makes roughly 36)
400g eggplant (aubergine), finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
500g mince beef
1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves (flat-leaf parsley can also be used)
1/3 cup chopped mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
200g of crumbed feta 
sea salt and cracked black pepper
lemon wedges to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place the chopped eggplant on a baking tray and drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Pre-cooked egg plant

2. Place the eggplant, mince, parsley, mint, garlic, lemon zest, feta, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix until well combined.

Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.

4. Place oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 3-4 minutes of until browned.

5. Place meatballs on a baking tray, and place in oven and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.

6. Serve with tzatziki and lemon wedges.

Finished product
+ The meatballs can be made in advance and refrigerated until it is ready to be cooked and served
+ Once cooked, I find that the meatballs can be eaten hot or even somewhat cold with the taste still being great.

Tzatziki (Makes 2 1/4 cups)
2 cups (560g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and grated
2 tablespoons of chopping mint leaves
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and cracked pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. 
2. Refrigerate until ready to be served.
3. Squeeze a wedge of lemon before serving to give it an extra kick.

+ I strained the yoghurt through a thin cloth to remove some of the excess liquid.
+ I removed the seeds from the cucumber to further reduce the amount of liquid that may be present.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble Cake200g butter, at room temperature
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (green one), peeled, cored, thickly sliced
  • 200g strawberries, washed, hulled, halved

  • Crumble topping
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 50g chilled butter, chopped
  • 55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar


1. Lightly grease a round 20cm springform pan with non-stick spray (or melted butter) and line the base with non stick baking paper.
2. Preheat oven to 180C.
3. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Shift in flour into the butter mixture.
5. Using a spatula fold in flour and milk until well combined.
6. Spoon into the prepared pan. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the surface. Arrange the apple and strawberry on top.

To make the crumble:

Place the flour and butter in a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
8. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apple and strawberry.

9. Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
10. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to slightly cool. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

+ You can bake the cake in advance and heat up each slice before serving for a few seconds.

+ Serving the cake with ice-cream, custard or cream can add a little more of a sweet touch.
+ Recipe from

This whole entire meal fed 10 people with great feedback on how good the meal was. It was a meal for the masses, without the expensive cost. Thanks to all those who came and ate, and to those that helped make it a success.

Good food, good times!


Spencer 13 December 2011 at 13:34

Looks absolutely delicious! Loving that dessert.

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