I hosted a dinner party recently, a reciprocal dinner party of sorts, to thank our guests for a delicious meal they'd cooked for The Boy and I some weeks earlier. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about cooking for said friends, the meal we enjoyed at their place was delicious Okonomiyaki and I wasn't sure I could serve anything as tasty. I thought about 'winging it' and cooking recipe free, but I really wanted to serve something perfect, and with unattainable perfection in mind, I turned to my first (cooking) love for a little help: Jamie Oliver.
I know Jamie isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I adore him. He sparked my interest in food and in cooking, and his fourth book in particular (Jamie's Kitchen) taught me how to fillet a fish, bake bread, make pasta from scratch, and really introduced me to the idea that cooking for friends is fun. And it is, when you relax, and I did, thanks to the below recipes:
I didn't alter these recipes much at all. I probably used more herbs in the lasagne than the recipe calls for, and I didn't use anywhere near as much creme fraiche as is suggested either. For the pear tart I baked a pastry shell as per this recipe, it turned out well despite my opening the oven door about thirty times to make sure I hadn't burnt it, and I served the pear tart with a little more creme fraiche which I sweetened with icing sugar and a touch of cinnamon.
When you're cooking for friends who have read your recipe blog, there are certain expectations attached to any meal you prepare, the food had better taste damn good. It had better taste so good that your ceaseless photographing of the meal goes unnoticed, it had better taste so good that your friends won't post "SHE'S A FRAUD!!" comments all over your blog and expose you as an amateur, causing blogging shame. Needless to say, the entire lasagne was consumed, and the pear tart was delicious. Thankyou Jamie, you're my hero! <3