Showing posts with label table setting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label table setting. Show all posts

Monday, 30 September 2013

a romantic italian theme night

I have been wanting to do a theme night for a while now, so I made it part of my September bucket list. As I wanted it to be a romantic evening, I decided it had to have an Italian theme.

I decorated the table with a red checked cloth to make it look authentic. I added candles and a rosemary plant. You can not have an Italian meal without Prosecco, it is a perfect accompaniment.
With olive bread and olives too, this is a winner.

Starter  - Bruschetta with tomato and basil.

Ingredients (for 2)
4 slces (2cm) ciabatta loaf
250g small plum tomatoes
5 fresh basil leaves torn
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove halved

  1. Toast ciabatta slices on a hot griddle pan for about 3 minutes each side. Leave to cool a little.
  2. Quarter the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Tear in the basil then add the oil, salt and pepper. Mix together, cover and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Lightly rub the garlic on both sides of each slice.
  4. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture on each slice of bread and place on serving board or plate.
  5. Drizzle with the remaining juices, then enjoy.

Main - Tagliatelle with prawns and creamy Marsala sauce.

15g salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
30g walnuts chopped
150g uncooked prawns, peeled
5 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
30ml Marsala wine
125ml double cream
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
200g fresh egg tagliatelle (shop bought or recipe here)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan over a low heat then fry the shallots and walnuts for 2 minutes.
  2. Over a medium heat add the prawns and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the Marsala wine and cook for another minute.
  4. Pour in the cream and the balsamic vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until 'al dente'. Drain and then tip back into the same pan.
  6. Pour in the cream sauce with the parsley. Toss everything together for about 30 seconds and serve. 
Dessert - Tiramisu

3 tablespoons drinking chocolate
150ml of semi-skimmed milk
150ml whipping cream
125g mascarpone cheese. 
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 lady finger (trifle) biscuits
2 chocolate flakes, or grated chocolate, to decorate.
  1. Put the drinking chocolate and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool when dissolved.
  3. Whip the cream in a bowl until you can make soft peaks.
  4. Add the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk for 10 seconds.
  5. Dip 4 biscuits into the chocolate milk for a couple of seconds on each side and put one on the base of each desert dish. 
  6. Share out half of the mascarpone cream between the dishes, to cover the biscuits.
  7. Add layers of biscuits and cream, depending on the dishes, finishing with a layer of the cream.
  8. Chill for one hour.
  9. Serve with chocolate flakes on each dessert.
Of course, you need some music while you dine. You can have the usual cheesy music, but why not try something a little different like Anna Tatangelo, keeping the Italian theme but making it a little more contemporary.

We finished the night off with Limoncello and a favourite film of mine, 'Under The Tuscan Sun.' It's so perfect and dreamy, just right for an Italian theme night.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, 31 March 2013


Happy Easter everyone! Hope you have all enjoyed lots of chocolate eggs and bunnies! This is how I decorated our dining room this year. This basket of flowers, we bought from a nursery, has made a fabulous centrepiece for the table; so colourful and bright. I put duck eggs in a bowl and an egg on each plate with table names on. So cute!

For lunch we decided to have roast chicken with pearl barley, instead of lamb, for a change. I used a recipe from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again as it went down a treat with the family. Empty plates all round!

For dessert we had a chocolate nest cake and chocolate mini egg buns. I did cheat here as I went to Marks and Spencers and saw this heavenly cake and thought to myself that it would so much better (and easier) to buy this.

I decorated the sideboard with chocolate eggs and daffodils, it is really versatile as I can dress it up for any occasion. My girls think I am obsessed with bunting but I love it and it always makes the room look inviting and pretty.

What have you done for Easter this year?

Friday, 15 February 2013

romantic meal for two

This was my table setting for a romantic meal for two that S and myself had on Valentines Day. I love the French shabby chic look so I tried to recreate it for the evening. Prosecco adds the finishing touch! Can you tell how much I love the colour pink?

Smoked salmon with prawns, horseradish cream and lime vinaigrette.
What a delicious and stunning starter! An easy twenty minutes of preparation and voila! The flavours all work so well together; a real taste of heaven! A real dinner party pleaser! The beauty of this recipe is you can make it in advance. I will definitely be making this for a meal with friends.

Stuffed chicken breast wrapped in pancetta

Another dinner party special! Simple and easy to prepare, this dish had a real wow factor! I didn't expect this to be as good as it was with it being so simple to make, but I was sooooo wrong! Melt in the mouth food!

Raspberry and rose trifles
A perfect Valentines Day dessert. Talk about save the best till last! Now I do like a good dessert but there are no words to describe how divine this trifle was. How many different words are there for delicious! Cointreau or raspberry liqueur can be used for a different twist too. Looking at the picture is really starting to make my mouth water!

What are your ideal recipes for a romantic meal?

(Click on the links for the recipes if you fancy making them, enjoy!)