Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cooking Club: Winter Warmers

On Saturday night, my friends and I had our latest Cooking Club dinner. This time, we had a full table of six (seven including six week old baby Lucas). Our theme was 'Winter Warmers' and we all came away with a collection of delicious recipes perfect for the current cold nights. I remembered to take photos although they all have a golden glow to them as I couldn't suss out the lighting and camera settings.

To decorate the table, I used a piece of grey and white striped fabric as a runner (I had actually bought this fabric for our nursery). I didn't use any fresh flowers this time but instead placed a pot of parsley in the centre of the table and made some origami flowers using some pretty double sided gift wrap I bought from Kikki K. One roll provided plenty of paper for five of these flowers as well as enough to wrap my 'spot prize'. I actually had fun putting these together one night in front of the television. You can find the tutorial for making these cute flowers here. I followed the instructions exactly only I didn't use glue but instead tried double sided tape which I think is definitely a better option. It's funny because this week after my dinner party, I was flicking through the latest Real Living magazine and actually spotted these exact origami flowers which had been made into a ball.

To break away from my usual white and silver edged Maxwell and Williams crockery, I borrowed my friend's pretty Marie Claire side plates which fit in perfectly. I also made some labels for each dish using a printable Martha Stewart template you can find here (there are also other colour options you can choose from).

My traditional spot prize for one of my guests this time was the parsley plant, a handy measuring glass from Wheel and Barrow and a jar of vanilla bean paste.

As for the yummy dishes we shared, our menu consisted of:

- Zucchini and Prosciutto Soup
- Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Soup
- Chicken and Mushroom Pie
- Sweet Potato and Pancetta Risotto
- Crumbed Scotch Fillet
- Moroccan Beef
- Chocolate Orange Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding

I've shared the two soup recipes below, but if anyone is interested in the other recipes, let me know and I'll do another post.

For our next theme in August, we are going to break away from dinner recipes and have an afternoon tea instead with 'Teatime Treats' of cakes, biscuits and slices. I'm looking forward to decorating the table prettily and have already got a few ideas floating around in my head.

Here's those soup recipes for anyone who would like to try them out...

Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

1 tbsp red curry paste
1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1½ cups coconut milk
1 large red chilli, seeded and finely sliced

Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook for one minute. Add the pumpkin and stock, cover and cook until the pumpkin is tender. Place the pumpkin mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the chilli to serve.

Zucchini and Prosciutto Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g prosciutto, chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves
3 zucchini, grated
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
feta cheese, crumbled (to serve)

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, prosciutto and thyme and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the zucchini, stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10-15minutes or until the zucchini is cooked. Use a hand held blender to partially blend the soup, leaving some texture. Ladle soup into bowls and top with crumbled feta.


  1. Your flowers look amazing! I know the ones you mean in real living - what a lovely decoration. I do like the sound of the pumpkin soup, I need to get some soup happening with this cool weather.
    I'll be looking forward to your afternoon tea decorations :)

  2. I love using herbs instead of flowers sometimes, their vibrant green is unbeatable! Those soups sound delicious and very easy. Mr SJW is a reluctant soup eater, it either has to be very chunky or featuring meat so that zucchini and prosciutto recipe might just work! gxo

  3. The tablescape is gorgeous and it sounds like a lovely, cosy evening! We had lentil and chorizo soup for dinner tonight, yum! x

  4. Looks beautiful, welcome to my life cooking for dinner for 6 every night, although so totally not that fantastic, beautiful & possibly not as amazing table conversation, love Posie

  5. Your paper flowers are amazing, Amanda! When I first saw them I thought they were made of metal. Then I read the text and discovered you made them yourself. They are great! Your dinner party sounds lovely.
    Have a great week,

  6. It all looks gorgeous Amanda! I love those little paper flowers they are so cute and the food sounds great. I like the sound of that pumpkin soup, Yum!
    Thanks so much for sharing the photos!

  7. wow. well done. it's lovely! I'd be very happy at this dinner table... :) xo

  8. Oh your table is just gorgeous - you are so clever re: the flowers! Cooking club is such a great idea. I would be interested in the choc orange bread and butter pudding recipe - Yum!
    Rachie xo
    PS: Would you mind voting for me here - would be so grateful xo

  9. It all looks lovely Amanda, the flowers are such a lovely touch. Yummo!

  10. Gee, Amanda, you're the consummate hostess! What an extraordinary amount of detail and care you put into your preparation. I am seriously impressed. Take a bow, my friend! J x

  11. You've done a beautiful job Amanda. I love your idea of having a paper flower at each setting and the centre piece is a lovely idea and looks pretty wrapped with brown paper and string. It sounds like you a wonderful night and the dishes sound delicious. Thank you for sharing with us. xo

  12. Your table looks amazing Amanda and I love the little flowers and the MS templates. I'll be trying that zuccini soup too, glad it was a great night.

  13. Sounds like you had another lovely night Amanda, I love all your little details that you add : ) The food sounds great too, it's such a soup time of year right now, I am completely taken with a split pea soup I've been making. I can't wait to see your afternoon tea I bet that will look amazing!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment - it really makes my day!!