Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 2 Donna Hay: Greek Inspiration

Success! So Monday was the night that worked for everyone for dinner party night which worked out perfectly. Sunday turned out to be very productive for me as I sat and menu planned for the whole week, and taking note from Week 1 of Donna Hay Instant Entertaining I read over the recipes I was going to cook several times, made a very detailed grocery list, and planned my attack. Here was the menu.

Appetizer: Cucumber & Tomato salad with parsley and crispy feta cheese

Entree: Oregano Lamb with a mustard honey dipping sauce, Dill & Parsley Potato Salad

Dessert: Lemon Panna Cotta with Blueberries (and raspberries for the sister not keen on blueberries)

Plan of Attack: Made dessert on Sunday evening. Recipe called for the dessert to cool in the refrigerator for 4 hours so the "Instant" part of the "Instant Entertaining" was lost on me. Glad I read the recipes thoroughly beforehand as I have had recipes backfire as I did not see the resting time. Next, pre-mix dressing for potato salad and let marinade together. The potato salad called for warm to room temperature so making it beforehand and putting it in the refrigerator was not the best plan. Last thing was to clear off and set the table. I wish I had taken a picture of the table (I blame my photographers) as I thought it was cute with my fun napkin folding and center piece of citrus fruit. Next time photos, I swear!

One thing I must mention was that the menu called for a certain cut of lamb. After my last dinner I wanted to get that exact cut of lamb and not accidentally buy an inferior cut. Well I went to four stores and could not find the cut, back strap boneless and trimmed. So I ended up getting a cut as close to it as I could. My sister and I discussed that Donna Hay is from Australia where lamb, especially all types of cuts, are more readily available and available all year long whereas in the US lamb is usually seasonal. I don't know why as lamb is very good and very easy to cook. The meal was paired with Four Vines Biker (can you tell I picked it out) and was great. Well most of it. The starter salad was killer, in my opinion. The taste and textures of the salad melded well together. The recipe called for the cucumber to be cut in half, then seeded, then cut into strips. I had reservations but I stuck with the exact recipe figuring if I wanted I could modify the next time. Well this needed no modifications and is definitely a keeper. The potato salad was sweeter than I am used to but worked well. I might scale back on the amount of red onion though. The recipe called for 1/2 a red onion thinly sliced. I put in less than half, but will hold back even more next time. Perhaps my red onion was larger than usual, who knows? The lamb. Oh the lamb. Wrapped in fresh oregano leaves, it needed to cook a bit longer than the recipe stated but that might be because my oven is stupid and likes to over-heat and under-heat on a whim. The lamb was perfect and that dressing/dipping sauce was to die for! I wish I could say it was this complex recipe but alas it was one part honey and one part mustard (I only had whole grain which was perfect!). Dessert, less sweet than American desserts which is not a bad thing, but the texture was closer to ricotta than pudding and a bit more dense than I would like. I am going to try and modify the recipe as the flavors were there, but it just needed some tweaking.

Two weeks down, twenty-eight to go!


  1. 1. You should give some photo credit. T get credit all the time on my blog.
    2. I am so lucky to be a "tester" and will try to get a picture of the table next time. It was very cute!

  2. Hello! I said in week 1 that the photos were you and T. But for those who did not read week 1, yes, these photos were taken by sixbysix.net . He is pretty handy with a camera.