One of the things we miss about being away from home is we don't get to host as many lunch and dinner parties for our friends and family. The love of entertaining and feeding people has been passed down through the generations. So many of our childhood memories are of big lunches at our grandparents' house, sitting in the sun and waiting to see what beautiful dishes my grandmother had created. Making people feel at home and comfortable is satisfying and we love cooking for others. Choosing a theme and setting the table adds to the atmosphere. The food is the star and everything else sets the scene for a memorable experience. Putting a little effort into the way food is presented and how the table is dressed makes a big difference to the mood.
Coming up with creative ways to set the table is half the fun. Our mum is known in the local second-hand stores and she always comes home excited about the treasures she has found. We love setting the table using her pre-loved serving platters and antique cutlery. Our dad's grandmother left us a beautiful collection of plates and teacups we also put to good use.
Since the weather has started to warm up, we thought we would share some of our ideas for a garden-themed lunch. For this menu we start with our mini cob loaves. We hollow and fill dinner rolls with a creamy blue cheese and spinach dip. You can serve these with anything you think would be nice to dip. We used green beans and carrots but the best bit is getting to the bottom and devouring the bread case.
Lamb is one of our spring highlights. Butterflying it and cooking it in the oven or on the barbecue outside is quick and is the quintessential flavour of spring. Today we've paired it with new-season fennel and orange salad, cumin roasted cauliflower and our homemade mint sauce.
We've finished with our chocolate flower pots which we created for the Hospice North Shore Vintners Brunch last month, all 465 of them. We had a few requests for the recipe so we thought we would share it. It is a fun dessert to present - we used gerberas, but you can use any non-toxic flower that you like. It can be made the night before and left in the fridge until it is time for something sweet. There are lots of different textures in this dessert and the different layers are exciting on the palate.