Want to know the secrets behind entertaining for large numbers? We recently teamed up with Sophie Conran, Martin Moore luxury bespoke kitchens and Homes & Gardens magazine to create a guide for simple entertaining – see the December issue of Homes & Gardens.
Known for her passion for family, cooking and recipe books, Sophie has some great advice when it comes to dinner parties, so we thought it should be shared. During the Homes & Gardens photoshoot in a beautiful Martin Moore kitchen at a stunning house in Droitwich, Sophie cooked and served 6 delicious dishes perfect for hosting a dinner party all served on our beautiful Sophie Conran for Portmeirion tableware – the ideal collection for easy entertaining. You’ll find the tips on video here, and the recipes below. Be warned, mouth watering and serious kitchen envy is guaranteed!
Serves 6 – 8
2 kg of mussels
A knob of butter
8 shallots, peeled and chopped finely
A pinch of saffron threads
2 glasses of white wine (175ml)
400ml fish stock
400ml double cream
A bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1. Clean the mussels well and remove the beards. Discard any that don’t close when tapped. Melt the butter in our Sophie Conran for Portmeirion shallow casserole and gently fry the shallots for 10 minutes, being careful not to brown them.
2. Sprinkle in the saffron and splash in the wine. Leave to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated and the shallots are a wonderful golden colour. Pour in the fish stock and bring to the boil, then dump in the mussels. Put on the lid and give the pot a good shake. Simmer for 5 minutes then take the mussels out of the pot using tongs if you have them and pop in a bowl. Bin any that have not opened properly. Glug the cream into the soup and scatter in the parsley. Heat through and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Put the mussels back in the pan, shake once more with the lid on, then ladle into bowls, dividing the soup evenly between them. Serve with crusty bread.
Serves 6 – 8
2 1/2kg lamb leg butterflied
For the rub:
A large pinch of dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
A good grind of black pepper
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
A large pinch of malden salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Grind the rosemary leaves in our Sophie Conran for Portmeirion pestle and mortar until they become almost a powder. Add the chilli flakes and black pepper and keep grinding. Add the garlic and salt and give it a good bash until you have a paste. Stir in the olive oil.
2. Use our Sophie Conran for Portmeirion roasting dish and lay the lamb flat and massage the rub into both sides.
3. Leave to marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c/ 180° Fan / Gas Mark 5
6. Place a rack under the lamb and roast flat side up for 15 minutes. Turn it over and continue roasting for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 20 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 – 8
1 kg Maris piper potatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Boil the potatoes in their skins for about half an hour or until just tender all the way through when poked with a sharp knife.
2. Leave to cool completely then peel off the skin with your fingers.
3. Cut the potatoes into dice sized cubes and season with salt and pepper.
4. On a high heat, heat the oil in our large Sophie Conran for Portmeirion frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes and shake the pan. Continue frying and turning the potatoes until they are brown on all sides. Serve with more seasoning if needed.
Oven Baked Ratatouille
Serves 6 – 8
4 red onions, peeled and thickly sliced
2 aubergines cubed
4 courgettes cubed
4 red peppers, trimmed, de-stemmed and cubed
2 heaped teaspoons of finely chopped fresh oregano
140g concentrated tomato puree
200ml olive oil
Finely ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/ 160° Fan/ Gas Mark 4
2. Put all the vegetables into Sophie Conran for Portmeirion roasting dish. Scatter over the oregano. Mix the tomato paste and water and pour over.
3. Pour over the olive oil.
4. Liberally season with salt and pepper and put in the middle of the oven to bake for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Serves 6 – 8
Make the day before needed.
You will need a round flat-bottomed cake tin or our Sophie Conran for Portmeirion round pie dish, approx. 25cm (10in) in diameter.
5 Royal Gala apples
125g golden caster sugar
300g (10oz) good-quality butter puff-pastry
1. Peel the apples then cut them in half, end-to-end, removing the core with a small knife. Put the butter and sugar into the cake tin or pie dish, place on the hob and gently simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the apples, and let it bubble away stirring occasionally for 30 to 45 minutes or until you have a nice thickish caramel sauce, take off the heat and turn the apples round side down allow to cool completely.
3. Roll out the pastry to cover the top of the apples, trim to fit and place in the freezer until needed.
4. Pre heat the oven to 180°C/ 160° Fan/ Gas Mark 4
5. Put in the oven straight from the freezer and bake for 1/2 an hour or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the caramel is bubbling.
6. Allow to cool a little before turning the pie onto a plate. To do this, put a plate over the tin and quickly flip it over so the pastry is on the bottom.
Serve with cinnamon ice-cream (see recipe below!).
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Serves 6 – 8
1 1/2 Cinnamon Sticks
100g Castor Sugar
250ml Jersey Cream
5 Egg Yolks
1. Break the cinnamon sticks in half and place them in our Sophie Conran for Portmeirion saucepan with the milk. Heat until almost boiling then remove and leave to infuse for twenty minutes.
2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together very thoroughly. Heat up the infused milk and pour about a third of it in a slow trickle over the egg yolk and sugar, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture back into the pan, whisking well. Place on a gentle heat and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken. Remove it from the heat immediately, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.
3. Pour the cold cinnamon custard into a bowl with the cream and whisk until it is completely mixed. Churn in an ice cream machine until thick, then freeze.
Some kitchen inspo from the Martin Moore kitchen