Monday, February 28, 2011

Practice run for "Come Dine with Me"

TV3 recently announced that they are launching an Irish version of the popular Come Dine With Me program where people compete to win a prize by hosting a dinner party for a bunch of strangers. In a moment of madness I decided to put my name forward to appear in the program. I would describe myself as a mediocre cook at best so I decided that it would make sense for me to practice for the show by inviting a few friends over.

I had my first such practice session last night and I tried out the following menu:

Starter:  Goats Cheese Tart with Red Onion Confit

Main Course:  Salmon en Croute served with
green beans  and garlic potatoes

Dessert:  Very Berry Jelly
Entertainment: Wii Sports

It went very well and the guests really entered into the spirit of the game. One guest even brought a video camera  and recorded each of the guests giving me feedback and marks at the end.  The guests were very kind to me and scored me a mix of 8s and 9s, but I doubt that a group of strangers would have been so kind.

I got a few pointers for areas of improvement:
The Starters
  • There was not enough goats cheese on the starters. As you can see from the picture on the right, my starters only had a drop of goats cheese in the center, while in the the picture withe the recipe shows them completely smothered. This was caused by the fact that the container of goat's cheese I bought was misleading and did not contain as much cheese as I was expecting.
  • Serving two pastry dishes in a row was too filling and while both were tasty, it would have been better to replace one of them with something lighter. The next revision of the menu will have to rectify this.
  • When the guests arrived, I served crisps with a selection of dips to accompany their pre-dinner drinks. I made a slip up by forgetting to give them napkins, but also I was unable to tell them what the dips contained which made it obvious that I had not made them myself. I doubt that I could stretch to making home-made dips, so maybe I should not bother serving anything with the drinks at all.
If I am lucky enough to be selected for the TV show I am now confident that I won't make a complete disgrace of myself. 

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