Main course, Chicken in a white wine & mushroom sauce
Lentil and vegetable casserole
Buttery mashed potatoes with fresh herbs
Steamed green beans & carrots
So the main courses, basically casseroles that can be made ahead, left to gently simmer or reheat prior to serving. The chicken and mushroom dish is a variation on Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s chicken and mushroom cider casserole from his ‘everyday’ cookbook, I just swapped the cider for white wine, the English mustard for Dijon and the double cream for crème fraiche, we are in France after all!!!
When deciding on the vegetarian course I basically do the same sort of recipe but swap the meat/fish for beans, lentils or occasionally cheese as the veggies need their protein too and add some extra veg! One thing that infuriates me is the fact that chefs can be so bloody unimaginative when it comes to vegetarian food. There is one restaurant in Val d’isere that has a veggie option on the menu (virtually unheard of!!) and it says under vegetarian option ‘depends on the humour of the chef’, incredible! Only in France! I have lost count of the amount of time the only thing on offer is a goat’s cheese tart or tomatoes pasta (back in the UK that is, here it is just green salad)!!! Very nice but not every sodding time you go out for a meal, it is so very frustrating. So having been on the receiving end of many a bad meal and liking to cook myself I realised when looking through any recipes that you can take almost any recipe and turn it veggie, without resulting to a bloody omelette or something undecipherable smothered in melted cheese!!! You just remove the meat, what is so difficult???
Anyway I digress, when having a ‘special meal’ indoors I think it is always important to make an effort (story of my life), so once the canapés & starters were all done and the main courses (chicken replaced with green lentils, leeks and squash) were simmering away, the potatoes boiling for the mash, the herbs washed and chopped, the veggies chopped and ready to steam, I have a quick bath, (after all who wants to smell like half cooked chicken and lentils, ugh), and once clean and smelling nice again I slip into a skirt, pop on my Louboutins, leave the thermal tights in the drawer, slap on some extra make up and attach some bling so that I kind of resemble my old glam self!
Whilst I am fannying around with candles and setting the table Mr comes into his area of expertise, the mash. He hardly ever does anything in the kitchen but he always makes the mash, he is mildly obsessed with beating in the butter!! But it is always top notch mash so I leave him to it! I think mash is a man thing.
So all in all a success on the main course front, the final course tomorrow, vanilla cheesecake. Hmm, sort of……..???