Ever since visiting Rome the last spring I’ve wanted to host this Italian dinner party. And I finally managed to get it together the last month for my birthday. Well, it wasn’t exactly the same day but close enough. Cooking is one of my hobbies and I’m quite good at it. To be modest, I’m that good that my step dad always asks me, whenever I cook for them, that why I don’t I make it as my profession. I enjoy it a lot but it’s not my passion like movies or television. I can go without proper cooking for a couple of weeks but I could never stop watching tv-series or films for that long. You need to have a passion for cooking if you want to be really good.
Well, anyway, as I said I finally managed to set the date and prepare a menu for the dinner. I had approximately 12 people coming and I only noticed the day before that if I’m going to offer everything I planned, I need to drop a visit to Ikea. And so I did.
I’m not a big fan of the place because everyone in the Western world has Ikea furnitures and other stuff at their homes. But I got to admit that when you need to buy three different kind of glasses for alcohol beverages and some other stuff for the kitchen basically only for one party, it’s nice to get them cheap. Plus now, that I have them, I can always organize another party again.
So, the menu for the evening was the following:
l’aperitivo: Bellini with Finnish twist (meaning I used this blueberry smoothie to them)
gli antipasti: marinated veggies, olives, focaccia, prosciutto, salami, cantaloupe and garlic shrimps
il primo piatto: spinach risotto
il secondo piatto: Italian style pork or mozzarella salmon and rustic root vegetables
i dolci: Tiramisu
il digestivo: Limoncello and cheeses with crackers
I did the most of the foods myself with a super-help from my friend and roommate. The first one on the list was Tiramisu because everyone said it’s better when done the day before.
So we made it the night before. I’ve never made it before, so I thought it would be difficult but it wasn’t at all. And apparently it was good as well. So, I most definitely will be making it again. I guess the secret of my recipe (well, Giulia’s) was that there were the same amounts of sugar, eggs and mascarpone. Here’s the end result of the first time:
The next one on the list was focaccia. I made that for the first time as well and also the night before. I used this recipe of Hans Välimäki who’s known cook in Finland. I couldn’t find his recipe in English but here’s one from Jamie Oliver. What I’ve read was that the main point is not to spare with the olive oil. And I didn’t as you can see from the “before going into the oven” pic:
For the flavor I used rosemary, black seedless olives and sea salt. Worked. And it’s also easy to made but will take much longer than Tiramisu because the dough needs to stand.
I should have made the marinated veggies the night before as well but they worked just fine after running them on the frying pan. All of the other courses and parts of them I made the next day. The schedule was way too tight, so I couldn’t concentrate on the guests at the beginning of the feast as well as I have hoped for and I also made some of the foods kind of “left-handed” but fortunately for me, they turn out to be good. Especially the spinach risotto. I only used spinach, salt and pepper to spice it. And I managed to buy a really good parmesan that of course was the huge part of the meal. Also very easy to made and you can always spice it up with pine nuts or mushrooms or whatever you like. I have lived with vegetarians for two years now, so I tend to make food that they can eat too.
While I was preparing the food my lovely roommate made the setting. Simple but working. We don’t have a huge apartment and that table for ten is usually shrinked to the normal size that is half of the size in the picture. We also don’t have that many chairs but the little extra tables next to wall worked as seats just well.
The Rustic root veggies included some potatoes, carrots and a little of parsnip seasoned with sea salt and a lot of thyme.
Unfortunately I don’t have proper pictures of the main courses because of the scheduling. And I couldn’t find recipes in English either but here are the ones in Finnish if you are interested: pork and salmon.
But all in all the Italian dinner was very succesful. We ate for approximately five hours, drank a lot of good wines and listened quite enough of Italian dinner music (that can be found from Spotify with that name).