Like most families (I guess!), we tend to eat a lot of 1 course dinners. Then we hit the couch and have a cup of tea and TONS of chocolate there!! With that being said I don't often get the opportunity to play around with starters as the "boss" would much prefer dessert. Although, I usually get in trouble then for...................(best I don't actually say it!). So, this roasted mushroom appetizer I created was one of the rare times that we did 3 courses. Gotta impress the wifey on our anniversary 🙂
I took 2 recipes that I was particularly proud of when creating this one. Firstly, my whole roasted mushrooms. Simple to do, quick to make and flavourful to boot. Secondly, my smoked pumpkin hummus. This takes a little longer to make due to the smoking of the pumpkin but once that's done the rest takes mere moments to do. Hummus is a firm favourite in our household so with the addition of kale, parmesan cheese and pumpkin seeds my roasted mushroom appetizer was a HIT!
We often invite people over for dinner in our home. A couple reasons for that are as most parents realise it's pricey to head out for dinner. Between the babysitter, pre dinner drinks, dinner, drinks, maybe a cab to and from the restaurant. It all adds up! Something that also nobody tells you pre baby. Mainly though (as we actually cheap skates!) it's because if you hadn't guessed I love cooking. This way we can let other couples not spend a fortune, drink a little more and eat (in my opinion) restaurant quality food.
As you probably know from reading my blog I do some private catering too. Nothing too crazy but dinners for 10 - 14 ppl mainly. When we have dinner parties in our home I treat it as if it was a catering gig. It may seem boring BUT it actually allows me to enjoy the evening too. Everything in the kitchen is prepped and ready to go so that I can spend more time at the table relaxing than running around the kitchen.
A few tips on being more organised in the kitchen
- Plan ahead. Seems like a no brainer but often overlooked. Think about everything you need in advance so you aren't running around last minute. Make a list!! I plan out the week ahead what I am cooking and when I take a step back and look, it helps me to jig things around to get the most from my time and ingredients
- What can I pre make for dinner parties? Things like soup are great as an appetizer as all they require is to be reheated. Sexy them up a little with some toppings too. Check out my corn soup HERE. This mushroom dish is another winner. Everything can be made in advance except the kale and that only takes 1 minute.
- Prep & organise as much as you can in advance. I have 100's of containers and I have all the ingredients chopped and ready to go. That way there is no scrambling around during the cooking. More stuff to clean up BUT a cleaner kitchen at the end of the night. Isn't that why we have dishwashers and teenage children?
- Cook things in batches. For example - every 6 weeks or so I make a GIANT batch of beef cheek ragu. It freezes amazingly and tastes just as good too. Yeah, it takes time to make it but from 2kg of beef cheeks (and extra veg) we get about 6 dinners for mum/dad and 7 or so for the toddler. Perfect for days like yesterday - LONG parenting story that I am sure every parent knows what I am talking about!
These are just a few simple tips to help you get more organized in the kitchen and who knows maybe I'll do a bigger post on this one day. Thoughts?
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!
- Follow instructions above on how to make mushrooms and hummus.
- Saute kale for a minute in pan with olive oil, salt & pepper. Add sherry vinegar and remove from heat
- Place a spoon of hummus on a plate and using the back of a spoon slide the spoon through the hummus. Place mushrooms on top of hummus and kale beside. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, grated parmesan and breadcrumbs on top to finish
- chopping board
- sharp knives
- baking tray
- frying pan
- all of these ingredients can be made in advance and the mushrooms just reheated at serving. Making this a fancy starter/appetizer you can put together at the last minute
- if you don't have a BBQ or don't want to smoke the pumpkin then roasting it in the oven works just fine too
- breadcrumbs are optional but add a nice texture to the dish.