What’s cooking?MAKING AT-HOME DINNERS SPECIAL

As we all struggle to adapt to the ever-changing twists and turns of 2020, it can be challenging to find a way to celebrate the year coming to an end in a safe (yet almost-as-fun) way. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of Rose Mann (also known as Farm Girl because of her Australian restaurants in the heart of London) to get her tips on organising the perfect girls’ night in. From fresh finger food recipes to her favourite music, read her advice below.

The Q&A

What makes a great host/hostess?

A relaxed and organised host. It’s what makes the guests feel chilled and also allows you to enjoy the evening as well.

What do you love the most about asking friends and family over for a meal?

I love the comfort of hosting and that you can sit and chat for hours. It feels so personal, cosy and intimate. I also find cooking very mindful.

What’s your process like when hosting a dinner party, do you have any rituals or traditions?

I always set the table before I start cooking. I think it’s because I LOVE decorating and it really puts me in the vibe. Depending on the day I’m hosting, if it’s a Saturday for example, I usually will get organised during lunchtime and have everything basically ready so that when everyone arrives I have time for a drink and to have a few conversations before I start plating up.

What’s your favourite song to play during a dinner party?

The recipes

Roast veggie tacos

The beans in this curry add depth to the sweet and creamy paneer, making this dish a real crowd-pleaser. You could use dried red kidney beans, soaking them overnight and then boiling them before making the curry, but tinned beans and tomatoes make everything much quicker. This is great served with roti, naan, rice or pulao.

ROAST VEGGIE TACOS

SERVES 6

  • 6 large carrots
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a bunch of thyme
  • Maldon salt
  • ½ beetroot
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 200ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 red onion
  • corn tacos
  • sriracha mayo (recipe below)
  1. Slice red onion in long thin slices, add to a jar or glass, pour apple cider vinegar on top and let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Roast carrots with olive oil, sea salt + pepper until they’re super tender and golden brown (approximately 20-25 minutes).
  3. Place the beetroot, chickpeas, tahini, cumin, a pinch of salt and 100ml of olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Slightly toast the tacos in the oven.
  5. Either place all the ingredients on the table and let you guests top their tacos themselves or place all the ingredients on top and sprinkle with edible flowers. Serve warm.

Sriracha mayo

SRIRACHA MAYO

(VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
  • 1 box of silken tofu
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp sriracha

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Winter crumble

SWEET WINTER FRUIT COMPOTE, GINGER CRUMBLE & BEET CASHEW CREAM

SERVES 6

  • For the filling:
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 handful of blackberries
  • 1 orange
  • handful of pomegranate seeds
  • handful of grapes
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • For the crumble:
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 40g gluten-free oats
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the beetroot cashew cream:
  • 500g cashews
  • salt
  • half a cooked medium beetroot
  • squeeze of a lemon
  • 2 tbps maple syrup
  1. Soak the cashews in water for a minimum of 2 hours
  2. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  3. In a saucepan, mix together the fruit, cornflour, lemon and maple syrup. Heat on high for approximately 30 minutes until the fruits become a soft stew.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, ground ginger, cardamon, maple syurp, cinnamon and salt. Add the coconut oil and mix well.
  5. Scatter the crumble over the stewed fruit, then bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain the cashews, add to a blender with the beetroot, lemon, maple syrup and pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.
  7. Leave the crumble to cool slightly and then serve with the beetroot cashew cream. Sprinkle with flowers and berries for display!

Rainbow rice paper rolls

These are such a fresh and lovely starter – I like to serve them with a few sauces to dip into, check out my ginger tahini recipe below.

RAINBOW RICE PAPER ROLLS

SERVES 6

  • 10 rice spring roll papers
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienned
  • ½ cucumber, julienned
  • 1 large bunch of mint leaves
  • 1 avocado (cut into thin slices)
  • 500g vermicelli noodles (boil in hot water until cooked, then allow to cool)
  • 1 cooked beetroot (use a mandolin or vegetable knife to cut into thin slices)
  • sesame seeds
  1. Wash and cut veggies and set aside for easy assembly.
  2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or kettle and set aside to cool slightly for cooking the rice papers.
  3. Add hot water to a large shallow dish and submerge a rice paper to soften for about 10-20 seconds. If you let it go too long or if your water is too hot, they will get too fragile to work with.
  4. Once soft, transfer to a clean, slightly damp surface (I prefer a wooden cutting board), and gently smooth out into a circle.
  5. Add sesame, carrots, peppers, cucumber, avocado, beets, and a healthy handful each mint (and any other desired fillings). Fold bottom over the fillings, then gently roll over once and fold in the side to seal, then roll until completely sealed. Place on a serving plate and top with a room temperature damp towel to keep fresh.
  6. Repeat process until all toppings are used or you make as many rolls as you need.

Ginger tahini sauce

GINGER TAHINI SAUCE

(VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free eaters)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (add to taste)
  • 1/2 medium lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
  • water (to thin)

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Shoot location courtesy of The Rose Yard in Kent.