Dan Snow on his ideal dinner party

Written by Rachel on April 1st, 2010

From the Times:

No jackets, and no labour-intensive cooking, just lots of wine, a simple lasagne main and a bit of Outkast on the iPod

In my last flat in Earl’s Court we had a roof terrace, and we had loads of summer dinner parties. It’s mega relaxed. You won’t see anyone wearing a shirt or jacket, we just kick back.

I like entertaining, but I wouldn’t call it haute cuisine. I’ve developed strategies so that my friends and I can concentrate on having a good time, such as cold starters and making things that I can just get out of the oven.

I’m a bit chaotic, so it would normally be organised a few hours before everyone shows up. I’ve got no beef with supermarkets, so I’ll get most things there, but I do like to get my meat in a nice butcher’s. My dining room is also my study, which means it’s filled with loads of books. Getting the house ready isn’t really my strong point but I’ll get the lights nice and low.

I get the champagne going early: Pol Roger White Foil Champagne, which was Winston Churchill’s favourite. Yummy and only about £25 a bottle.

The day I stop eating smoked salmon is the day I die. So, to start I would spread some crème fraîche on rye bread and add smoked salmon; can’t go wrong. I might add some black pepper and dill, or horseradish if I’m going crazy.

Then it’s got to be lasagne: I just really like it and you can make it in advance. I’m fairly traditional with how I make it: heavy on the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, red wine for the sauce and fresh pasta if I can find it. I’ll fire off a salad to go with it too, and lots of red wine. I like a good bordeaux such as Château de Fonbel.

I’m not a huge dessert person, but I do love poached pears with red wine and ginger, served with cream. I love a traditional cheese board too. Coffee just gets in the way: I think it’s a real buzz-kill spending half an hour piddling around making it. I just keep the red coming, or lovely whisky such as Glenmorangie.

I’m getting a bit old for dancing, but I might get the iPod out and play some fun tunes like Outkast. It’s not a prayer meeting, and who cares if someone spills wine on my floor? I’d be offended if anyone left before 1am.


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