If you’re anything like the majority of us, you have a handful – or perhaps a couple of handfuls – of recipes that you can rustle up satisfactorily to guests whenever you host people at your house. Some of these will inevitably be the classic dishes of your culture, say Lasagna if you’re Italian, Shepherd’s Pie if you’re British or Sweet and Sour Pork if you’re Chinese. These dishes are considered ‘safe’. You don’t have to worry about terrifying your guests and challenging their conservative ideas about food with wild changes to ingredients or cooking methods.
You then likely have a number of dishes which are based on a traditional dish, but with some kind of variation, either your own, or one that you have picked up after having tried it elsewhere. And then there are the concoctions – different parts of different recipes that you’ve thrown together in desperate times, usually when you haven’t had the right ingredients to complete a full recipe on its own, or when something went wrong. These dishes are most likely served up to your family, and only make it to the table for guests if the reception from your family is unanimously excellent.
You obviously have a talent for creation, so why not let yourself loose on some more outlandish recipes:
We all love cake, and although you might not have made it for a while, what with having to watch your waistline, now is the time to dig out the indispensable chef’s friend and get baking. Amaze your relatives’ taste buds with the sweet, fragrant and tangy orange and olive oil cake. It will take you about an hour to make from the start of preparation to taking it out of the oven, and is a really easy recipe to follow. You’ll need four eggs, a cup of caster sugar, two oranges (grate the rind, too), half a cup of olive oil, a fourth cup of orange juice, a cup of flour and a cup of almond meal. Beat the egg yolks, rind and sugar together in a bowl. Add the olive oil and orange juice together and then gradually mix it together with the flour and the almond meal and egg mixture. Now, beat the egg whites and the sugar together. Pour all of this into a cake pan and put it in the oven to bake. As with the other recipes, don’t tell your guests what it is until they’ve tried it as you don’t want them to make up their minds before they have actually tried it for themselves.
For something savory, you can try an interesting variation on the classic pie. You’ll blow your guests socks off when you tell them they’re about to have avocado pie. Their mouths will be watering before they even smell it. You can prepare your own crust or buy a ready made one. If you prepare your own, using chocolate chip cookies will give it a great texture and flavor. Next, puree two large avocados and extract the juice of three lemons. Finally, prepare a cup of sweetened condensed milk. Stir these ingredients together and then pour them into the crust. It should then set in the refrigerator after a couple hours. One of the easiest but most impressive dishes you’ll ever make!
Another simple beauty is a variation on a salad dish. We all know about the health benefits of broccoli, but we don’t usually add it to salads. Now there is a healthy version of this and a tastier version. To get the healthier version, just eliminate the bacon and mayo from your ingredients. You’ll also need the broccoli, a sliced apple, a sliced onion, raisins, half a cup of sugar and three tablespoons of cider vinegar. The mayo, sugar and vinegar are mixed together to make the dressing, while the other ingredients make the main part of the salad. The bacon is best cooked crisply in the microwave and crumbled. The broccoli can be served raw, blanched or boiled. Add the dressing and allow it to chill before you serve it up.
It won’t be long until you’re known as the best chef in the neighborhood and everyone will be praying for an invite to dinner.