A Dinner Party

What a wonderfully sociable couple of days I have had.  They have not had much to do with losing weight or being healthy but I have enjoyed myself.  I have had a coffee with Eula, a 2 hour ramble through the woods with Annette and today we had lunch with my Dad.  I had a delicious roast beef with vegetables and Yorkshire at Galu – Mediterranean Restaurant and Grill

Roast beef and Yorkshire

Lunch 23-12-12

I spent a lot of time yesterday cooking as we had 10 friends coming for supper.  I enjoy cooking and one of my favourite ways to spend an evening is chatting with dear friends over a good meal.  I apologise for completely failing to manage to take any photos of completed dishes but I did manage some while I was cooking.

On the menu was:

Seven Layer Dip and hummus with crudites and crisps
Venison Casserole with Potatoes Dauphinoise and German Red Cabbage
White Chocolate Mousse Torte or Chocolate Pecan Pie
Cheese and Biscuits

Some of these dishes have previously been on the blog so you can find the recipes on the ‘Recipe’ page.  Here are the recipes for the casserole, cabbage and white chocolate mousse.

Inspired by this weeks trip to Germany, I looked up a recipe for red cabbage and found this one from Domestic Diva Mysteries.  The recipe called for blackberry wine, which I didn’t have so I used Cassis instead.  I think it worked well and it was similar to the red cabbage we had in Nuremberg which was not overpowered with cinnamon.

red cabbage

Chopping an apple Cassis

German Red Cabbage

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (use a light one so there is not a strong olive taste)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red cabbage, outer leaves and stem discarded
  • 2 apples, peeled with seeds removed
  • 1 cup Cassis
  • 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt


  1. In a large casserole pot, heat the oil and fry the onions slowly until they are translucent.
  2. Finely chop the cabbage and apples and add to the onions with the Cassis and vinegar.
  3. Put the lid on and cook gently for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the cabbage has the desired softness, add salt to taste.

I bought the venison for the casserole from V.J.Game at Rolvenden Farmer’s Market (Thursdays 9:30 – 12) and they are also at Beckley and Cranbrook Farmer’s Markets.  It comes diced and has virtually no visible fat so takes very little preparation.  I don’t know the origin of this recipe as it came from a lovely lunch at Lisa’s a few years ago.  It is really good and everyone enjoyed it.  I doubled up the recipe yesterday but I am giving you the recipe as Lisa gave it to me, which serves 6 – 8 people.

Venison Casserole

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 900g venison cut in to 2.5 cm pieces
  • 25 g butter
  • 100 g smoked streaky bacon, cut in to small pieces
  • 350 g shallots, peeled
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 300ml red wine
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 head of celery, cut diagonally, reserve the heart and leaves for later
  • 225 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper

Shallots 2

Shallots in compost




  1. Using a large frying pan, brown the venison in the butter and spoon in to a large casserole (or slow cooker)
  2. Cook the bacon in the frying pan until the fat begins to run
  3. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes
  4. Add the flour, stir well and then blend in the wine and stock
  5. Add the tomato puree, honey, celery, mushrooms and seasoning.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Pour the sauce over the venison on the casserole (or slow cooker)
  7. If oven baking, cook for 2 hours at 160°.  I used the slow cooker on high for 4 hours then low for 2 hours.
  8. Add the chopped heart of celery for the last 20 minutes to add crunch to the casserole (optional)
  9. Check seasoning and decorate with chopped celery leaves.

I made a dessert which was very easy and absolutely delicious.  Not at all healthy as it is full of cream and sugar but oh my goodness it is amazing so as an occasional treat, eat it and enjoy.  Best of all, it is extremely easy to make.

This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Anne who I think got it from one of the Books For Cooks annual books.  Give yourselves a treat and make this.  Apparently a secret to the success of this is to have the cream and milk at room temperature so take them out of the fridge early enough.

White Chocolate Mousse Torte

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 200g amaretti biscuits, crushed
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 350 g white chocolate, broken in to pieces
  • 500 ml double cream at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp milk, at room temperature


Amaretti base making Amaretti base


  1. Line a 24 cm springform cake tin which has been rubbed with buttered paper.  To do this, cut a strip of baking parchment/greaseproof paper about 75cm long and 9 cm high.  Snip 2 cm cuts at intervals along one edge of the strip.  Use this strip to line the sides of the tin, pressing the snipped edge on to the buttered base of the tin.  Then line the base with a round of baking parchment.
  2. Mix together the amaretti crumbs with the melted butter and press evenly in to the bottom of the tin.
  3. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the topping.
  4. Melt the chocolate, either in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream with the milk until it is thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl.
  6. The cream and melted chocolate should ideally be the same temperature.  Using a large metal spoon, stir a spoonful of the whipped cream in to the chocolate to loosen it.  Then immediately pour the chocolate in to the cream and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and mousse like.  Don’t worry of there are little lumps of chocolate.
  7. Pour on to the amaretti base and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight to set.
  8. To serve, unclip the sides and peel off the paper.  If you have a friend to help, you can peel the paper off the base too but that definitely takes 2 people (thanks Jane).
  9. Cut in to slices and serve.

The food was ready, the table was set and all I needed was some friends.
Table set for dinner

Here they are 🙂Friends

Drinkie anyone?

Drink anyone?

Marion and Sarah C

Round the table

I did have a wonderful evening.  Thank you all for coming.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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4 Responses to A Dinner Party

  1. Marianne says:

    Merry Christmas to your family from ours…….

  2. veg grower up the road says:

    I’m so sorry we missed such a fantastic spread. You excelled yourself Zoe. It all looks delicious. Christmas has now come and gone, we’ve driven to the Alps and back. We left Emily there as she has a live-in job as a hotel waitress. Happy New Year 2013 to all the Bennetts. Xx

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