We had a BBQ at our house on Sunday to take advantage of the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Ron and I used to entertain all the time and then we moved to Australia, into a small house with a dangerous deck and had our entertainment budget cut by one salary. I realise that having friends round doesn't mean a three course dinner like it used to and so we have had casual evenings, BBQ's and lunches but nothing with quite this many people, and a new baby. There were 8 adults and 8 children under the age of 4 which was fun. I made sure to keep the menu simple and easy to prepare ahead of time.
This is what we ate:
To start - a selection of cheeses served with grapes and crispbread, a selection of dips with crackers/chips and doritos with salsa dip.
For main Ron did two easy carve legs of lamb on the BBQ, these are an brilliant invention prepared by our butcher where the leg is boned out leaving one section still on the bone then rolled back up again and tied so you roast it with the bone attached but can carve it straight down like a rolled roast. The lamb was heavenly, perfectly cooked by Ron and served with mint sauce/jelly and preserves.
I served the lamb with my special roast potatoes and a winter salad of mixed leaves and baby spinach with roasted butternut and pinenuts. I only realised the next day that I forgot to crumble the feta cheese over the salad but no one missed it.
The meal was wonderful, everyone commented on how delicious and simple it all was and it was so easy to prepare that morning thanks to my angel baby Stella who slept all morning. But where I really excelled myself was with dessert. I hardly ever make desserts unless I bake but I really wanted something tasty with wow-factor that was easy to make, luckily I found just the recipe a few days before.
250g digestive biscuits
160g melted butter
300ml thickened cream
5 small ripe bananas
Toffee sauce - 1/2 cup or 100g brown sugar
395g can condensed milk
Line the base and sides of a 22cm springform pan with baking paper, chop the biscuits in a food processor and pour the melted butter in until the crust comes together. Press into the pan and chill in the fridge until needed.
For the sauce combine the brown sugar with 3 tablespoons of water in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swhirling the pot and brushing down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water for about 3-5 minutes until the syrup turns a deep amber. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the butter and condensed milk. Continue whisking for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool then spread 3/4 of the mixture over the chilled crust and put it back into the fridge until ready to serve. Whisk the cream until billowy peaks are formed and then slice the bananas finely. Stir most of the bananas through the cream and spoon onto the toffee filling using the reserved bananas to decorate the top. Just before serving reheat the remaining sauce and drizzle across the top of the pie.